Sleep In The News

The UT Sleep Center provides information on prevention, symptoms, tests, treatment and management of various sleep conditions. Every month, our Sleep Center Staff comments on recent sleep studies and sleep information. 

For more information, call the Sleep Center at 865.305.8761

 IN THE NEWS: WBIR 11:10 a.m. EST November 14, 2014

How to Handle an Irregular Sleep Schedule

City of Knoxville firefighters work in 24-hour shifts, and during that time they have to be ready to go on a call at a second's notice.

Victor Lawson with the Knoxville Fire Department says they typically go on about two to three calls after midnight – that doesn't leave much time for sleep.

"It's an adrenaline based job anyway," Lawson says. "And I work with a bunch of adrenaline junkies."

Sleep experts at UT Medical Center say it's best to get all the sleep you need at one time, but Dr. Kevin Martinolich understands in certain cases, that's not always possible.

"What we know is, you got to get as much as you can," Martinolich says. "And that may mean catching sleep whenever the opportunity arrives is a little nap here or there."

Lawson says naps are important for firefighters, and they try to sneak one in whenever they have a few minutes. But firefighters never know how long that nap will last.

"Ours is a very physical job, so we need all the strength we can get."

Firefighters work a demanding schedule, but Lawson says it's worth it. "You can't do this job unless you want to do it. Period."

Firefighters aren't the only ones who work odd schedules. Policeman, EMS workers, nurses, and countless others all can work odd shifts. Experts say those workers need to get as much sleep whenever they can. Originally published on WBIR.

 IN THE NEWS: 10:16 a.m. EST November 10, 2014

How doctors diagnose sleep disorders

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.

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?"

Dr. Martinolich said just because you're snoring doesn't mean you need to see an expert, but you should definitely talk to your primary care doctor about it. You should undergo a sleep test if you are sleep walking, if someone says you aren't breathing when you sleep, and if you are getting enough sleep but are still tired.

A TODAY sleep survey found that 46 percent of people who responded said they don't get enough sleep. For women, it's even worse: 58 percent over 18 fall short of their ideal goal of just over eight hours of sleep a night.

IN THE NEWS: 10/1/13
UT Sleep Center Recognizes Staff during Sleep Technologist Appreciation Week: Oct. 7 through Oct. 13, 2013

During Sleep Technologist Appreciation Week 2013, Oct. 7 to 13, UT Sleep Center will recognize the valuable contributions of staff who assist in the evaluation and follow-up care of patients with sleep disorders.

“The sleep technologists at UT Sleep Center play a critical role in helping us provide the highest quality of medical care for patients with sleep disorders,” said medical director Dr. Kevin Martinolich.  “Their hard work and commitment to excellence has helped UT Sleep Center become one of the leading providers of sleep-related health care in our region.

Sleep technologists help assess, monitor and test patients to evaluate, manage and prevent sleep-related disorders.  They often work the night shift, interacting directly with patients to initiate overnight sleep studies and to provide constant monitoring until morning.  Sleep technologists also may provide expert analysis of the raw data from a sleep study and may assist in the office’s day-to-day administration and management.

The UT Sleep Center located in Suite 119 in Medical Building B on the medical center campus was established in 1998 and is open 6 days a week.  The facility has eight (8) comfortable bedrooms to accommodate patients who need sleep studies.  The specialists at UT Sleep Center have expertise in detecting and treating sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), narcolepsy and restless legs syndrome.  

An estimated 50 million to 70 million people in the U.S. suffer from a chronic sleep disorder.  If left untreated, a sleep disorder can have a detrimental effect on overall health and well-being; OSA has been linked to such problems as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.      

 To schedule a consultation with a sleep specialist, call 865-305-8761.

Sleep Technologist Appreciation Week 2013 is sponsored by the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST).  Established in 1978, the AAST is the professional membership society for sleep technologists.  The AAST advances the sleep technology profession by establishing professional standards, promoting standardized training and providing educational opportunities for more than 4,300 members. 

IN THE NEWS: 5/29/2013

Once again, Cityview has collected the ballots and counted the votes: the results are in, and all of UT Sleep Center's 3 doctors, were named in Cityview's 11th annual Top Docs list. The 2013 list can be found here.


