Sleep Disorders: Everything You Always Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask

June 2, 2011 at 7:59 am

By Kevin O’Neill, Business Development Specialist, Stanford Blood Center


My interest in sleep disorders took off when my daughter, Danielle, complained about my loud snoring for the umpteenth time two years ago. However, that time she added that I had an unusual pattern: loud snoring, silence, then pig-like snorting. When I promptly relayed this report to my physician, she was writing a prescription for a sleep study on me before I finished Danielle’s description! During the first hour of evaluation, I had 90 episodes of sleep apnea, and then averaged out at 30-40/hour for the rest of the night. The thought that hypoxia had to jump start my breathing 300 times/night for God knows how long makes me wonder why I’m still alive!

Given the remarkably high occurrence of this relatively recent sleep disorder discovery, I thought covering the topic of sleep as part of our Café Scientifique series would certainly be relevant to our community. Having William Dement, MD, the “Father of Sleep Medicine” on the Stanford campus willing to speak here was most fortuitous.

The author of “The Promise of Sleep”, Dr. Dement started the world’s first Sleep Disorders Clinic which introduced all-night polysomnographic examination of patients with sleep-related complaints, medical responsibility and management of the patient, and objective assessment of the relationship between nighttime sleep and daytime function.

At our May 2011 Café Scientifique, Dr. Dement discussed the importance of sleep and the consequences of sleep deprivation, narrowing in on three major sleep disorders; insomnia, narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and best treatment practices. He also shared his personal challenges with insomnia.

It is my hope that his knowledge on the subject will alert potential sleep disorder sufferers to seek treatment and cure, so as to live longer and healthier lives.

Click here to listen to the podcast from his talk (scroll to “Past Events”).