Common Sleep Disorders
Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep. The airway repeatedly becomes blocked, limiting the amount of air that reaches your lungs. This will cause you to struggle to breathe, and as a result, you may snore loudly or make choking noises. As your brain and body become oxygen deprived, you may wake up. This may happen a few times a night or several hundred times, depending on the severity.
The lack of oxygen your body receives can have negative long-term consequences for your health, which may include:
High blood pressure
Pre-diabetes and diabetes
Periodic Limb Movements are episodes of simple, repetitive muscle movements. You are unable to control them. They usually do not keep you from falling asleep, although, they severely disrupt your sleep during the night. They do not involve a change in body position, stretching a muscle or a cramp. Instead, the movements tend to involve the tightening or flexing of a muscle. They occur most often in the lower legs. An episode will normally last from a few minutes to an hour. Within that time, movements tend to occur every 20 to 40 seconds. They may affect only one of the legs. More often, they will affect both legs.
Narcolepsy is characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness, and in severe cases, sudden attacks of sleep. This sleepiness is difficult to prevent. After a brief nap, you may feel alert, but the sleepiness will return after an hour or two. It can be a very dangerous disorder because the excessive sleepiness may cause you to fall asleep during activities such as walking, eating or driving.
Insomnia occurs when you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. The causes, symptoms and severity of insomnia vary from person to person. Insomnia may include: difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep throughout the night or waking up too early in the morning.
Insomnia may have serious impacts on your life. You may experience:
Problems with attention, concentration or memory (cognitive impairment)
Poor performance at school or work
Moodiness or irritability
Impulsiveness or aggression
Lack of energy or motivation
Errors or accidents
Concern or frustration about your sleep
Healthy Sleep Habits
Quality sleep promotes physical health and mental well-being. It boosts performance and reduces safety risks. Adults should be getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night. These tips will help you to establish a healthy sleep routine:
Get up at the same time every day, even on the weekend or during vacations.
Avoid taking naps if possible. Limit napping time to less than 1 hour. Never take a nap after 3 p.m.
Have a regular schedule for meals, medications, chores and other activities. This will help your inner body clock run smoothly.
Find rituals that help you relax each night before bed. This can include things like a warm bath, light snack or a few minutes of reading.
If you find yourself always worrying at bedtime, try to designate a specific time during the day to write down your worries and get these feelings out of your system.
Try to have a regular sleep schedule, but don’t go to bed until you are sleepy.
If you are unable to fall or stay asleep within 20 minutes, get up. Try a quiet activity, and do not return to bed until you feel tired.
Have a good sleeping environment. Keep your bedroom dark. You may have put up blackout curtains or use an eye mask. Try to keep your bedroom comfortable. Most people prefer a bedroom around 68 degrees F, but lower or raise the temperature as you feel necessary.
Exercising during the time you are awake can help you fall asleep better.
If you’re traveling, try to start shifting your schedule before you leave for the new time zone. Once in the new time zone, don’t nap and try to sleep on the new schedule.
Thibodaux Regional Medical Center’s Sleep Disorders Center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The state-of-the-art facility offers four hotel-like bedrooms, with private bathrooms for patient comfort. The Center features a relaxing environment so that patients may unwind as they would at home.
The Sleep Disorders Center’s staff is specially trained to provide education, testing and treatment planning for patients with sleep problems. The team is led by a medical doctor who is certified by the American Board of Sleep Medicine and board-certified in Pulmonology and Internal Medicine. The team is also supported by registered polysomnographers (sleep technologists) and respiratory therapists.