Sleep Disorder Centre
The Sleep Disorder Centre was established in 1992, and provides a comprehensive service in sleep medicine for the south east of England. It is one of the six largest centres in the UK.
The centre diagnoses and treats all aspects of adult sleep medicine, but respiratory disorders during sleep constitute the largest part of the workload. These include:
- sleep disordered breathing (SDB)
- hypoventilation syndromes (mostly related to increased body mass index)
- NREM parasomnias
- REM behaviour disorder
- sleep related movement disorders
- sleep related epilepsies and
- circadian rhythm disorders.
The centre is one of only a few in the UK with facilities for a full range of treatments for sleep disordered breathing, including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), non-invasive ventilation (NIV), orthodontic services for mandibular advancement devices, and surgery including bi-maxillary osteotomy.
Although bed partners will observe and complain about sleep disordered breathing, the subject themselves is usually unaware of their condition, but may notice a decline in daytime function and motivation, often accompanied by excessive daytime sleepiness. Measuring daytime sleepiness is therefore an easy marker of symptoms. One commonly used scoring system is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), a questionnaire that assesses the likelihood of accidently falling asleep whilst undertaking eight common daily activities.
Sleep at night is essential for good health. Excessive sleepiness during the day causes a reduction in quality of life, decreased ability to drive safely, decline in intellect, and can be an antecedent to falls in the elderly. Increasing levels of respiratory dysfunction are associated with the development of arterial hypertension and the onset of adult type II diabetes, with cardiovascular sequelae, including stroke and myocardial infarct.
Patient related outcome measurements (PROMs) include assessing the patient’s subjective improvement in daytime sleepiness and function using the ESS (Epworth Sleepiness Score 0-24), and is therefore an effective indicator of the efficacy of therapy.
Talk to your GP about NHS treatment
To get referred with a sleep problem on the NHS, you should initially consult your GP who will advise you further. Your GP may suggest a referral to a specialist first (often in ENT surgery for snoring), or may suggest a referral straight to QVH. Where your problem is one of difficulty sleeping, sleep walking or sleep talking, odd behaviour or movements whilst asleep, your GP may write to QVH for an expert opinion first and we will contact you to make an outpatient appointment to assess your problem and give advice. The NHS does not undertake treatment for complaints of snoring unless this is associated with disorder of breathing in sleep.
How to make a sleep centre referral – information for health professionals.
Professor Adrian Williams
Professor of Sleep Medicine & Consultant Respiratory Physician
Specialist interests: sleep complaints in general, including sleep apnoea, restless legs, excessive sleepiness, sleepwalking, acting out dreams.
Professor Adrian Williams has had a long interest in sleep medicine dating back to research into the sudden infant death syndrome conducted at Harvard University. Subsequently he was appointed at UCLA, ultimately becoming a tenured Professor of Clinical Medicine and Chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. He developed what was to become the largest sleep service within the Veterans Administration while at the same time co-directing the UCLA Sleep Disorders Centre.
He was one of the early clinicians boarded in sleep medicine and has published widely in that field including early contributions recognising that systemic hypertension could in part be related to obstructive sleep apnoea.
In the UK he has helped develop the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Sleep Disorders Centre into the largest and most active in the UK. He is a founding member of the Sleep Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, is one of Europe’s few recognised somnologists, as well as having been awarded the UK’s first Chair in Sleep Medicine.
Dr Oliver Bernath
Consultant Neurologist and Sleep Physician
Special interests: All sleep disorders, especially those with neurological origin: narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia, parasomnias (e.g. nightmares, sleepwalking), REM behaviour disorder, restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movements in sleep disorder, insomnia, nocturnal epilepsy, sleep/wake rhythm disorder, but also obstructive sleep apnoea and snoring.
Dr Oliver Bernath qualified in neurology, clinical neurophysiology/epilepsy, and sleep disorders. He is registered by the General Medical Council with added qualification in neurology. He is certified as sleep physician by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the German Society of Sleep Medicine (DGSM). He obtained a Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Ulm (Germany) for his research in muscle physiology.
Dr Bernath started his medical training at the University of Ulm (Germany) and expanded his studies with terms at University College London and the University of Otago (New Zealand). After graduating from Ulm, he trained as junior doctor at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. He then completed his neurology residence at the University of Chicago followed by postgraduate fellowships in clinical neurophysiology, epilepsy, and intraoperative monitoring at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and in Sleep Medicine at UCSF/Stanford. He obtained US Board certifications in all of these specialties. In 2000, he returned to the UK and worked at Atkinson Morley’s Hospital, Kingston Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital and now at Queen Victoria Hospital in the sleep disorders clinic.
His work ranged from operational improvement programmes in clinics and hospitals, to national healthcare transformations, policy development and regulator design.
Dr Bernath was a scholar of the German National Merit Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes) and won research prizes in epilepsy and sleep research. His latest field of interest lies in the science and clinical practice of nightmares and dreaming.
Sleep Disorder Centre opening times
Monday to Friday – 8.30am to 5pm
Saturday/Sunday/Bank holidays – closed
Please do not attend the Sleep Disorder Centre without a prior arranged appointment as this could result in a wasted journey.
“Every contact I’ve had the centre, be it cheery admin staff calling regarding appointments through to ‘sleeping over’, has been completely positive and I want to thank everyone of you.”
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