The first step toward recovery is identifying the type of sleep disorder. The Sleep Disorders Center treats many different types of sleep disorders, usually falling into one of the following major categories:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
A disorder that causes you to stop breathing repeatedly during your sleep. These pauses in breathing may occur 30 times or more per hour. In many cases, this condition can be evaluated and treated with remarkable results.
The following are common OSA signs and symptoms:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loud or disruptive snoring
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Grogginess and morning headaches
- Frequent urination at night
- Depression and irritability
If untreated, OSA may increase risk of the following:
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeats
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Work-related or driving accidents
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
A movement disorder in which there is an urge or need to move the legs to stop unpleasant sensations. RLS often occurs in middle-aged and older adults. The disorder makes you uncomfortable unless you move your legs. It can result in a decreased quality of sleep. Lifestyle changes and medication may reduce the symptoms of RLS.
A sleep disorder that leads to excessive sleepiness, frequent daytime sleep attacks and muscle weakness triggered by sudden emotional reactions like laughter or fear. Narcolepsy is a nervous system disorder and is believed to be caused by reduced amounts of protein called hypocretin. Some narcolepsy patients experience vivid dream-like scenes or paralysis upon falling asleep or awakening. This condition can be significantly improved with education and medication. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Periods of extreme drowsiness
- Dream-like hallucinations
- Sleep paralysis – not being able to move when you first wake up
- Cataplexy – sudden loss of muscle tone while awake; results in inability to move
A persistent inability to initiate or maintain sleep. Insomnia is associated with daytime fatigue and sleepiness, and most of its causes can be diagnosed and treated effectively.
Sleeping too much or at inappropriate times. Sleep apnea and narcolepsy are the chief causes of hypersomnia.
Problems such as nightmares, sleepwalking, sleep talking, abnormal movements, chest pain and bedwetting that occur only during sleep or are brought about by sleep. These are common in children and may worsen in adolescents and adults.
Disorders of the Sleep/Wake Schedule
Occurs when the opportunity to sleep does not coincide with the body's ability to stay awake and to sleep. This problem often occurs with patients who work rotating or shift schedules, suffer from jet lag, or have insufficient sleep syndrome. This disorder can become progressive and chronic.
An ongoing feeling of tiredness, malaise, sleepiness, boredom or depression. Chronic fatigue has various causes but can be associated with a sleep disorder.