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How doctors diagnose sleep disorders

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KNOXVILLE, TN (WBIR) - Sleep is something that affects us all, and many of us aren't getting enough of it. On Monday, we learned more about sleep disorders and how they're diagnosed.

There are about 80 sleep disorders; the most common are insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs, and narcolepsy.

WBIR 10News reporter Katie Roach got an inside look at the University of Tennessee Medical Center's Sleep Lab. The lab almost looks like a hotel room: there's a bed, dresser, TV, and bathroom. But here is what's different - there's a camera and a machine doctors use to monitor things like heart rate and breathing.

Dr. Kevin Martinolich, medical director of UT Medical Center's Sleep Center, said these sleep studies can reveal lots of issues.

"The point of doing a sleep study is it gives us an opportunity to see a lot of different things," said Dr. Martinolich. "We can see brain wave activity, so we know if someone is sleeping, how well they're sleeping. We can monitor their breathing, so we know if they are not breathing. We can monitor their heart rates. We can monitor for unusual activity. Are they yelling out in the middle of the night? Are they having seizures in the middle of the night? Are they kicking or doing other things that might be disturbing their sleep or their bed partner's sleep?"

Read more at WBIR.

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