Published on April 7, 2020
People spend about one-third of their lives sleeping, but the exact reasons why individuals sleep are still a mystery.
“We do know that getting a good night’s sleep is important for our nervous system, our immune system, our endocrine system and our skeletal and muscular systems,” said Hala Samman, MD, a sleep medicine physician and neurologist who joined the Phelps Health Medical Group in December 2019.
“We also know that not getting enough sleep leads to an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, dementia and depression,” Dr. Samman said.
The importance of sleep to people’s overall health and well-being is what led Dr. Samman to pursue a career in healthcare.
“I have wanted to become a doctor since I was in elementary school,” said Dr. Samman. As a child, she made makeshift hospitals out of shoeboxes for injured bugs around her neighborhood.
“I couldn’t stand to even see bugs suffer, so naturally I decided my true calling was to be in a profession dedicated to caring for others,” she said.
After receiving her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine, Dr. Samman completed residency training in neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. In addition, she completed a sleep medicine fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Sleep medicine is a specialty devoted to the diagnosis and therapy of sleep disturbances and disorders.
“What I love about my field is that fixing people’s underlying sleep problem can help them feel so much better, and then they can go on to lead happier, healthier lives,” Dr. Samman said. “I also love interacting with people on a day-today basis.”
As a sleep medicine specialist, Dr. Samman has special interests in and can help patients with the following conditions:
- Sleep apnea
- Insomnia or difficulty falling and staying asleep
- Restless leg syndrome
- Narcolepsy (excessive, uncontrollable daytime sleepiness)
- Hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness)
- Parasomnias (sleepwalking, sleep talking, sleep eating)
- REM (rapid eye movement) sleep behavior disorder
- Other general sleep disorders
Dr. Samman works closely with the Phelps Health Sleep Center, with locations in Rolla and Waynesville, MO.
Dr. Samman and staff at the Sleep Center can conduct diagnostic tests, including baseline sleep studies (polysomnography) and PAP (positive airway pressure) titration sleep studies, which help determine the type of device and level of air pressure a person needs.
Also offered at the Sleep Center are nap tests, or multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT), which help determine how quickly a person can fall asleep, as well as maintenance of wakefulness tests (MWT), which measure someone’s ability to stay awake and alert during the day.
Sleep studies, which require a physician referral, are conducted Mondays through Fridays at the Phelps Health Sleep Center.
Dr. Samman and the Phelps Health Sleep Center can also work with patients to create individualized treatment plans, which may include one or more of the following:
- CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure)
- BiPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure)
- ASV (Adaptive servo-ventilation)
- Various medications
- Nighttime oxygen
Taking care of a person’s sleep health is an important part of maintaining good general health, Dr. Samman said.
“There is so much we can do from a sleep medicine standpoint to help prevent and/or minimize the risk for many diseases,” she said.
Getting enough sleep can improve brain function and memory as well as maintain strong and healthy muscles and bones.
Get to Know Hala Samman, MD
- Dr. Hala Samman grew up in Ohio.
- Her hobbies include playing tennis, yoga and paddle boarding.