Sleep medicine

Sleep-related breathing disorders

While sleeping, we are particularly vulnerable to breathing disturbances. This can result in a restless and fragmented sleep. Those affected suffer from decreased performance and poor concentration. Sleep-related breathing disorders not only affect quality of life, but can also shorten life expectancy.

The sleep clinic at the Department of Pulmonology examines and treats individuals suffering from snoring, sleep-related breathing disorders or chronic respiratory insufficiency. A modern sleep laboratory and a ventilation ward (intermediate care unit) are available on site.

Other sleep disorders

Other medical conditions may be masked by restless sleep. Among many others, these include restless legs syndrome (RLS), narcolepsy (a disorder associated with unexpected episodes of falling asleep) and cataplexy (sudden muscle weakness). Depression can also cause insomnia.

Sleep studies (polysomnography)

During a polysomnography test in a sleep laboratory or an ambulatory sleep study, various parameters are measured by sensors during the night and can provide information about possible causes of the sleep disorder. Sleep disorders can therefore be identified and the effectiveness of treatment assessed.
Daytime studies in the sleep laboratory serve to objectively record the tendency to fall asleep. These tests are carried out, in particular, among professional drivers in cooperation with the Institution of Forensic Medicine or the road traffic authorities.

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Depending on the results of polysomnography, therapy is started after a detailed consultation with one of the sleep laboratory doctors. The appropriate therapy is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Several treatment options are available if sleep apnea or hypoventilation (overly shallow breathing) are found to be the cause of the sleep disorder. A nocturnal mask ventilation is often the most effective treatment.


Several departments have joined together to form a Center for Sleep Medicine. This allows us to offer our patients the best possible treatment. Once a week, we hold an interdisciplinary discussion on sleep disorders and analyze each individual case.

A therapeutic approach is developed by various specialists from pulmonology, neurology and psychiatry based on the available information.

We also collaborate closely with the Swiss Lung League (Schweizer Lungenliga), especially the Zurich section (Lunge Zürich), which provides comprehensive support for patients with sleep apnea.

Consultation Sleep Medicine
Lunge Zürich
Current research on obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

Last update: 11.07.2019 | Person responsible:
Professor Malcolm Kohler, MD

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