One in three Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. An estimated 20 million Americans experience obstructive sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder. The impact can be great discomfort and an increased risk of developing other health issues such as hypertension, depression, job impairment, industrial accidents and even driving fatalities.

sleep

A healthy lifestyle and overall wellness depend on healthy sleep patterns. Our specialists, including board-certified sleep medicine physicians, will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that will help you achieve and maintain optimal health. At Cullman Regional’s Sleep Disorders Center, we don’t sleep until you do.

Our Services

Cullman Regional’s Sleep Disorders Center provides a comfortable environment for overnight sleep studies. Rooms are designed to create an ambiance of a home bedroom or nice hotel room. Our Center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and features 12 state-of-the-art, deluxe suites with mattresses or mattress tops by Tempur-Pedic®, flat-panel televisions and full bathrooms. We have four handicap-accessible rooms and four rooms with Murphy Beds for those who need a caregiver to stay with you.

Using advanced technologies, the specialists at Cullman Regional’s Sleep Disorder Center can diagnose and treat a variety of sleep disorders, including:


  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Nocturnal Seizures
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
  • PTSD-related issues
  • And more

Symptoms That May Require a Sleep Study
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Loud or disruptive snoring
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Grogginess and morning headaches
  • Depression and irritability
  • Obesity
  • Restless legs

Counseling

Sleep disorders can often be effectively treated with advice and training in special techniques. We will provide a referral for counseling services if your physician feels that specialized counseling will benefit you.


Scheduling/Referrals 

If your primary physician initiates a referral for a sleep evaluation, we will coordinate scheduling for you. We will accept emergency sleep study patients from outside of our service area if your physician makes referral through one of our sleep medicine physicians.


Insurance

Sleep disorders are recognized medical conditions. However, reimbursement policies of individual insurance companies vary tremendously. We suggest that, prior to testing, you contact your insurance company to learn about your coverage. We will assist you with your claim and/or file a claim on your behalf.


CPAP Care Center

Cullman Regional’s CPAP Care Center is a specialty store with supplies and accessories for CPAP, BiPAP and AutoPAP therapy. Here, you’ll find a large selection of ResMed sleep therapy devices and accessories. The CRMC CPAP Care Center is accredited by The Joint Commission and meets all Medicare standards.

CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is a treatment using mild air pressure to keep your airways open. CPAP typically is recommended for people with breathing problems, such as sleep apnea. Our staff will assist you with set-up, billing, mask fitting, counseling and compliance monitoring. We have a CPAP specialist on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist with issues as they arise. For more information, call (256) 737-2753.

Our Service-PLUS mask-fitting program assists each patient in choosing the correct mask. Masks and interfaces are fitted, allowing you to try different options prior to purchasing. This is especially important in the first 6 to 10 months after purchase and during any required waiting period between purchases wherein insurance will not reimburse for new or different equipment. This program gives patients the opportunity to try different masks or replace broken or worn parts with little or no charge.

Our patients enjoy a remarkable compliance success rate of 75 percent or more. This means our patients are more successful in overcoming sleep disorders by wearing a PAP therapy device.

Our Team

A highly skilled staff of seven registered polysomnographic technologists and five sleep technicians bring more than 70 years of combined experience in sleep medicine. We work with sleep medicine physicians to bring you the best possible care and service in a friendly, comfortable environment.

Our CPAP Care Center team includes two registered respiratory therapists (RRTs) with more than 37 years of combined experience. Our office billing staff has over 10 years of experience handling individual claims.

B. Mark Tafazoli, MD

Family Practice

G. Scott Warner, MD

Pulmonary Disease

General FAQs


What is sleep apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a life-threatening and life-altering condition. It is as common as adult diabetes, affecting more than 12 million American. It occurs when throat and soft palate muscles relax during sleep, impeding the airway and making breathing difficult and noisy (snoring). Eventually, the airway walls collapse blocking airflow entirely, preventing air from getting into the lungs and causing a breathing pause or apnea. Sleep is repeatedly disrupted by apneas, depriving you from the deepest, most restful stages of sleep. Apneas may occur more than 20 times every hour.

A person with OSA never feels rested because he/she never has normal sleep. Lack of sleep affects daytime alertness and ability to function well throughout the day. Low oxygen levels associated with OSA and the effort required to breathe during the night strains your cardiovascular system. Ultimately, OSA takes its toll on quality of life.


What are symptoms of sleep apnea?

These and other symptoms are even more worrisome if you have type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

  • Snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • High blood pressure
  • Morning headaches
  • Waking up gasping for breath
  • Recent weight gain or loss
  • Reflux or heartburn

What are the risks of untreated sleep apnea?

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Memory problems
  • Headaches
  • Can lead to premature death

How is sleep apnea treated?

The most common treatment is “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure” or CPAP therapy. This simple, non-invasive treatment provides air pressure that holds open your airway while sleeping. Other treatments may include surgery, laser treatments and dental appliances, which may be effective for some people.


What is CPAP? 

CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, is the treatment of choice for sleep apnea. It is an air-blowing device designed to keep constant pressure in the airways and keep your throat from collapsing due to sleep apnea. Many clinicians describe the treatment as a pneumatic splint — because it is literally an air splint to hold your throat open.

