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Common Sleep Disorders

Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is breathing that stops repeatedly during sleep. There are two main types of sleep apnea:

  1. Central Apnea - occurs when the sleeping brain fails to send commands to the breathing muscles. This type is uncommon, and is not usually accompanied by snoring.
  2. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) - occurs when obstruction of the throat repeatedly interrupts breathing.  It is characterized by loud snoring and periods of prolonged silence. This serious and potentially life-threatening sleep disorder may cause excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, diminished attentiveness, hypertension, or heart failure. It is estimated that over 20 million Americans suffer from OSA.

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include: Snoring, pauses in breathing during sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, and cardiovascular complications

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Trouble sleeping at night can leave you feeling sleepy during the day.

Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a rhythmic twitching/tingling of the legs and possibly arms upon retiring for sleep. This often causes an inability to fall asleep.

Periodic Limb Movements
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMC) is another disorder that affects the limbs. These are involuntary leg and arm movements during sleep that can fragment the sleep and cause the sufferer to be sleepy during the day.

The term "parasomnia" is used to classify a wide range of sleep disorders that disrupt sleep. These behaviors and experiences during sleep are generally infrequent or mild, however, they may occur often enough that medical intervention is necessary. These disorders include such behaviors and experiences as sleep walking (somnobulism), night terrors, sleep eating disorder, REM behavior disorder, head-banging, and bedwetting.

Narcolepsy can be defined as excessive drowsiness during the day and sudden onsets of sleep or "sleep attacks" at inappropriate times. Narcolepsy is an uncommon sleep disorder, but can greatly impact the lives of those affected by it. This is a treatable disorder and those with treatment can go on to live a "normal life".

Circadian Rhythm Disorders
Our circadian rhythm is our body's natural time clock. The circadian rhythm is influenced by body temperature, sunlight, and other time cues. Occasionally certain circumstances can cause your circadian rhythm to go out of sync. When this occurs, you may have difficulty falling asleep and waking at your regular times. A few examples of circadian rhythm disorders are jet lag and shift work.

The Penrose-St. Francis Sleep Disorders Center can address all of the above disorders. For more information, talk to your primary care physician or call us at 719-571-8868.

Not sure if you are at risk for a sleep disorder? Take the free Sleep Quiz.  

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