You may have a sleep disorder and not know it. If you have any concerns, you can call The NeuroMedical Center Clinic to set up an evaluation with one of our neurologists who will determine if a sleep test would be beneficial to you. To schedule an appointment call (225) 768-2050
Is a disorder of breathing that occurs during sleep. Usually accompanied by snoring and brief periods in which breathing stops. Often, patients with sleep apnea wake up in the morning not feeling refreshed and have trouble staying awake during the day. Other associated symptoms include headaches, waking up with the sensation of choking at night or gasping for air, trouble staying asleep or frequent trips to the bathroom at night. Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by: excess tissue in the airway, large tonsils, large tongue or obstruction in the nasal passages. This is a potentially life threatening situation that may require immediate medical attention. A sleep test is usually done to diagnose sleep apnea. Treatment is individualized according to the doctor treating you. You should see a specialist who is trained to read the sleep tests and who can also formulate a treatment plan that is best designed to assist you
Restless Leg Syndrome
Is a discomfort of the legs, which is relieved by moving or stimulating the legs. Patients report the sensation feels like a crawling, tingling or prickling sensation that occurs mostly with riding in a car, watching TV, reading, inactivity or lying in bed trying to fall asleep. Symptoms decrease with getting up and walking, taking a shower, or rubbing the legs. A variation to restless legs is PLMS (Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep). This is characterized by leg movements or jerking every 20-40 seconds during sleep. This disrupts sleep and can cause excessive daytime sleepiness.
Insomnia is a complaint, not a disorder. There are many types of insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep or waking up too early. A person needs enough sleep at night to feel alert during the day (usually 7-9 hours). Many things can cause insomnia, so it is important to see a doctor and treat the cause. Insomnia is characterized as:
- Transient ( lasts a few nights)
- Short term ( 2-4 weeks of poor sleep) or
- Chronic ( lasts a month or longer).
Associated symptoms include: daytime sleepiness, anxiety, trouble concentrating, impaired memory and irritability. Transient or short-term insomnia may not require treatment. Usually the person’s biological clock will get back to normal on its own. Treatment for chronic insomnia involves diagnosing and treating the underlying medical condition and identifying and reducing behaviors that cause insomnia. Treatment should be individualized by the specialist treating you.
Is a chronic disorder that affects the brain at the area where regulation of sleep and wakefulness takes place. Patients with narcolepsy can fall asleep while talking, driving or working. The sleep episodes can last from 30 seconds to over 30 minutes. There is no cure for Narcolepsy; symptoms can be controlled with medication or behavioral management. If not treated it can cause social, psychological or financial difficulties that could be devastating. Early diagnosis and treatment is important.
The four classic symptoms are:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Cataplexy (sudden brief episodes of muscle weakness or paralysis brought on by strong emotions)
- Hypnagonic hallucinations( vivid dreamlike images) or
- Disturbed nighttime sleep ( tossing and turning in bed, leg jerks and frequently waking up at night). Treatment should be individualized by the specialist you see.
This is ambulation that occurs during sleep. Patients are typically difficult to arouse during the episode and have amnesia afterwards of the episode. When severe, it could be associated with physical injury. If the sleepwalker exits the house or it occurs frequently, seek professional help immediately. There have been tragedies associated with sleep walking; do not wait to seek medical help.
This is a sudden episode of intense terror during sleep. Patients have partial or total amnesia of the events. Characterized by a sudden arousal from sleep by a piercing scream or cry and a feeling of intense fear. When severe, it can cause physical injury. If you are concerned, seek professional help immediately.
Is a disorder of clenching or grinding of the teeth during sleep. It can cause abnormal wear of the teeth or jaw muscle discomfort. Some patients have rare episodes that are mild. If you suffer from nightly episodes, associated with dental injury, TMJ or physical injury, seek professional help immediately.
Is a disorder characterized by excessive sleepiness. It is a period of deep or prolonged major sleep. Onset is gradual, so it is not noticed initially. If you suspect you have this, you need to see a specialist and have a sleep test performed.
Is a condition that is running rampant. Mostly caused by peoples fast paced lifestyle, but can sometimes be caused by a sleep disorder. It causes patients to not get the sleep they need.
Tips for Healthy Sleep
- Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Stay away from stimulants such as caffeine especially in the evening hours.
- Avoid watching TV in the bed, reading in the bed or using lap top computers in the bed. The bed should be used for sleeping only.
- Avoid bright lights in the house before bedtime. Using dimmer switches could be helpful.
- Don’t stress about not getting enough sleep, it will only make it worse.
- Do not exercise 3 hours prior to bedtime.
- Don’t go to bed hungry; eat a light snack prior to bedtime.
- Bedtime routines are helpful for good sleep.
- Avoid looking at the clock if you wake up at night.
- If you haven’t fallen asleep after 30 minutes, get up and do something boring in dim light until you are sleepy.
- Keep your room a comfortable temperature.
- If you have a sleeping partner, ask them if they notice any snoring, episodes of not breathing or leg movements.