CPAP systems consist of a flow generator, air tubing and a mask (usually a nasal mask). The flow generator pushes air through the tubing and nasal mask. Air passes through your nose and into your throat, where the slight pressure keeps your upper airway open. The low air pressure does not interfere with breathing – though some people need a few nights to adjust to the sensation of positive airflow.


What is BiPAPTM?

BiPAPTM or bi-level positive airway pressure devices provide therapy to people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) if CPAP therapy is too difficult. Bi-level therapy delivers two different levels of positive air pressure: a higher level of pressure when you inhale and a lower level of pressure when you exhale. Bi-level devices can also provide non-invasive positive pressure ventilation for people with respiratory disorders or other forms of sleep-disordered breathing.


What is AutoPAP?

AutoPAP, or auto-titration positive airway pressure, is therapy with a range of set pressures. As you sleep, the device determines the appropriate pressure to deliver by the resistance of airflow in your passageways. If resistance increases, such as in an apnea episode, the pressure will increase to counteract the apnea and open the passageway.


Who do I call with other additional questions?

Call us at (256) 737-2140. If we are not available, please leave your name and phone number, and we will return your call as soon as possible.


Sleep Study: What to Expect

What is a sleep study or polysomnogram?

A polysomnogram is an overnight sleep study that records a patient’s physical state during various stages of sleep and wakefulness. It provides essential data in the evaluation of sleep and sleep-related complaints, such as identifying sleep stages, body position, blood oxygen levels, respiratory events, muscle tone, heart rate, amount of snoring and general sleep behavior.


How is a polysomnogram conducted?

Sensors called electrodes are attached to the skin on your head, face and legs, a finger probe measures your oxygen levels, and a belt is placed around your chest and abdomen. Your sleep technologist will lightly prep your skin with cleanser before applying the electrodes. We monitor brain waves, eye movements, airflow from your mouth and nose, snoring, blood oxygen levels, muscle tension, arm and leg movements, and heart rate. You will be able to get up and go to the restroom during the night if necessary.A camera records the procedure while you sleep, and there is a microphone so you can communicate with the technician at any time.

You will be asked to sleep on your back, if you do not do so normally. We will ask that your watch and/or cell phone be kept in your overnight bag.

There is no pain associated with a sleep study. The finger probe may have a warm sensation, and the skin where the electrodes may become a little irritated, but we seldom hear complaints of serious discomfort. While we realize sleeping with wires attached is not normal, we will try our best to simulate a normal night’s sleep for you.


How long does the study take?

In order to make a good diagnosis, we need to collect a certain amount of data. The sleep study will last approximately seven hours. Your overnight study will end at about 5:30 a.m. If you need to wake earlier, you may notify the technician upon arrival so that adjustments can be made in order to accommodate your schedule.


How do I prepare for the study?

  • On the day of your study, do not take any naps, drink alcohol or caffeine, or take non-prescription drugs.
  • Eat dinner before arrival.
  • Shower, shampoo your hair and remove makeup and nail polish. Your hair and scalp should be clean, and hair and skin should be free of lotion, gel, hairspray or makeup.
  • Please also remove hair weaves, extensions, braids or wigs prior to arrival.
  • Acrylic nails must be removed prior to your study.
  • Men should shave before the study unless you have a beard or mustache.
  • Bring a list of all medications you are currently taking and any medications you need to take overnight. If you have diabetes, bring your glucometer. If you are on supplemental oxygen at home, bring your portable oxygen tank. You will ultimately be placed on our oxygen.
  • Bring loose-fitting clothes or two-piece pajamas – no gowns and nothing nylon, satin or silk to avoid static electricity.
  • Bring your own pillow, if you prefer, and any needed personal items.
  • If you don’t drive, please arrange transportation to and from your sleep study.
  • Smoking and smokeless tobacco are prohibited.
  • If additional testing during the day is required, you may bring reading materials and snacks (no caffeine).

Are their other restrictions I need to know about?

For your safety, while you are connected to electrodes and sensors, you need to remain in areas designated by our staff. Smoking is prohibited in the facility; however, there is a designated smoking area you can use before and after testing. You may use the phone in the Center, but we ask that you limit your calls to 10 minutes.


What if I can’t sleep while at the sleep center? 

While you may feel like you won’t be able to sleep, our experience has shown that most people sleep well. Even if you don’t fall asleep immediately or have difficulty remaining asleep, data is collected and forwarded to our sleep medicine physicians for interpretation. If medication might help you get to or stay asleep, the sleep physician will be notified for authorization. However, we prefer medication be used only if necessary.


What if I need to cancel or reschedule?

During regular office hours (Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 pm., or Friday, 8 a.m. to noon), call (256) 737-2140. After office hours, call the main hospital number at (256) 737-2000 and ask the operator to page the on-call Sleep Disorders Center staff to cancel your sleep study.


What happens after the study?

The technician will remove the sensors (electrodes) in the morning. You may shower here at the Center if you wish. Our board-certified sleep medicine physician will review data collected from your entire sleep study and provide findings to you and your physician.

CPAP Care Center

Hours


Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Specialist on call 24 hours/day, 7 days/week

Location


First floor, Professional Office Building 2, Suite 110

Contact


Phone: (256) 737-2753
Fax: (256) 737-2756