British academic James Bryce wrote: “Medicine is the only profession that labors incessantly to destroy the reason for its own existence.” The physicians in our community work not only to heal our sickness and diseases, but also to find permanent cures and to increase their patients’ overall health and wellness. Their hard work and compassion are deeply appreciated by the patients and family members who benefit from their efforts every day. 

Once again, Cityview is honoring the outstanding men and women in our medical community whose dedication and skill have earned the respect of both their patients and their fellow doctors. Every year, we ask the area’s referring physicians to tell us whom they would choose if they needed specialized care. This is not a popularity contest or a paid survey. Rather, these results are the opinions of the practicing physicians on the front lines of the healthcare industry—the people who see new and unusual cases and situations every day that require specialized medical care. Of course, this is not to say that those not listed in our survey results are not also excellent physicians in their own right. This survey simply recognizes those who have the utmost regard of their colleagues and peers. 

Sleep Medicine

Tina M. Dudney
1940 Alcoa Hwy., Ste. E-210 (865) 524-7471

Michael L. Eisenstadt
9040 Executive Park Dr., Ste. 205 (865) 531-9238

Kevin M. Martinolich
1928 Alcoa Hwy., Ste. B-119 (865) 305-8761


IN THE NEWS: 3/22/2013 with comments from Dr. Michael Eisenstadt

Published: 3/7/2013

Insomnia Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Failure

Insomniacs have an increased risk of developing heart failure, according to a new study published in the European Heart Journal.

The 11-year study followed 54,279 people between the ages of 20-89 and found that those who suffered from three symptoms of insomnia were 3.5 times as likely to develop heart failure, compared to those with no insomnia symptoms.

"We related heart failure risk to three major insomnia symptoms including trouble falling asleep, problems staying asleep, and not waking up feeling refreshed in the morning," said Lars Laugsand of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. "[Patients] suffering from all three insomnia symptoms simultaneously were at considerably higher risk than those who had no symptoms or only one or two symptoms."

Researchers collected data from 54,279 men and women enrolled in the Nord-Trondelag Health study (HUNT) between 1995 and 1997, all of whom were free from heart failure when they joined. Participants then self-reported their sleep habits, citing any difficulties going to sleep or staying asleep and how often they awoke in the morning not feeling refreshed. Researchers continued monitoring until 2008, by which time there had been a total of 1,412 cases of heart failure among participants.

After analyzing the sleep surveys for those participants who suffered heart failure, researchers found that patients with all three insomnia symptoms had a 353% increased risk of heart failure, compared to those with no symptoms, according to the study.

Notably, although the study determines a link between insomnia and increased risk of heart failure, a causal relationship has not been confirmed, according to researchers.

"We do not know whether heart failure is really caused by insomnia, but if it is, insomnia is a potentially treatable condition" using several strategies, said Laugsand. "It is still unclear why insomnia is linked to higher heart failure risk. We have some indications that there might be a biological cause, and one possible explanation could be that insomnia activates stress responses in the body that might negatively affect heart function. However, further research is also needed to find the possible mechanisms for this association."

The full study is available here.


This is an interesting and important study, but in some respects it is not surprising.  Most insomnia patients have what are referred to as co-morbid conditions in association with their insomnia.  The study establishes that at baseline they do not have Congestive Heart Failure.  Presumably many, if not most, of the individuals in the study have at least 1 medical condition:  

From a recent survey in descending order these conditions include hypertension (29%), arthritis (28%), heartburn or gastroesophageal re-flux disease (19%), depression (18%), anxiety disorder (12%), diabetes (11%); heart disease (10%), and lung disease (5%).

Obesity also was associated with a greater number of sleep-related problems. Other sleep disorders can be associated with insomnia (Sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, etc). Medications commonly used in primary care such as bronchodilators, steroids, diuretics, anti hypertensives  and activating antidepressants, along with caffeine, may also produce insomnia. It is not clear if those reporting insomnia represent a very different group than those who just have the co-morbid conditions and do not report insomnia.

Quick Contact

Office Location:

1928 Alcoa Highway, Suite 119 Building B Knoxville, TN 37920

Quick Contact:

Phone: (865) 305-8761


Ready to set up an appointment? Our office is convenient to downtown and West Knoxville. Visit the Plan Your Visit page for directions.

Locations »