Got A Sleeping Problem? Get Checked At A Sleep Clinic

The average human being these days is stretched out too thin because of numerous interests and commitments they pursue in their daily life. You often sacrifice your sleep just to make sure everything is finished before hitting the sack, so you don’t panic the following day. You are not alone. A big majority of Americans lie in bed at night with eyes still wide open because simply counting sheep doesn’t work anymore. Sleep deprivation is actually a double-edged sword that not only leaves you feeling fatigued upon arising but affects your school or work performance too because your brain did not get the rest it badly needs the night before.

If sleeping (or the lack of it) is a big issue in your life, don’t just suffer in silence. Get medical help because more often than not, sleeping issues are health issues too. There are numerous sleep disorders that may affect the quality and quantity of your sleep and it may not always be what you think it is. The best recourse is to get yourself tested at a sleep clinic because they have doctors that specialize on sleep itself and are equipped with the latest sleep technologies that can get to the root of your problem/s in no time.

Doctor Irshaad Ebrahim of the Dubai-based London Sleep Centre describes the number of current sleep disorders as “an epidemic”.

“It’s so much more important than what’s being reported in the press: lifestyle, pace of work, demands of technology, screen use – they are harming our sleep/wake cycle.”

The number of sleep clinics in the UAE are on the rise, as are do-it-yourself responses such as sleep treatments at luxury hotels and online apps for managing one’s sleep cycle. “It is a response to demand,” says Ebrahim, “just the number of people seeking help”.

According to Elizabeth Graf, a clinical psychologist at a private clinic in New York, “research continues to show the emotional and physical benefits of sleep”.

Studies have linked lack of sleep to poor performance at work, depression and overall health, including links to cancer. It is not uncommon for studies to speak about the “public health crisis” of lack of sleep, in which billions of dirhams are spent tackling the secondary effects of poor slumber. Others point to its effect on the economy, and even its role in disasters such as the nuclear meltdowns at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.


Although still considered as a novel concept by many, getting checked at sleep clinic is actually growing in popularity these days as technology and modern living continue to mess up your sleep cycle. There are generally two types of people who visit sleep clinics. The first are individuals who understand they have severe sleeping issues and are raring to get treated while there are those who are not only apprehensive but generally fearful of the unknown (in this case, it’s the sleeping lab itself).

Screening for OSA typically involves questionnaires about sleep that often require observations from a bed partner. They are sometimes supplemented with overnight blood oxygen readings from a finger pulse oximeter. Testing to confirm the diagnosis of OSA has typically relied upon polysomnography tests — which record your brain waves, blood oxygen level, heart rate, breathing and leg movements during sleep — although home testing kits are becoming more widely used.

You’d be surprised at how big the sleep industry has become. Gone were the days when a patient suffering from sleep issues just gets prescribed with a sleeping pill or two by their GPs to helps them sleep better at night. Today, there are countless technologies like this: that help screen and diagnose patients who get tested in actual sleep clinics. Since many of these sleep disorders now have a name, there are specific gadgets you can also use to address them and prevent you from becoming dependent on sleeping pills alone.

Sleep is big business in this country. The amount Americans spend on drugs and devices to achieve sleep is expected to reach over $80 billion in the next 3 years. The sleep apnea device market alone is a roughly $5 billion dollar industry. But not all the numbers are rosy, especially for sleep clinics which, according to the AASM, peaked at roughly 2,500 accredited centers in 2014. A possible reason for this is the emergence of at-home testing kits that cost around $150 to $250. In contrast, lab-based sleep tests at a typical sleep center usually cost about 3 to 5 times that. A study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that at-home testing may be as good as laboratory testing in diagnosing OSA. (STAT covered that study, and its implications for the sleep testing market, nicely.) Now fewer insurance companies are covering laboratory-based testing but more are considering covering at-home testing. In short, sleep centers are facing tough times.

This is not to say that the AASM (which accredits sleep centers) is not invested in the proper diagnosis and treatment of those with sleep disorders. They are. But it does raise questions: should the financial status of the sleep centers they accredit be taken into consideration when the AASM takes issue with the USPTF findings? And what should we make of their push to screen everyone at increased risk of developing OSA, even if they don’t have sleep-related symptoms?


While more and more sleep clinics are opening all over the world, they still aren’t enough to accommodate the growing number of individuals suffering from numerous sleep disorders. Patients often stay at these sleep clinics for the night and not all the time these check-ups are covered by the government or medical insurance. However, those people who are really in dire need of medical intervention for their sleep woes won’t mind shelling out the money to get tested, so they can start treatment as soon as possible. A night at a sleep clinic is often enough to get the needed baseline data before getting the necessary treatment.

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