Before our team can find the right treatment for a patient, we need to find out what type of sleep disorder he or she might have. Here are the ways in which we classify sleep disorders:
- Insomnias are sleep disorders that make it difficult for you to fall asleep and stay asleep or cause you to wake up too early.
- Hypersomnias are sleep disorders that cause you to sleep excessively.
- Narcolepsy is one type of hypersomnia. It is a condition with two primary symptoms: excessive daytime sleepiness and periods of loss of voluntary muscle control. This condition is most obvious when a person becomes sleepy or falls asleep during everyday activities, such as having a conversation or eating a meal.
- Sleep apnea, a second type of hypersomnia, is a condition in which a person unknowingly stops breathing for several seconds many times each night. Apneic episodes cause the oxygen content of the blood to decrease and the carbon dioxide level to increase. This means the heart, brain and vital tissues are deprived of much-needed oxygenated blood. The person experiencing apnea is excessively sleepy during daytime hours because nighttime sleep has been interrupted many times by these episodes of stopped breathing. Loud snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea.
- Jet lag, also called work shift changes, is a sleep disorder that affects the sleep-wake schedule. This disorder is experienced when there are rapid time-zone changes, frequent work-shift changes or self-imposed irregular sleep schedules. Interruptions in sleep cycles cause difficulty in sleeping when a person wants, needs or expects to sleep. These interruptions result in a person awaking at inappropriate times (such as in the middle of the night) or experiencing excessive drowsiness during the day.
- Parasomnias are sleep disorders associated with a variety of sleep behaviors. The disorders cause undesirable physical symptoms that either appear in sleep or worsen with sleep. Such symptoms include night terrors, sleep walking, nighttime bed wetting, nightmares, teeth grinding or head banging.
How is a sleep disorder evaluated?
Patients are first seen in the neurology clinic at University Hospital. A polysomnogram is then scheduled as needed to help understand and identify a person's sleeping pattern.
Polysomnogram testing involves sleeping in our sleep laboratory where all aspects of sleep are carefully monitored. It is done in a comfortable private room with a technician in attendance throughout the night for assistance. The test is safe and painless.
Sensors are attached to the patient's head, chest, on either side of the eyes and under the chin. They record brain waves, eye movements, and heart and muscle activity. Other sensors are used to monitor breathing and blood oxygen levels. Nighttime recordings are often followed by a daytime test, such as the multiple sleep latency test, to determine whether the sleep disorder involves increased tendency to fall asleep.
What are the treatments available?
Some of the more common sleep disorders we diagnose and treat are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Restless legs syndrome
- REM Behavior sleep disorder
- other sleep disorders
Some treatment options we offer:
- CPAP/BIPAP machines
- Psychiatry assessment for Insomnia
- ENT/Dental referrals for sleep apnea/snoring
After a detailed clinical evaluation of the patient's sleep problem, the most appropriate treatment is determined.
To schedule an appointment with one of our sleep disorder specialists, please call (573) 882-1515.