Ask the Doctor: In Pursuit of a Good Night’s Sleep


Thaddeus Shattuck, MD, is a psychiatrist who completed a fellowship in sleep medicine.  He is the medical director of the Center for Sleep Disorders, an American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited facility. 

How did you become interested in sleep disorders and sleep medicine?

During my psychiatry residency, I saw a lot of outpatients that had sleep disorders as well as psychiatric disorders, especially among patients suffering from depression. I quickly realized that getting a good night’s sleep is so important in so many ways and I became interested in learning more about sleep medicine.

Approximately 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, with insomnia and sleep apnea being the most common. In fact, 80% of men and 90% of women have some form of sleep apnea and have not been diagnosed!

How long has St. Mary’s Hospital had the Center for Sleep Disorders?

Our Center was founded about 25 years ago and we are the only sleep medicine practice in the area to treat sleep disorders in children. We have great clinical expertise and are the only facility in the state of Maine to offer group therapy for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia.

Why is getting a good night’s sleep so important?

Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to our functionality during the day. It is a fundamental human need that plays a vital role in maintaining our physical, emotional and mental well-being. I know when I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I suffer the next day. I feel tired, moody and a lack of sleep affects my cognitive ability; I simply don’t feel like myself. People who don’t get enough sleep are affected in other ways as well, including problem solving and studying retention, feeling depressed and stressed and may suffer from a weakened immune system.

What are the most common forms of sleep disorders?

The most common forms of sleep disorders are insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, daytime drowsiness and restless leg syndrome. If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and abnormal heart rhythms.

What are the treatment options for sleep disorders and how are they diagnosed?

At St. Mary’s Center for Sleep Disorders, we have the ability to diagnose and treat a wide range of sleep disorders to help our patients get a good night’s sleep. There is no “one size” fits all; each patient’s habits, lifestyle and symptoms are evaluated on an individual basis to diagnose and determine the best form of treatment for them. We offer robust facility overnight sleep studies, home sleep apnea testing and virtual visits to determine exactly what is causing the patient’s inability to get a good night’s sleep, and then recommend an appropriate treatment regime to address their specific healthcare needs. Our home sleep apnea testing is a very popular option, offering patients the convenience and privacy of their own bedroom, and only requires a brief appointment with a sleep technician to learn how to use the mobile recording device. The device is returned to the Center the next day where the results are interpreted and then reviewed with the patient.

The Center offers superb clinical expertise offered by four physicians, five technicians and has a knowledgeable administrative staff to answer questions, assist with referrals, make appointments and navigate each patient’s insurance requirements.

If you’re experiencing difficulty sleeping and would like to get on a path to better sleep and sweet dreams, please click here or call 207.777.8959.

(207) 777-8100
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