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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Wake up to how tired you are

October 23. 2016 7:49PM
Manager Bonnie McGuire, left, and clinical coordinator David Pinsonneault are pictured at Catholic Medical Center's New England Sleep Center at the Holiday Inn-Manchester Airport. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

I think being tired may be our nation’s number-one pastime. Go ahead and ask the person nearest to you whether they are tired. If they’re older than 12, the answer will be “yes.”

That’s why I was so drawn to a notice in Catholic Medical Center’s recent “Healthy Living News” for a Community Sleep Wellness Fair to be held at CMC’s New England Sleep Center at the Holiday Inn-Manchester Airport on Saturday.

Offering health care inside a hotel was a foreign concept to me. Shouldn’t we only see doctors in clinical, antiseptic spaces?

New England Sleep Center Manager Bonnie McGuire said there is a trend in the sleep wellness industry to move sleep centers into hotels. It’s obviously easier to replicate a normal night’s sleep in a quiet, comfortable hotel than in a busy hospital. At CMC, the move was also by necessity.

“The hospital was busting at the seams,” McGuire said. And there were only two bathrooms for the program’s six nightly patients. “Now they all have their own bathroom,” she said. “It’s very private.”

The New England Sleep Center opened in 2000, and moved to the Holiday Inn on Brown Avenue in April 2015. The center has its own entrance and parking spots near the back of the building. I recently toured the center with McGuire and clinical coordinator David Pinsonneault. The pair has worked together at the center for almost as long as it has been open, and they are clearly proud and passionate about their work.

The six standard hotel rooms have double beds, private baths and dressing areas. The only medical-looking device is an array of wires that get attached to a patient’s head and face with small electrodes.

“That’s how we tell if they’re sleeping or awake. We’re like Santa Claus,” McGuire said. There’s also a small, wall-mounted camera to observe the sleepers.

Patients usually come in at 8 or 9 p.m. and are woken up to leave around 6 a.m. — but not before receiving a voucher for breakfast at the Airport Diner at the other end of the hotel. Occasionally a patient will request room service.

“We really bend over backward to make them comfortable,” McGuire said.

McGuire said the center has definitely seen an uptick of patients who are now monitoring their own sleep with wearable devices such as Fitbits. But most of the sleep center’s patients are seeking help for sleep apnea.

“It’s usually the spouse that encourages them to come,” McGuire said, because they see them stop breathing throughout the night. Patients are as young as 13 years old.

I guess I will have to wait for my husband to tell me when my snoring has reached the apnea level. McGuire said there is no medical cure for my current cause of sleeplessness — three helpless children who can’t make it through the night without violently shaking me awake because they’re thirsty.

But this Saturday’s Community Sleep Wellness Fair could help my whole family get a better night’s rest. In addition to talking about common sleep disorders, the staff will educate attendees on good “sleep hygiene” — avoiding caffeine, television, and other bright screens before bed.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be light refreshments, sleep giveaways and raffle prizes.

Film fest finale

The New Hampshire High School Short Film Festival is making its final stop of its 2016 tour at the Palace Theatre this Wednesday. The program, launched by the New Hampshire Film and Television Office in 2008, fosters interest in filmmaking, encouraging media arts education in schools and rewarding future members of the industry for their craft.

All 27 student-produced short films selected for the 2016 festival will be showcased starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5. New Hampshire high school students or faculty members can also find out more about how their high school can get involved in the 2017 competition, which begins March 1.

Visit for more information about the screening.

NH365.ORG Event of the Week

We all need more live music in our life, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Amoskeag Studios continues to bring small, intimate, affordable shows to its 250 Commercial St. mill space. This Friday at 8 p.m., Open Land Trio will visit the studio. The group features Boston-based acoustic double-neck guitar player Ian Ethan Case, Edmar Colon on tenor sax, soprano sax, and flute, and Jharis Yokley on drums, keyboard, and electronic percussion. Stephanie Case provides live sound design, looping and electronics.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Students receive a discount. A link to purchase tickets can be found at

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