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Sleep Medicine Telemedicine Services

The Sleep Disorders Center at UPMC helps people with breathing problems during sleep and other sleep issues.

About Sleep Disorders Telemedicine Services

UPMC sleep center doctors now use telemedicine for both first-time consults and all follow-up appointments.

Telehealth has transformed how we do much of our sleep-related testing at UPMC, including sleep studies. You can now do your sleep study in the safety and comfort of your own home.

Sleep studies via telemedicine

In addition to offering standard in-center sleep studies, we offer home sleep studies.

There are many sleep disorders, but suspected obstructive sleep apnea is the most common reason you might need a sleep study.

In this potentially serious sleep disorder, you may repeatedly stop breathing during sleep. Your brain then rouses you briefly, so you start breathing again.

These constant disruptions leave you tired and poorly rested.

The most common cause of sleep apnea is throat muscles that relax too much.

Possible causes include:

  • Excess weight.
  • A thick neck.
  • A narrow airway.
  • Alcohol use.

During a home sleep study, you will wear a special monitor during sleep for one night. Once you complete the sleep study, you can mail the monitor back to UPMC.

You will then schedule another online visit. Your doctor will review your results and work with you to form a treatment plan.

Benefits of Sleep Telemedicine Services

Sleep is vital to good health. When you sleep well, you feel better.

When you sleep poorly, you raise your risk for potentially serious health issues, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Depressed mood
  • Memory problems

If you're having troubles with your sleep, we can use telemedicine to help you feel better without coming to our office. There's no reason to delay this vital care.

Sleep medicine is especially well-suited to virtual visits because:

  • Your spouse or other family members can easily attend a virtual appointment. Hearing from other people in your home gives your doctor a better understanding of your sleep issues.
  • You can show your doctor where you sleep to get suggestions for better sleep hygiene.
  • If you already have a CPAP machine, you can show your doctor the device to receive troubleshooting help as needed.

All of this information can help your sleep doctor design a more effective treatment plan tailored to your exact needs.

Who Is a Candidate for a Video Visit?

UPMC sleep specialists have found the extra information from video visits so helpful, they now urge online care for all their patients. This applies to both new and returning patients.

A telemedicine consult with UPMC sleep specialists is ideal for anyone who:

  • Snores loudly.
  • Gasps for air while sleeping.
  • Wakes up with a headache.
  • Has daytime sleepiness.
  • Feels tired all the time.
  • Finds it hard to fall or stay asleep.
  • Finds it difficult to focus during the day.
  • Learns from a spouse, roommate, or loved one they do strange things in their sleep.

What to Expect During Your Sleep Medicine Video Visit

If you think you might have obstructive sleep apnea, make a video appointment with a UPMC sleep specialist.

If we decide you need an in-home sleep study, we'll mail you a simple monitor.

Once you get the monitor, you will:

  • Have another online visit so your doctor can explain how to wear it.
  • Sleep in the comfort of your home wearing the monitor to conduct your sleep study.
  • Have a follow-up video visit to go over your results and discuss next steps.