By Wyatt Goolsby
SEMINOLE - Are you having trouble sleeping at night? If so, you may be in luck. Hospital officials in Seminole have brought something new to a rural town: a sleep study test. On Thursday, NewsWest 9 took a closer at a sleep test you can now have done in Gaines County that might just save your life.
"Sleep depravation is a terrible thing. It's terrible on our health, our relationships. If we are sleep deprived, it's going to have negative affects on our entire life," Jay Brodbeck, a Registered Polysomnographic (Sleep) Technologist based out of Lubbock, said.
Brodbeck told NewsWest 9 sleeping disorders can effect all kinds of people, which is why in the last few weeks he has started sleep study tests at Seminole Memorial Hospital. It's something you might expect to see in Midland, Odessa, or Lubbock. But Seminole?
"Studies have shown that someone who is sleep deprived, they're at 50 percent greater risk of having a motor vehicle accident or a workplace accident," Brodbeck explained. "Well, with Gaines County and Seminole being a big agriculture, oil based County, there's a lot of hazardous jobs out there. People driving big trucks, things like that."
Brodbeck said the typical test includes hooking up lots of cords on the head and abdomen of the patient, similar to an EKG test. The technology allows him to monitor the patient while he or she is sleeping. The most common disorder he's seen right here in West Texas: Sleep Apnea.
Rojean Therwhanger, a Seminole resident, said the recent test showed she suffers from Sleep Apnea. The frequent headaches make a lot more sense now. It's also why she's recommending it to others in Gaines County.
"If you wake up tired in the morning, which I do, I wake up some mornings and don't feel like that I've ever been asleep," Therwhanger explained. "You know, you wake up so tired, that you feel draggy, and all of that, I would suggest that you talk to your physician. Talk to him about having this sleep study done."
"So, if we get this community sleeping better, their health is going to improve, and every aspect of their life will improve," Brodbeck added.
Doctors said there are a number of symptoms that could be linked to sleeping disorders. Frequent headaches, loud snoring, or just falling asleep during the day at inappropriate times could be warning signs.
If you think you have these symptoms, health officials recommend talking to your doctor.