When Baxley resident, Steve Kerr, gets home from a long day at work, he still has plenty of energy to play with his niece and nephew. Something that wouldn't have been possible years ago." We could be sitting here and be talking at this time of night, and I'd fall asleep," said Steve.
And he'd start snoring, quite loudly. While his ruckus would keep the rest of the house up at night, the noise would also wake Steve from a deep sleep, making it hard for even him to get a restful night's sleep. The only time he did was unfortunately during the day. "I have fallen asleep filling out paperwork at work. I'd just stop for a minute, and then realize it and jump, and wake up," said Steve.
Finally, after trying several anti -snoring products out on the market, and not feeling any relief, Steve sought help and ended up at a Sleep Study. The sleep clinic is nothing new for Steve. When we caught up with him, this was actually his second stay here. His first time was almost 20 years ago. That's when he learned his snoring wasn't just keeping him and his family awake, it was actually saving his life. "On the first sleep study I had, within 6 hours I had about 360 sleep interruptions. That's about one per minute," explained Steve.
Doctor's diagnosed Steve with Sleep Apnea, a disorder where a person totally stops breathing. The only thing that causes them to catch their breath is snoring." It was causing my heart to enlarge," said Steve," My oxygen level would drop, therefore my heart rate picked up. So my body would get the oxygen it needs, so my heart never rest."
One of the symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring, and that can be dangerous to a person's health. It can put them at risk for other diseases, such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and diabetes.
Which is why places like the Costrini Sleep lab in Pooler and on Savannah's Southside are so important. It catches sleep disorders that people may never know they have. "By the time they get to a sleep clinic for snoring, chances are they're not going to walk out with a simple diagnosis of snoring," explained Dr. Anthony Costrini. "For every 100 sleep studies that I do, I may have less than 10 that are normal."
Dr. Costrini's sleep services has been open since 1995. He's helped more than seven thousand people get back to a regular sleep pattern, and a restful night's sleep. People like Pooler Mayor, Mike Lamb.
Running the city keeps Mike on his toes, so he needs all the rest he can to stay on top of his job. But he too is a snorer." You hate to say you snore -- but I know I must, because I've had people tell me I snore. And I've woken up hearing myself snore, right at the end of the snore," laughed Mike.
And lately, all that snoring hasn't been allowing him to get much sleep, only dozing off for an hour or two at a time. The lack of sleep is finally pushing Mike to go see Dr. Costrini., who recommended a sleep study.
During the study, technicians place sensors all over the patients body to monitor them during the night. Technicians are looking at breathing patterns, brain waves, and heart rate, anything that might give them a clue as to why a person isn't getting enough sleep. It's a detailed study Mike Lamb says he's up for trying. " I hope he gives me hope for being able to sleep, and give me some ideas of things I should do and try."
For Steve Kerr, the sleep lab saved his life. He now uses a C-Pap Machine at night which helps force air through his nose and throat, stopping his sleep apnea and snoring. Something his wife, Bliss, is grateful for. Now both she, and Steve, are experiencing a peaceful nights sleep. " I think it's helped him out a lot. I don't think he could sleep without it," exclaimed Bliss.
The C-Pap machine is just one of the many prescribed remedies available. For some, if all else fails, sometimes surgery is required. For Bill Rozier, he finally found relief by using a mouth guard that helps force air into this throat area. Since he's been using it, he hasn't snored at all, to the delight of his wife, Samara! But remember, the best course of treatment will have to be determined by doctor.