Sleepless in El Paso


POSTED: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 9:34pm

UPDATED: Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 12:18pm

Mom always said: get a good night's sleep. But with financial woes, stress from violence across the border, and health issues, that's not always possible for some people here in El Paso.

"I read up on it and I heard you could die from it," said Timothy Osborne. He has been in the military for over a decade, but it's not just the high-pressure job keeping him up at night.

"I have some concerns about my sleeping because I wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air."

Osborne most likely has sleep apnea - when you stop breathing because of a blocked airway.

El Paso Sleep Center diagnoses and treats patients with sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy. And it's not just to help people feel more rested; it's to prevent tragedies such as someone getting behind the wheel and falling asleep.

"It's very important to sleep well at night," said Dr. Gonzalo Diaz, owner of the Sleep Center. "If you don't pay attention to your sleep, your body doesn't function well."

Dr. Diaz has seen about a 15% increase in the number of patients. It may be attributed to stress from the economy and violence next door, as well as our eating habits.

"Well when you have stress you have an increase in insomnia cases and also El Paso has very high overweight, obesity," Dr. Diaz said.

But Dr. Diaz said these problems are nothing to lose sleep over because of the damage it can do to your health.

"That lack of oxygen can affect your heart, you can die at night," he said.

Lack of sleep also messes up your metabolism and can cause weight gain - something Osborne can't afford.

"I actually do a lot of coordination and if I'm not on top of what I do, then you know, we have issues," Osborne said.

Osborne said he doesn't mind getting fitted with a mask if it'll transform his sleep schedule.

"Whatever it takes to get me diagnosed or whatever I have, if I have a problem," Osborne said.

Dr. Diaz said most insurance companies cover the cost of the sleep studies.

Comments News Comments

About two years ago my wife talked me into going in for a sleep study. I would wake up in the middle of the night and would not feel rested during the day. The very day after using my CPAP I was a new man. It felt like I had been living in a haze and that was gone! I am glad my wife talked me in to going to see Dr. Diaz at the Sleep Center. N0 I don't work for him or know him or any of his staff personally. I am just very greatful to them for their help. So not all of them are scams.

I was conned into doing a sleep study with the assurance that my health plan would cover it. After spending the nigt at the Raddisson the dr. didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. He said I wasn't getting enough deep restful sleep (duh!- that's why I went to him)After it was all said and done I was left with a $500 balance my insurance didn't cover and still not sleeping well! SLEEP STUDIES ARE A SCAM!!

I have had my CPAP machine for a year and a half...what a difference it makes, I went from feeling like I was standing behind a glass wall to actually being alert and interacting in life again. Now that I have back control of my respiratory system, I am now working on losing the weight I had gained due to the sleep apnea. To all those who think you have a sleep apnea diagnosis, PLEASE get a sleep study done, you can even get a portable one you sleep with if you dont mind the monitor on finger.

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