About Mercy

Mercy Sleep Center

The experts at the Mercy Sleep Center recognize that sleep is an essential to you and when you don’t sleep well, you put your job, relationships, productivity, health and safety at risk.  In addition, poor sleep increases the risk of a number of chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression as well as machine and motor vehicle accidents.

Mercy Sleep Center  (515) 358-9600  | Download Brochure

The experienced professionals at Mercy Sleep Center take a comprehensive approach to sleep disorders – providing consultation, evaluation, treatment and thorough follow-up care.

If you think you may have a sleep disorder, contact your primary health care provider and ask for a referral to Mercy Sleep Center or call us directly to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified sleep medicine doctors. Mercy Sleep Center in Clive features 20 private and comfortable sleep study rooms to help make you feel at home during sleep evaluations. Sleep studies can also be conducted in Grinnell, Knoxville or Centerville.

How Sleep Study Works

Patients complete a questionnaire about their sleep problems and have a consultation with a sleep provider who focuses on your history and symptoms. During this appointment the sleep provider may recommend a sleep study. Depending on the results of the first study, a second sleep study may be required.

The sleep rooms at Mercy Sleep Center are private rooms with full bathrooms, queen-sized beds, recliners and cable TV. A variety of electrodes and monitoring devices are connected to the body during the test. While asleep, our registered technologists/respiratory therapists monitor brain wave activities, muscle activity, blood oxygen levels, airflow from the nose and mouth, and the chest and abdomen effort of breathing. After testing is complete, a technologist will perform an analysis of the recording and interpret the results. 

How sleepy are you? -- Epworth Sleepiness Scale

The questions below will help measure your general level of daytime sleepiness. Answers are rated on a reliable scale called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) – the same assessment tool used by sleep experts worldwide. Each item describes a routine daytime situation. Use the scale below to rate the likelihood that you would doze off or fall asleep (in contrast to just feeling tired) during that activity.

Rate each activity below on a 0-3 scale:  0-Would never sleep, 1=slight chance, 2=Moderate chance, 3=High chance

  • Sitting and reading
  • Watching television
  • Sitting inactive in a public place (movie theater or meeting)
  • Riding as a passenger in the car for an hour without a break
  • Lying down to rest in the afternoon
  • Sitting and talking to someone
  • Driving a car, stopped in traffic
  • Sitting quietly after lunch (when you’ve had no alcohol)

If your total score is 10 or higher, consider discussing these results with your physician or calling Mercy Sleep Center directly to schedule an appointment.

Common Disorders


Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep regularly, or awakening during sleep. Insomnia is a symptom that can be caused by a variety of conditions: psychological (chronic depression or temporary stress), environmental (noise) or physiological (temporary pain or chronic breathing disorder). An irregular sleeping schedule or drinking caffeinated beverages close to bedtime also can cause insomnia.

Insomnia Sleep Tips

Sleep is an integral part of life, but it's not always easy. Ninety-five percent of all Americans experience difficulty sleeping at some time in their lives. If you're having problems sleeping, or if you know someone who is, here are some helpful hints.

  • Don't oversleep – Sleep as much as you need to feel refreshed and healthy, but no more. You can't "catch up" on lost sleep.
  • Don't nap – If you've been having trouble going to sleep when you normally sleep, don't let yourself take naps—especially within a few hours of your regular bedtime.
  • Exercise – Regular exercise tends to be an effective aid for sleeping. Three to four weeks of regular physical exercise is required before you'll notice the positive benefits. Try to exercise in the late afternoon and avoid strenuous activity at least three hours before bedtime.
  • Snack – Hunger may disturb sleep; a light snack (less that 400 calories) may help you sleep. Milk, eggs, tuna, cottage cheese, soybeans, cashews, chicken and turkey make good bedtime snacks. These foods have a high concentration of L-tryptophan amino acid that helps you get to sleep. (Your last heavy meal should be at least two to four hours before sleep.)
  • Skip caffeine – Caffeine in the evening disturbs sleep. All coffee (even decaffeinated), most teas, chocolates and cola drinks contain caffeine.
  • Slow down – As the evening unfolds, you should unwind. If you have challenging, exacting work to complete, get it out of the way before you try to sleep.
  • Only one – A single glass of wine, beer or spirits has long been the basis of the traditional "nightcap." One drink may be the perfect relaxant for some people. Stop there, however. Too much alcohol could disturb your sleep.
  • Set your clock – Go to bed only when you are tired, but get up at the same time every day. Within a few weeks, your consistent morning wakings will result in a fairly regular bedtime.
  • Move around – If you've been laying in bed for 20 minutes and you're still not asleep, don't stay there getting upset. Get out of bed and do something that is relaxing or boring. Don't watch the clock. When you're too sleepy to stay awake any longer, return to bed.
  • Breathe deeply – Deep breathing can bring on drowsiness. Take a series of three slow, deep breaths exhaling fully after each other. Repeat until you are relaxed and asleep.
  • Sleeping pills – An occasional sleeping pill may be beneficial, but their regular use is ineffective for most people with insomnia.
  • Contact your physician – If you are still unable to fall asleep, can't stay asleep or sleep at night but constantly feel sleepy during the daytime, contact your physician. You may have a medical problem.

Sleep Apnea & Snoring

Snoring is not always just annoying. It may be the symptom of a more serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea.

If you have sleep apnea, you periodically stop breathing while sleeping. You may stop breathing just a few times or hundreds of times each night. You may not breathe for only a few seconds or as long as two minutes. When you resume breathing, there may be a loud snort or gasp, and you may briefly awaken.

Sleep apnea is usually associated with daytime sleepiness because your rest is regularly disturbed. High blood pressure and weight gain are often associated with this disorder. Sleep apnea is most common in men who have high blood pressure, are overweight and snore, but anyone can be affected by this sleeping problem.

If you feel as though you may have sleep apnea, please call Mercy Sleep Center at (515) 358-9600 to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified sleep medicine physicians to discuss your symptoms.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder characterized by leg discomfort during sleep, which is only relieved by frequent movements of the legs.

RLS occurs most often in middle-aged and older adults. It is worsened by stress. The cause is not known. RLS may occur more often in patients with peripheral neuropathy, chronic kidney disease, Parkinson's disease, pregnancy or iron deficiency.

RLS can result in a decreased quality of sleep (insomnia) with subsequent daytime sleepiness, anxiety or depression, and confusion or slowed thought processes from lack of sleep.

The disorder consists of sensations in the lower legs that make the person uncomfortable unless the legs are moved. The sensations usually occur shortly after going to bed but may also occur during the daytime.

There are several effective pharmaceutical treatments for restless legs. Your treatment is tailored to meet your specific needs.


Narcolepsy is the uncontrollable desire for sleep or sudden attacks of sleep. Daytime sleepiness is the primary symptom of this condition. Three more unusual symptoms also associated with narcolepsy are: cataplexy, sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations.

Other Disorders

Snoring, sleepwalking, night terrors, nightmares, bed wetting, tooth grinding and nocturnal head-banging also can disrupt your sleep. Among children, sleepwalking or bedwetting may be common, but in adults, these disorders may be symptoms of more serious sleep-related problems.

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1111 6th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50314

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