Clinic Helps Attain Quality Sleep, Improve Health

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If you are sleepy, a more vibrant, energetic life may be waiting for you with the help of the staff at the new sleep disorder-testing center opened in Payson by Rick and Janice McGee.

"The motivation for us starting Payson Sleep Services was that we both wanted to work in the same town," said Janice. "We are excited."

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Sleep apnea may be treated with positive airway pressure devices like the model shown in this photo. Payson Sleep Center's staff will help patients choose one with the correct fit, and that is comfortable to wear.

"Testing is offered for sleep apnea; narcolepsy; parasomnias, such as sleep walking, night terrors and REM (rapid eye movement) behavior disorder and other related disorders," said Rick McGee.

Both he and Janice are nationally credentialed polysomnographic technologists, each with 10 years experience in their profession. A physician must order sleep tests. The McGees do not diagnose patients, they perform the test and Dr. Simon Galhotra reviews all the raw data and makes the diagnosis.

The McGees designed the two patient bedrooms at Payson Sleep Services to seem like cozy hotel rooms with state-of-the-art Respironics sleep equipment.

Janice said she thinks there is less of a "fear factor" coming to a nonhospital-based facility.

There are more than 80 types of disorders, but sleep apnea is the one they test for most often. It happens when a person's throat closes off during the night so they cannot breathe and often wake up gasping for air with their heart racing.

"It causes a lot of awakenings," Janice said. "Sometimes the person feels like they are not sleeping at all because they wake up so frequently. Every time they have an apnea then their oxygen level drops and that causes the heart to pump harder to try to get more oxygen to the body, so it causes strain on the heart. Sufferers are also at a much greater risk for falling asleep while driving."

Narcolepsy is another disorder for which the McGees commonly test.

It causes a patient to have uncontrollable sleep attacks and is tested for during the daytime.

"The patient will take a series of naps throughout the day," Janice said. "We find out how long it takes the patient to fall asleep each time and whether they dream. If they dream at least twice and their average time to fall asleep is less than 10 minutes then a diagnosis of narcolepsy can be made based on that."

Often it is the patient's partner who notices that something is wrong, while the patient "may just think being tired and cranky is just their normal state," said Janice. "So a lot of times it's good to have both partners at the doctor's office because the doctor may pick up on a lot more symptoms that way."

Patients may sleep in their own pajamas. The rooms are designed to be comfortable, but if a patient wishes to bring their own pillow, that is fine too.

Patients can sleep in the bed or on the reclining chair; whatever position is normal for them.

Patients are hooked up to about two dozen painless sensors. The ones near the nose detect airflow. Sensors on the head and face detect the stages of sleep. There are belts around the chest and stomach to chart the pattern of breath. Depending on the test, sensors to detect movement may also be used.

The McGees monitor the signals all night.

If the patient needs to get up, there is an intercom and one of the McGees will be right there to detach them from the sensors.

A patient may be hooked up to a positive airway pressure mask and its small compressor if the McGees determine sleep apnea is likely.

According to the McGees, Payson Sleep Services can test adults and children ages five and up. The turn around time for reports is three days and their equipment is calibrated before every study.

The company accepts all insurances, except AHCCCS. However, it should be able to take that in the near future, Janice said.

Payson Sleep Services, Inc. is located at 414 S. Beeline Highway, Suite 3. Phone (928) 474-5234.

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