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Common Sleep Disorders

There are over 84 classified sleep disorders. Some are discreet and may go undetected, while others can be so severe that they disturb not only the sleeper, but also those around them. Sleep disorders require medical attention. If you think that you or a loved one may have a sleep problem, don’t hesitate to seek appropriate help.

The following sleep disorders are some of the most common ones seen by a sleep disorders specialist in a comprehensive sleep center setting.

Sleep apnea
This disorder is characterized by a cessation of breathing during sleep. Such episodes can happen hundreds of times at night, often resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness. A major indicator of sleep apnea is nightly snoring. Sleep apnea can cause numerous short-term problems, including:

  • fatigue
  • memory loss
  • irritability
  • impaired performance

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential. If left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to more severe problems among others:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart failure
  • stroke
  • diabetes

This disorder is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, despite the amount of sleep attained the previous night. Narcoleptics may have extreme difficulty staying awake, often falling asleep while at work, school, home, and even while driving. They may also experience symptoms such as:

  • sleep paralysis: a feeling of being paralyzed upon waking
  • hallucinations: hearing or seeing things when falling asleep or upon awakening
  • cataplexy: muscle weakness or loss of muscle tone associated with strong emotions such as anger or laughter

Periodic Limb Movements Disorder & Restless Legs Syndrome
Periodic Limb Movements Disorder is characterized by “jerking” movements during sleep which may awaken a person or their partner many times at night. Restless Legs Syndrome patients often report having "creeping" or "crawling" sensations in their limbs, prior to falling asleep.Often these symptoms are relieved with walking or physical activity. Such patients may awake to a messy bed, as sheets are tossed aside, and bed partners complain that the patients "run a marathon" in their sleep.

Gallup polls show that, at any given time, more than 49% of the population suffers from some type of insomnia. Common symptoms include difficulty getting to sleep or problems staying asleep. Insomnia can be a symptom of another problem, ranging from medical, psychiatric, and drug-related problems, to behavioral or internal rhythm-related unbalances. It is important to determine whether one or more conditions are leading to the insomnia before treatment can be initiated.

sleep disorders, sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, narcolepsy


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