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Sleep Lab

Harlingen Medical Center Sleep Lab

Do you get a good night’s rest when you go to bed? Sleep problems are often overlooked or ignored. Chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems may involve too little sleep, too much sleep or inadequate quality of sleep. These problems can significantly diminish health, alertness and safety. If left untreated, sleep problems have been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

For further information, contact us at 956-365-1839.

If you or a loved one has trouble sleeping, snores and stops breathing when sleeping experiences chronic tiredness, lack of concentration or decreased productivity, Harlingen Medical Center’s Sleep Lab is here for you. HMC opened one of the first hospital-based sleep disorder clinics in the Valley. Our experienced sleep specialists treat adults and children (from ages five and older).
To determine whether you might benefit from a sleep evaluation, your primary care physician may refer you to the Sleep Lab to have a sleep study (polysomnogram), a non-invasive, pain-free procedure which usually requires spending a night in the Harlingen Medical sleep facility. If obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed, a second-night therapeutic sleep study may be ordered to determine if the patient’s sleep may be improved through continuous positive pressure treatment.

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Our Sleep Lab diagnoses and treats many common sleep disorders, including:

  • Sleep Apnea/Hypopnea Syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • REM Sleep Disorders
  • Snoring and Breathing Arousal Disorder
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Periodic Limb Movement Disorders

“Don’t delay; register today!”

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA refers to a condition in which a person’s breathing stops briefly, and then starts again, while they are asleep. This happens in certain people because the muscle that helps keeps the throat open tends to relax while a person is asleep. In most people, the throat remains far enough open for air to continue to flow into the lungs while they are sleeping. However, some people have a narrow throat – and when their muscles relax, their airway can become blocked.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Loud snoring can be a possible symptom of sleep apnea – although NOT everyone who snores has sleep apnea. If someone snores on a regular basis, and exhibits one or more of the following symptoms, they should consider being evaluated for possible obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Snoring, interrupted by pauses in breathing
  • Night-time gasping or choking
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • The person has a large neck size (more than 17” in men or 16” in women)
  • Heart disease
  • Restless sleep
  • Sleepiness during the day, or excessive fatigue
  • Crowded airway
  • Headache in the morning
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Frequent urination at night
  • Poor judgement or concentration
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Depression

Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP is the most common treatment. The patient wears a special mask over his or her nose, or over the nose and mouth, while sleeping. A machine generates a gentle stream of air which helps the patient breath better. The “positive-pressure airflow” is delivered through a tube. This helps keep the airway open while sleeping.

Less common treatments include the following

  • Ear, Nose & Throat Surgery
  • Wearing an “oral appliance therapy” device while sleeping.

Treatments should be combined with weight loss (if necessary), exercise, and avoiding alcohol, sedatives, and hypnotic drugs (sleeping pills).

BENEFITS OF Continuous Positive Airway Pressure THERAPY

Benefits of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy can include the following in certain patients:

  • Regular breathing restored
  • Stops snoring
  • More restful sleep
  • Improved quality of life
  • Reduced risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and heart attack
  • Reduced risk of being involved in a vehicle or work accident because of excessive fatigue


Because of the possible serious complications of obstructive sleep apnea, it is important to not delay getting diagnosed and treated for possible sleep problems. Please seek the care of your physician, and contact us at:

Harlingen Medical Center Sleep Lab
Alma Summers, Sleep Lab Director




To schedule an appointment, please call:
Central Scheduling
Pre-Registration & Financial Counseling Available Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.