Patient sleeping during sleep study.

What are sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders may involve difficulty staying awake or having a regular sleep/wake cycle, sleepwalking, nightmares, bed-wetting, insomnia, restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea. They often cause trouble staying alert, irritability and difficulty concentrating or remembering facts.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have called insufficient sleep a public health epidemic in the United States. If you’re frequently tired, wake frequently or fall asleep when you are trying to stay awake, you can complete the Epworth Sleepiness Scale to determine if you’re a candidate for a sleep study.

Millions of Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. Sleep problems can interfere with quality of life and personal health, and they have a negative impact on society. Consider the following facts about sleep disorders:

  • A sleep disorder can aggravate or lead to serious health problems
  • Studies show a high incidence of sleep apnea in people with heart disease
  • Sleep apnea is known to raise blood pressure
  • Persistent, untreated insomnia may lead to major depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse
  • Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are costing Americans an estimated $100 billion+ annually in lost productivity, medical expenses, sick leave, property and environmental damage
  • Nearly 7 out of 10 Americans experience frequent sleep problems, which means 40 million people have not been diagnosed

Why choose Northwestern Medicine?

The Northwestern Medicine Sleep Health Centers can diagnose and treat numerous sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, nocturnal behaviors (sleep walking, talking and eating in sleep, acting out dreams) disorders and narcolepsy.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might be suffering from a sleep disorder:

  • Heavy snoring followed by grunting
  • Choking or gasping for breath during sleep
  • Feeling tired or fatigued after sleeping
  • Weight fluctuation and/or inability to lose weight
  • Nodding off while driving
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Sexual dysfunction/impotence
  • Frequent urination
  • Depression or substance abuse

Our centers are staffed by neurology and pulmonary critical care physicians, board-certified or board-eligible sleep medicine specialists1, registered polysomnographic technologists, respiratory therapists specially trained in adult and pediatric sleep disorders that provide:

  • Advanced diagnostic testing.
  • Personalized attention from certified sleep specialists.
  • Home-like amenities combined with modern technology put you at ease.
  • Consistently high scores for overall patient satisfaction.
  • Fast results shared with your primary care physician for follow-up and treatment.

Meet the Teams

Northwestern Medicine Sleep Health Centers are staffed by neurology and pulmonary critical care physicians, board-certified or board-eligible sleep medicine specialists, registered technologists, and respiratory therapists specially trained in adult and pediatric sleep disorders.




Additional testing and evaluation 

Additional evaluation and diagnostic testing for sleep disorders may include:
  • Maintenance of wakefulness (MWT): This test examines your ability to stay awake and alert during a series of 40-minute sessions during the day.
  • Bi-level airway pressure therapy: If you can’t tolerate normal CPAP pressures, this advanced therapy offers a modification in the inspiratory and expiratory pressures (breathing in and out) to allow for a more comfortable experience in maintaining a more open airway.
  • Auto servo ventilation and average volume assured pressure support (AVAPS): This test is used if you experience hypoventilation, which is reduced air into the lungs, resulting in too little oxygen in the body. Some causes of hypoventilation are respiratory muscle weakness (such as ALS) or neuromuscular disorders (such as muscular dystrophy), restrictive disorders (such as scoliosis or obesity hypoventilation) and obstructive lung disease (such as COPD or cystic fibrosis).
  • Oral appliance: Your dentist may refer you for pretesting to see if you qualify for an oral appliance. If testing determines that an oral appliance would be beneficial, your dentist will fit you with an appropriate appliance and you can return for a post treatment study to evaluate the effectiveness of the appliance.

The following tests are only available at the Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital.

  • CPAP nap study: This two- to five-hour study is performed during the day to allow you to slowly acclimate to CPAP pressures prior to your full-night titration study. During your session, you’ll learn relaxation techniques from specially trained staff
  • Pediatric diagnostic polysomnograms: For children from four months to 18 years old
  • Pediatric polysomnogram with titration: For children from four months to 18 years old

The Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital Sleep Disorder Centers in DeKalb and Sandwich offer the following tests for sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and other sleep disorders:

  • Polysomnography (PSG)
  • Continuous and bi-level positive airway pressure titrations
  • Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT): To diagnose narcolepsy
  • Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT): To measure ability to stay awake and alert
  • Home sleep testing (HST): We only test for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with these units.

The following tests and treatments are available at Northwestern Medicine Sleep Disorder Clinic Algonquin

  • All-Night Sleep Study
  • Maintenance of Wakefulness Test
  • Daytime Sleepiness Study
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and CPAP Level Set Up

Results and treatment recommendations will be available once the data from your testing has been closely evaluated, this includes:

  • A registered polysomnogram (PSG) technologist with additional training reviews the study for respiratory events, sleep staging, arousals and limb movements.
  • Raw data reports are prepared.
  • A board-certified sleep specialist reviews the entire study, the prepared raw data reports and scoring to make determinations and prepare a comprehensive report of recommendations.
  • The turnaround time averages five to seven days, faster than the industry norm of 10 days.

Results and recommendations will be sent to your physician.

Physicians studying an image for second opinion.

Looking for a Second Opinion?

It's vital that you're comfortable with your treatment decision and have confidence in your doctor. For these reasons, a second opinion with another specialist can help you make smart treatment decisions.

National Center on Sleep Disorders Research

The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR) provides research on sleep disorders and related health problems.

National Sleep Foundation

Get a wealth of information about disorders that cause inadequate or excessive sleep.2

Related Resources

The following resources are for patients receiving care at our sleep health centers. The information is provided by our clinical staff and patient education department.

  • Sleep JournalTo obtain the most accurate sleep test results, keep a journal of your sleeping patterns and habits for at least two weeks prior to your sleep test. Bring the journal to your scheduled appointment.
  • Sleep Questionnaire: Fill out this patient information form and bring it to your scheduled appointment.
Legal Information

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