The Texas State Sleep Center is staying up to help students rest easy.
The Sleep Center was established in 2005 to provide students within the department of respiratory care with the experience they need in the professional field.
“There is a mandate requiring students in this major to get experience at a sleep center,” Gregg Marshall, sleep center chair, said. “There also wasn’t a sleep center to service the people in this area, so we decided to establish one on campus.”
Marshall said students are put into clinical rotations and visit the practices of professors to gain experience.
The sleep center has conducted research on college students on how different variables affect sleep.
Last spring, the center compared sleeping habits of traditional students with those of veterans.
“We found that the veterans were hypersensitive to any type of sound. A door hinge could wake them up,” Marshall said. “Being that alert, they can’t get into a deep sleep, and sleep apnea can occur.”
A person not breathing while they sleep characterizes sleep apnea. It strains the heart and lungs to work harder to get oxygen to the rest of the body. Hypertension, obesity and diabetes are associated with sleep apnea as well.
The center has also done research on athletes who have difficulty sleeping.
“Body-building is a huge contributor to sleep apnea because of the pressure muscle mass puts on the neck,” Billy Warton, sleep center director, said. “Our Texas State linebackers at the time had sleep apnea because of how bulked up they were.”
The sleep center works as a platform for academic research, and provides diagnostic support to the community. It is one of the only sleep study centers between Austin and San Antonio.
Julia Walsh, scheduling coordinator, said the center tests for 82 different sleep disorders.
The center is open six nights a week, and performs daytime studies for particular cases. It is also accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Accreditation allows the sleep center to accept all forms of insurance, Marshall said. They have done pro-bono work for people with extreme need for a sleep study.
“We do have expenses, but we aren’t in this for the business,” Marshall said. “We want to help as much as we can. That way we not only educate students but also give back to the community.”