Dr. Baqhar Mohideen is the medical director for the Porter Regional Hospital Center for Sleep Medicine and is a diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. He is board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, critical care medicine and sleep medicine. 

What do you treat at the Center for Sleep Medicine?

At the center, we diagnose and treat a variety of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, circadian rhythm sleep disorder and shift-work disorder. We also treat people who sleep too much, called idiopathic hypersomnulance.

What is shift-work disorder?

About ten percent of shift workers can’t fall asleep during the day. We talk to them about creating a good sleep environment, including having dark curtains in their bedroom and no noise. We also talk to them about how to keep them awake during work, working with a bright light helps. Take a nap before they go to work, or sometimes they can take a nap at work. We ask them to make sure to get at least six or seven hours of sleep and keep a sleep diary. If necessary, they can take melatonin or other medicine. 

How do you know if you should see a sleep specialist?

If you have a problem, like falling asleep while operating a car or machinery, or if a patient says they sleep eight to 10 hours a day and are still fatigued, they should see their doctor and be referred to a sleep specialist. Sleep apnea is affecting a lot of people. It isn’t just for obese people, it is something that can affect normal-weight people. Snoring doesn’t always correlate with sleep apnea. Sometimes people who snore don’t have serious sleep apnea, and sometimes people who don’t snore much can have serious sleep apnea.

What happens if you go to a sleep lab for a sleep study?

Sleep lab patients will answer a questionnaire and answer questions about what the main problem is with their sleep habits. They will talk about sleep quality and quantity. There are various stages of sleep: Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3 and REM, and you are in each stage for different lengths of time. If you don’t get enough of each kind of sleep, you develop problems.

They also take your height and weight, ask you questions about snoring, whether you drink coffee or alcohol. 

Then patients get prepped with wires for the EEG for the brain waves on the scalp and head, the EKG of the heart rate, and belts across the stomach and chest to see the belly and chest movement. There is also an oxygen sensor on the finger, and something on the nose to measure snoring. There are also things placed on the neck and legs and sides of the head.

The patient goes to sleep, and the technician monitors the sleep on the computer. When the patient gets up in the morning, the brain waves and the other data is analyzed to see how much time is spent in each stage of sleep, the snoring, leg kicking, the oxygen level and the quantity and quality of sleep is measured. 

What kind of treatments are available for sleep disorders?

If a patient is diagnosed with a mild sleep disorder, sometimes no treatment is necessary. The best treatment for overweight patients can be weight loss, but that can take time. Many patients have CPAP therapy, which improves not only the quantity of sleep, but also the quality. After they sleep with the CPAP machine for eight weeks, they come back and the CPAP machine gives a data report to see if it is helping. In some cases, there are surgical treatments, but those have a lower success rate. There is also a mandible advancement device, which pulls the mandible forward while a patient sleeps.