Get Healthy

Sleep is good medicine

Sleep studies are helping patients at UHS improve their overall health

More than one-third of adults are not getting enough sleep, according to The National Sleep Foundation. Those adults don’t just feel tired during the day, but their daily mood, mental sharpness and productivity also are negatively impacted.

A consistent lack of sleep quality is more than simply feeling tired. This can often lead to negative outcomes, such as poor work performance, inability to exercise and an increased risk of heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke and more.

If this sounds familiar, a sleep study or sleep apnea-specific screening could be vital for discovering why you aren’t getting enough quality sleep. Poor sleep often results from medical problems, environmental factors, mental health conditions or a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. Sleep studies can be conducted in a sleep center or with new technology, at home.

Maciej Nowakowski, MD, who specializes in sleep disorders, explains the benefits of a sleep study.

“The importance of quality of sleep is still underestimated. We spend about eight hours a day—one-third—of our lives sleeping, and it’s still an exotic territory. Patients feel tired because they don’t sleep well. But for some patients, sleep apnea is extremely severe,” he says. “So basically, it’s a question of the quality of life. General health is hugely impacted because of sleep apnea.”


Dr. Nowakowski says a sleep study can benefit many patients, but those who can benefit particularly are people who:

  • Are overweight
  • Are chronically ill
  • Have other serious health issues
  • Snore

“For people who snore, there’s a significant relationship between sleep apnea and other illnesses like hypertension, atrial fibrillation and coronary artery disease,” Dr. Nowakowski explains. “So patients who have cardiac or respiratory problems, diabetes, patients who are overweight—they should be screened for sleep apnea.”


At UHS, patients undergoing at-home sleep\ apnea screening can finish their test in a few simple steps:

  1. Pick up the device they need to wear at their doctor’s office or sleep clinic.
  2. Wear the minimally invasive device while sleeping for at least one night.
  3. Sleep as usual.
  4. Discard the device.
  5. Schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss the results with a doctor.

For more information on sleep studies and sleep apnea screenings, visit


Getting a sleep apnea screening used to be somewhat daunting, but thanks to new technology, many patients can now do them in the comfort of their homes. So instead of needing to stay the night at a sleep center and have sensors placed throughout your body, you can simply wear one removable device.

“It’s much easier to do the test at home than to come and stay overnight. It’s very simple. Patients just come here to pick up the device. They don’t have to bring it back, which is a big advantage for patients who live far away,” Dr. Nowakowski says.

Patients should check their health insurance to see if an at-home study is covered. Studies can also be conducted at the UHS Sleep Center in Binghamton.


After a sleep study or at-home screening, the next steps are straightforward. Patients will schedule a follow-up appointment to go over the results and discuss any diagnoses, treatments and other suggestions that can help the patient improve their sleep patterns. Most sleep disorders can be successfully treated once they’re diagnosed.

“A lot of our patients end up sleeping with the continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP), and the sleep and life quality are much better,” Dr. Nowakowski says. “Generally, it’s a good thing. I tell patients it’s a significant improvement in life quality and general health. And with a CPAP, it’s not surgery or medication. It’s just a physical device.”


See if a sleep study is right for you by contacting your UHS health provider or visiting