Sleep Medicine

Our physician services at SIMED include a division devoted to Sleep Medicine.  A sleep physician has trained in one of the primary medical specialties (Internal Medicine, Pulmonology and Neurology, among others).  Following that, they continue with additional fellowship training and board certification in Sleep Medicine.  SIMED is proud to have five board certified sleep physicians who engage in diagnosis, testing and treatment of poor sleep caused by Apnea (snoring and sleep-related breathing disorders), Restless Leg Syndrome, Narcolepsy (excessive sleepiness), disturbed day/night rhythm (often caused by shift work), and Parasomnia (nightmares and other unusual nighttime behavior).

Why Seek Treatment?
It’s often said that there are two sufferers in a Sleep Disorder family—the patient who has apnea, excessive snoring or movement or other disturbed sleep patterns, and the spouse/significant other that’s awakened by these medical problems.  What’s a partner to do when he/she lies awake waiting for the periodic breathing stoppages of apnea or a kick across the bed due to restless leg syndrome?

Seventy million people suffer from chronic, severe sleep disorders in the United States alone. That means nearly one of every four Americans has a sleep problem. If you have any issues related to sleep whether due to non-restorative sleep, sleeping too much, excessive daytime sleepiness (falling asleep at inappropriate times), difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or abnormal behaviors associated with sleep, it could be a sign that you have a sleep disorder.

According to our sleep physicians, complications that arise from the simple failure to get a good night’s sleep include hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, stroke, diabetes, weight gain, and daytime risks like constant fatigue, poor reflexes when driving or at work, clouded judgment, and inability to concentrate.  That kind of distraction is very real, potentially dangerous, and usually treatable.

Our Sleep Physicians’ Role
At SIMED, you can refer yourself to our sleep physicians (simply by making an appointment) or ask your physician to generate a specialty referral to them.  Our physicians will examine you, recommend testing if needed, and use the results of your test to suggest the best treatment option for you.  Different patients achieve a better night’s sleep (and more productive daytime) from a wide range of treatment methods.  What works for your spouse, coworker or neighbor may not be the best course of treatment for you.  An office appointment with one of our sleep physicians, followed by the diagnostic capabilities available at our Gainesville Sleep Center, will help you and your physician construct a personalized plan to get you back into your optimal sleep cycle.

Indications for Testing, Diagnosis and Treatment

Do you suffer from Sleep Apnea and not even know it?  Try the American Sleep Apnea Association’s Sleep Score.  If you answered Yes to any of these questions, you (and your family) would benefit from an office visit with one of our Sleep Physicians:

1. Are you a loud and/or regular snorer?

2. Have you been observed to gasp or stop breathing during sleep?

3. Do you feel tired or groggy upon awakening, or do you awaken with a headache?

4. Are you often tired or fatigued during the wake time hours?

5. Do you fall asleep sitting, reading, watching TV or driving?

6. Do you often have problems with memory or concentration?

Source: American Sleep Apnea Association (

Are you getting a good night sleep?
August 11, 2014

Health professionals understand the benefits of having a good night's sleep and what it can do for your overall health. They also understand the risk factors of not having a restful sleep and the implications it can have. Conditions such as Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, Restless Legs and Sleep Deprivation can have a huge impact on our daily lives. Our Sleep Medicine physicians can provide sleep studies at our Sleep Center  to help diagnose and treat these conditions.

SIMED Primary Care and Sleep Medicine SIMED Primary Care physician Larrisa Lim, MD is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and has a subspecialty in Sleep Medicine.  Dr. Lim gives us some insight on one of these terrible sleep disorders “Insomnia” and some helpful tips on what we can do to get a better quality sleep at night.

Insomnia affects 30% of adults in the United States.  It is defined as difficulty falling asleep, maintaining sleep, awakening too early or chronically poor quality or non-restorative sleep.  Risk factors include advancing age, female gender, and psychiatric disorders such as depression.  Medications often used to treat insomnia include benzodiazepenes like Ativan, non-benzodiazepene receptor agonists like Ambien, and melatonin agonists like Rozerem.  Over-the-counter anti-histamines like Benadryl are also used but have lots of side effects like dry mouth, urinary retention, and constipation. 
Improving sleep hygiene can help insomnia.  Here are some good "sleep hygiene" tips:

  • Have the same bedtime and wake up time every day.
  • Avoid caffiene after lunch
  • Sleep in a quiet, dark and cool room
  • Try to sleep 7-8 hours a night.
  • Minimize fluids after 7:00pm
  • Do not sleep with pets
  • Do not keep the TV on while sleeping
  • Avoid smoking
  • Keep a sleep journal if worries keep you awake at night. 
  • Avoid napping during the day.
  • Exercise regularly for at least 20 minutes daily at least 4-5 hours before bedtime. 
Sleep is vitally important to overall health and a good night’s sleep will give you the energy to have a productive day. Talk to your physician to see if a sleep study might be the right thing for you.

If you believe that you would benefit from a sleep study or from our Sleep Medicine division please call (352) 224-2338 or click here for an Online Appointment Request.

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