Sleep Services For Pilots

To learn more about this service or to make an appointment, call us at (832) 355-3348



Air traffic controllers and pilots are key in providing a safe takeoff and landing. Aviation is a 24/7 industry and does not make it easy for pilots, air traffic controllers, and mechanics to be alert on the job. When an airliner crashes, it takes the lives of many. Adults need about 8 hours of sleep to function well.

Health Effects from Sleep Deprivation

  • Heart attack
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Performance Effects from Sleep Deprivation

  • Decreased concentration/lack of focus
  • Longer reaction time/poor coordination
  • Increased distractibility/restlessness
  • Increased fatigue/decreased energy
  • Poor decision-making /increased errors
  • Forgetfulness/ decreased vigilance

Good Sleep Habits

Things to Avoid Things To Include
Alcohol (especially before bedtime) Establish a regular sleep schedule both sleep time and wake time
Nicotine Exercise 3 hours before bedtime (within your doctor's guidelines)
Caffeine, especially 8 hrs before bedtime Eat a healthy diet (within your doctor's guidelines)
Heavy and/or spicy meals before bedtime Eat a light snack before bedtime
Watching the clock (turn the clock away from your visual) Create a comfortable, cool, dark sleep environment
Going to bed when you are not sleepy Establish relaxing habits at bedtime such as reading and meditation
Lingering in bed sleepless for more than 15 minutes When sleepless leave your bed and do something relaxing
TV, long engaging reading or computer during the night Use your bed for sex and sleep only

Shift Work Tips

  • Adjust your sleep time slowly before returning to the night shift
  • Sleep just before the night shift begins

Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that goes undiagnosed and compounds air safety. Screening for sleep apnea can help identify those at risk and be the difference between life and death. A person with sleep apnea stops breathing during sleep and reduces the quality and quantity of his or her sleep. Additionally, it drops the blood oxygen level and triggers the heart to work harder. This increases both medical health and safety issues. Diagnosing sleep apnea requires a sleep study. Effective treatment of sleep apnea dramatically improves the ones well-being. Once identified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires a current report from the physician treating and documentation proving the symptom of sleepiness is resolved and compliance with treatment. A maintenance wakefulness test (MWT) may be required.

Types of Sleep Testing

  • Diagnostic sleep study-diagnoses sleep apnea
  • Split night sleep study-diagnosing sleep apnea and treating with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) if guidelines are met
  • CPAP Titration-determines the level treatment needed for prescribing CPAP
  • Multiple sleep latency testing (MSLT)-assesses the speed of falling asleep and entering deep sleep rapid eye movement (REM)
  • Maintenance wakefulness testing (MWT)-accesses the ability of an individual to remain awake (commercial drivers and FAA licenses)

CPAP Therapy for the Treatment of Sleep Apnea
Continuous positive airway pressure CPAP therapy treatment delivers fresh, filtered air and opens and keeps the airway open. There are a variety of different styles of therapy, types of machines, and various masks to choose from. Finding the right combination can make for a good night’s sleep and a healthier you. St. Luke’s offers complementary services to help patients struggling with their therapy to achieve compliance with their treatment.

Complementary CPAP Desensitization Programs

  • Individualized education on sleep disordered breathing, CPAP treatment, equipment strategies and new technologies.
  • Mask re-fit which allows you to try on various masks to select a more comfortable mask (mask choice faxed to your doctor)
  • Relaxation and behavioral strategies to help you adjust and overcome comfort issues in wearing CPAP.