North Alabama Sleep Disorders Center

Located at Helen Keller Hospital
1111 South Raleigh Avenue
Sheffield, Alabama

For Additional Information, call us at (256) 386-4191 or to take the North Alabama Sleep Disorder Quiz please click here

The North Alabama Sleep Disorders Center was the first sleep center in this community. It was opened in 1995 and accredited as a sleep lab in 1996.

On March 23, 2001, the Center was accredited by the American Sleep Disorders Association, now known as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. This recognition brought the first fully accredited Center to our area.

What are sleep disorders?

A sleep disorder is defined as any problem with sleep that causes problems in one's waking hours. A sleep disorder may include difficulties in falling asleep, staying asleep or remaining awake. The most serious symptoms of sleep disorders are daytime sleepiness, excessive use of sleeping pills, nighttime chest pains, morning headaches, heavy snoring and breathing irregularities during sleep.

It is estimated that as many as 20-50 percent of the general population may suffer from a form of sleep disorder. Fortunately, once properly diagnosed, most sleep disorders are treatable.

What is a Sleep Disorders Center?

A sleep disorders center is a medical facility equipped with private study rooms for diagnosing and treating patients with sleep related disorders. The center's services are provided by professionals with training and experience in sleep-related disorders.

What happens during Testing?

The first evaluation will include a full medical history and physical examination. Sleep disorders are often diagnosed by sleep testing, called polysonnograms. Most testing at the Center is performed on an outpatient basis, during an overnight stay in one of the Center's comfortable home-like private rooms. The rooms are especially equipped with microphones and infrared video cameras that keep out all light and sound. Prior to sleep, painless sensors are applied to the patient to monitor brain waves, eye movements, heartbeat, oxygen levels, and other criteria.

With this information, specialists determine which sleep disorder exists and develop appropriate treatment. Occasionally, additional day time testing may be required to accurately assess sleep disturbances.

Can Sleep Disorders Be Treated?

Yes, most sleep disorders can be effectively treated once they have been accurately diagnosed. Some conditions require medication. Others may require a change in daily habits and work schedules. When sleep apnea is present, weight loss or an upper airway operation may be necessary to diminish the serious health risks.


Most sleep disorders treatments are covered by medical insurance. The costs of the evaluation will depend on the type and extent of testing required. The Center's staff will work with you to determine the amount of coverage supplied by your insurance company.

General Sleep Disorders

Following are a few of the more common sleep disorders and a description of their symptoms.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is one of the most common disorders. It occurs predominately in males and postmenopausal women. A person with sleep apnea may stop breathing for as little as 10 seconds, or as much as two or more minutes. Of course, this can have serious consequences by compromising blood oxygen levels and causing an irregular heartbeat. After proper diagnosis, this condition can be successfully managed with various treatment options. Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

loud irregular snoring
poor concentration
high blood pressure
morning headaches
excessive daytime sleepiness
confusion or brief memory loss upon awakening


Insomnia, or difficulty sleeping, occurs in as many as 15-30% of adults at some point in their lives. Some causes are ineffective stress management, sleep schedule changes, poor sleep habits, medications, and physical illnesses. Chronic insomnia left untreated may last from weeks to years and may adversely affect your health.


Narcolepsy is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, uncontrollable sleep attacks, sudden loss of muscle tone or weakness, and the inability to move upon falling asleep or waking up. This condition may be treated with stimulating medications and frequently scheduled naps.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome can cause creepy-crawly feelings and even pain in the legs, making it hard to fall asleep. The pain and unpleasant feelings appear most often in the calves of the legs and are temporarily relieved by stretching or moving the legs.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder can cause one to kick involuntarily throughout the night and to awaken briefly each time. When the leg movements occur five or more times during each hour of sleep, they are serious enough to be considered Periodic Limb Movement Disorder.

Oxygenation Problems

When people have chronic breathing problems or lung disease, their symptoms often worsen during sleep.

To Take the North Alabama Sleep Disorder Quiz please click here