Sleep Disorders Signs & Symptoms
There are many more sleep disorders than can be described here. Those listed below represent some of the more common disorders.
Sleep apnea is a serious, potentially life threatening breathing disorder estimated to affect six million adult Americans. Soft tissue blocks the airway and obstructs the flow of air. Some studies indicated that it is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Apnea is experienced as a lack of airflow throughout the night. This leads to frequent brief arousals.
These signs and symptoms characterize sleep apnea:
- Brief interruptions of airflow during the night
- Repetitive arousals, often unnoticed during sleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Morning headache
- Depression, irritability and sexual dysfunction
Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that affects the region of the central nervous system that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Symptoms of narcolepsy generally appear in the second decade of life and are estimated to affect 200,000 Americans.
These signs and symptoms characterize narcolepsy:
- Sudden, uncontrollable episodes of sleep at inappropriate times such as while driving, talking or having dinner.
- Sudden loss of muscle tone such as limpness at the neck or knees, the inability to speak clearly or complete body collapse.
- Vivid, often unpleasant, dream-like experiences that occur while dozing or falling asleep.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Performance of routine tasks without memory of such action.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Restless Leg Syndrome is marked by uncontrollable leg sensations that occur continually while the body is at rest. RLS is the basic cause of sleep deprivation for up to four million adult Americans.
The following signs and symptoms characterize RLS:
- The need to move the legs, accompanied by uncontrollable sensations in the foot, calf or upper legs. The sensation is usually described as a creeping or crawling feeling.
- A worsening of discomfort when lying down, especially when trying to fall asleep.
- The need to relieve the discomfort by stretching, bending or rubbing the legs or by getting out of bed and pacing the floor.
- Daytime sleepiness.
Snoring is caused by vibration of the soft tissue of the airway. In its severe form, it can be associated with a condition known as Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome. Sleep becomes disrupted and daytime sleepiness increases.
Insomnia is the feeling that you do not get enough sleep or that the sleep that you do get is less than satisfying. Some contributing factors are stress, the environment and illness.
For more information on sleep disorders or to make an appointment for a sleep study call 480-323-3200.