Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders afflicting approximately 20 million adults in the U.S. with an estimated 80% of cases going undiagnosed. Many people may be unaware that a sleep disorder is the underlying cause of their health problems, and others may be aware of their sleep disorder but uninformed of the severe consequences of untreated sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by frequent breaks or pauses in breathing during sleep. There are 3 forms of sleep apnea: Central sleep apnea (CSA) in which the pauses are due to the brain failing to signal the respiratory system to breathe; obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in which breathing is interrupted by a physical blockage in the upper airways, often caused by soft tissues of the throat and tongue collapsing into the airway; and complex/mixed sleep apnea which is a combination of central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.
The new year has begun and that means it's time to pull out your resolutions. Do you have any new resolutions on your list or are you making the same resolutions that you seem to keep failing at year after year. The most common resolutions are healthy eating, exercising more, and stopping smoking. Most people find that their resolutions fall by the wayside within a few weeks to months. Have you ever wondered why so many people fail at accomplishing worthwhile goals? The answer is simple: sleep. When you are sleep deprived or have poor sleep you are less likely to accomplish your goals because you are tired. This year, instead of making the same old resolutions again, try making a goal for better sleep. A good night’s rest is the basis for making and keeping resolutions for a healthy lifestyle. The Importance of Sleep:
More and more recent evidence shows the pervasive influence the circadian timing of our biological processes naturally occurring over a 24-hour cycle has in almost all of our physiologic functions. Consequently, along with prominent wake and sleep disruptions, circadian rhythm sleep disorders are linked with mood disturbances, cognitive impairment and increased risk of cardiometabolic disorders.
If you have ever been told by friends or a bed partner that you talk or scream in your sleep, thrash around, kick your legs about, or sleepwalk, then you may have a sleep disorder called a parasomnia. Other outwardly visible symptoms and signs of parasomnia can include being confused when waking—for example, saying things that don’t make sense. Other examples include night terrors (common in children), sleep paralysis, sleepwalking, sleep eating, or feeling like you’re being awakened by loud noises that no one else can hear.
Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or trouble getting restful, uninterrupted sleep. It’s the most common sleep disorder in the United States, with short-term insomnia affecting nearly 1 in 3 adults and long-term, chronic insomnia affecting 1 in 10 adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control, up to 70 million Americans experience insomnia to some degree. This frustrating sleep disorder can also disrupt the normal sleep of children and teens. Do you have insomnia? If you’re unhappy with the quality or duration of your sleep, you may well be among the numbers cited above. However, don’t panic. It’s important to note that there are multiple forms of insomnia, and this sleep disorder may be temporary or chronic.
Narcolepsy is a relatively rare sleep disorder, affecting an estimated 200,000 Americans. However, researchers believe many more people with this sometimes debilitating sleep disorder may be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, due to this condition being difficult to recognize based on symptoms alone. Many other sleep disorders, physical illnesses, drug interaction side effects and even mental illnesses can present with some of the same symptoms as narcolepsy, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, muscle weakness, collapse, hallucinations and sleep paralysis.
How do sleep medicine physicians define narcolepsy? First, it’s important to note that narcolepsy is one of the less commonly seen sleep disorders. Many people who have excessive daytime sleepiness—who yawn a lot, fall asleep very easily or take unwanted naps during the day—may think they may be narcoleptic, but they’re probably mistaken. It’s far more likely they’re experiencing the symptoms of the more common sleep disorders of sleep apnea or insomnia—disorders that affect millions of Americans.
Around bedtime, do you ever find yourself fighting the distracting and overpowering urge to move your legs or feet to get relief from itching, burning, or a creepy-crawly feeling? Do you have trouble getting comfortable in bed and find it impossible to get into the right position to drift off to sleep? Perhaps your legs burn and tickle—not on the skin, but deeper inside.
“I’m tired and sleepy every day,” said the exhausted patient. No matter how early she went to bed or how late she slept, she still felt extremely tired and fatigued. She lacked the energy and mental clarity to do the things she loved to do. Sometimes she’d take naps at work, or worry about falling asleep behind the wheel driving home or picking up her kids from school. After weeks or months of this excessive fatigue, she went to see a sleep medicine specialist to solve the mystery once and for all: why was she so tired all the time?