Patients can sleep in style at Northside Hospital’s new Sleep Disorders Center at 1071 S. Enota Drive in Gainesville.
Rooms have individual thermostats, flat-screen TVs and piped-in white noise to help relax patients as well as block outside noises. And when sleep comes, patients can recline on Sleep Number beds. In the morning, they get breakfast in bed.
“We kind of wanted to make it feel like an upscale Marriott kind of thing,” said John W. Russell, system manager at the center. “We didn’t cut many corners.”
It’s a big change from Northside’s smaller location in the Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic off Jesse Jewell Parkway.
There, sleepers had to share a bathroom, said Tracy Sapp, the sleep center’s coordinator of pulmonary services.
“It wasn’t conducive to our patients getting their rest,” she said.
“Having the private bathroom and shower for every room is a big upgrade,” Russell added. “Lots of people want to get up and take a shower and go to work after their sleep study.”
“And we have new and upgraded equipment, so it’s much better,” Sapp said.
Northside has other sleep labs in Sandy Springs, Canton, Cumming and Roswell. Combined, they treat more than 1,000 patients a month for problems such as sleep apnea, insomnia and narcolepsy, according to Northside.
People suffering from insomnia can’t get much help from the center, which shares space with Smile Doctors and is also off Park Hill Drive.
“To get to the bottom of insomnia, usually you don’t have to do a sleep test,” said Dr. Wes Head, sleep medicine and pulmonary specialist. “The best way to treat it is with cognitive behavioral therapy.”
The center has four rooms, with some space to add a fifth room, plus a room where patients’ sleep is monitored and recorded for later study as needed.
Sleep disorders can have a serious impact on patients — but also in a much broader way.
“The country loses billions of dollars a year in productivity from people sleeping poorly,” Head said. “Sleep apnea has a lot of adverse health effects, such as cardiovascular disease … separate from making you feel bad.”