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Other Sleep Disorders

Sleep health is integral to total health and quality of life, while poor sleep breaks down your body and mind. There are many ailments that can diminish sleep. We diagnose and effectively treat all sleep disorders, including those in children.

  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

    It's not normal to feel tired during the day or doze off while inactive, such as while watching TV or in a meeting). That feeling should also not be attributed to stress or working hard. Similarly, a long time in bed before going to sleep, frequent awakenings at night, restless sleep, early awakening in the morning, or difficulty getting up and getting out of bed all indicate the presence and effects of a sleep disorder. Daytime sleepiness is characterized by persistent sleepiness, and often a general lack of energy, even after apparently adequate nighttime sleep.

    Daytime sleepiness exacts a significant toll on individuals and on society. On the individual level, tiredness or sleepiness negatively impacts learning. It also leads to problems with memory, attention and concentration, mood, relationships, safe driving or machine operation, and executive functioning. On the societal level, the negative impacts of daytime sleepiness are also significant. In a recent study of professional truck drivers, 40% of long-haul drivers reported difficulties staying alert during at least 20% of their drives, and 20% admitted to dozing off at least twice while driving. Each year, in the United States, >50 000 motor vehicle accidents are attributed to driving while sleepy.

  • Sleep-Wake Cycle (Circadian Rhythm) Disorders

    Sleep-wake cycle disorders are dysfunctions of the brain's internal clock, located in the supraopticchiasma, that regulates when we go to sleep and when we wake up. This cycle is controlled by light and darkness (day and night), regulation of the melatonin, and the rhythm of our daily activities.

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    The most common rhythm disorder is sleep phase delay. Sleep phase delay is a situation in which the individual has great difficulty going to sleep at night and is correspondingly unable to wake up on time in the morning typically resulting in chronic tardiness. This is especially common in teenagers.

    Once the correct diagnosis is made, treatment methods including light therapy, chronotherapy, and use of melatonin can be employed to remedy the problem. Sleep-wake cycle disorders include work shift adjustment problems and jet lag.

  • Idiopathic Hypersomnia

    Patients with idiopathic hypersomnia (or IHS) report long hours of sleep at night without waking up refreshed in the morning. In contrast to patients with narcolepsy, naps are unrefreshing and at times end with headache and occasional confusion and disorientation. In addition, idiopathic hypersomnia does not include sleep attacks or loss of muscle control. Those who suffer from hypersomnia have recurring episodes of daytime sleepiness that is not caused by lack of or interrupted sleep at night.

  • Parasomnia

    Parasomnias are a category of sleep disorders that consist of abnormal behavior during sleep. Some examples include, sleepwalking, night terrors (unconscious screaming and exhibition of fear), aggressive behavior (unconscious fear, defending, or aggression and attacking), sleep talking, confusion and disorientation associated with sleep. Parasomnias also include nightmares, nocturnal eating disorder, and other sleep-related eating disorders (uncontrollable or unconscious eating at night), as well as movement disorders in sleep like shaking, twitching, and teeth grinding.

  • Narcolepsy

    Narcolepsy, or "sleep attacks," is a neurological disorder that results in an inability of the brain to provide and maintain adequate and sustained wakefulness during the day., and to regulate sleep-wake cycles normally. Narcolepsy is often associated with poor or fragmented sleep at night. Patients with narcolepsy, in addition to sleepiness, may experience insomnia.

    In some patients, sudden sleep attacks may happen. A person with narcolepsy is likely to become drowsy or fall asleep or just be very tired throughout the day, often at inappropriate times and places. Daytime naps may occur with little warning and may be physically irresistible. These naps can occur several times a day. People with narcolepsy can also experience intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime. These sudden sleep attacks may occur during any type of activity at any time of the day. Another feature of narcolepsy is the intrusion of REM sleep during the daytime - hence the term "sleep attack". Patients with narcolepsy generally experience REM sleep within 5 minutes, while the standard time for most people is an hour or more.

    Many patients have partial, rather than full, manifestations of the disorder. Often, patients with narcolepsy experience an improvement of their sleepiness, albeit temporary, after a brief nap.

  • Restless Leg Syndrome

    Restless leg syndrome is an unpleasant sensation in the leg that compels a person to move his or her legs while immobile, such as in bed, or as a passenger on an airplane, or even sitting at a desk. Alleviating the unpleasant sensation can be done by simply walking around, rubbing the legs, turning or twisting. However, as soon as the movement stops the sensation returns. The sensation is sometimes described as an annoying, crawling feeling under the skin.

    A very similar condition called periodic leg movement in sleep (PLMS) is described as a twitching, jumping, or jerking of the limbs during sleep. Both RLS and PLSM may be the reason behind various types of insomnia, poor sleep, or daytime tiredness.

    Restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movements in sleep are caused by a dysfunction of peripheral nerves, called neuropathy, which can be related to a herniated disc, diabetes, kidney dysfunction, abnormal levels of iron in the blood, or decreased dopamine levels. Once properly diagnosed, both RLS and PLMS are treatable by correcting the underlying chemical imbalances.