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Sleep is as essential to us as food, air and water. Good sleep each night increases our ability to concentrate, strengthens our immune system, and decreases our risk of being killed in accidents. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to have a good nights sleep. Sleep disorders are among the most common clinical problems encountered in all of medicine. Primary sleep disorders are chronic disturbances in the quantity or quality of sleep that interfere with a person's ability to function normally. Sleep disorders are classified into two kinds. Dyssomnias are primary sleep disorders in which the patient suffers from changes in the amount, restfulness, and timing of sleep. Some examples of ailments in this category are primary insomnia, hypersomnia, narcolepsy, breathing-related sleep disorder and circadian rhythm sleep disorder. Parasomnias, which is the second category of sleep disorders, include those in which people experience physical events while they are sleeping. They are typically characterized by abnormal behavior in association with sleep, sleep stages or sleep-wake transitions. Disorders in this category include nightmare disorders, sleep terror disorders, sleepwalking disorders and parasomnia NOS. Hypersomnia is a condition marked by excessive sleepiness during normal waking hours. The patient has either lengthy episodes of daytime sleep or episodes of daytime sleep on a daily basis even though he or she is sleeping normally at night. People who have hypersomnia can fall asleep at any time: for instance, at work or while they are driving. An adult is considered to have hypersomnia if he or she sleeps for more than 10 hours a day on a regular basis In some cases, patients with primary hypersomnia have difficulty waking up in the morning and may appear confused or angry. This condition is sometimes called sleep drunkenness and is more common in males. The number of people with primary hypersomnia is unknown, although 5-10% of patients in sleep disorder clinics have the disorder. Primary hypersomnia usually affects young adults between the ages of 15 and 30. Being overweight, excessive drug and alcohol abuse, genetics, a physical problem such as a tumor or head trauma, fibromyalgia and clinical depression are considered to cause hypersomnia in people.
Loud snoring or gasping is often noted with this type of sleep problem. The central form of sleep apnea occurs when breathing is interrupted by the lack of effort.Sleep apnea is considered to be a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. whereas the obstructive form of sleep apnea occurs when there is an actual physical blockage to the airflow. Periods of sleep can last for less than a minute to more than a half an hour. or stressful periods. These short stops in breathing can happen up to 400 times every night. It is a genetic disorder that results in a prickly. even after adequate nighttime sleep. Sleep apnea can increase a persons risk of heart disease and stroke. The primary recommended treatment for people suffering from sleep apnea is that of a lifestyle change.central and obstructive. illness. one that often causes patients to want to move their limbs ceaselessly. hallucinations and other unusual perceptual phenomena. and is considered to also be associated with brain damage or neurological disease or disorder. crawly. Some people who suffer from narcolepsy report experiencing an increased number of attacks during pregnancy. RLS often prevents the patient from falling asleep until the early hours of the morning. including avoiding alcohol and any medications that relax the central nervous system. and is especially seen in the elderly. People with sleep apnea stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds at a time while they are sleeping. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes overwhelming and severe daytime sleepiness that often occurs at inappropriate times and places. There are two basic forms of sleep apnea -. when the condition is less intense. Narcolepsy is typically a genetic disorder. These periods of not breathing may make them wake up from deep sleep. aching or tingly sensation in the leg. and patients who suffer from narcolepsy complain of being tired all the time . and sleep paralysis. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is another incredibly common sleep disorder. fever. an inability to move for several minutes upon awakening. Many narcoleptics experience additional symptoms including cataplexy (a sudden loss of muscle tone while in a conscious state). People with this disorder are more likely to have traffic accidents if they drive while theyre sleepy.
Primary Sleep Disorders Insomnia Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. and women often have different symptoms from men. shortness of breath. But some people have medical disorders that cause poor sleep on a regular basis. in which the brain does not send the signal to the muscles to take a breath A person also may have mixed sleep apnea (both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea). Excessive weight may play a role. The level of airway closure varies with changes in body and head position. Obstructive sleep apnea results from collapse and obstruction of the airway. headaches. work/school demands or emotionally upsetting events in a person’s life. Chronic insomnia — at least three months of poor sleep most nights — may be related to another unrecognized sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome. Central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea. sleep state. In many cases. and muscular tone (the relationship between the muscles and the nerves). Situational insomnia is the most common reason for poor sleep. more than one factor may cause insomnia. and daytime sleepiness/fatigue. restless sleep. There are many types of sleep disorders and. Sleep apnea causes a person to wake up or to come out of a deep level of sleep into a more shallow level of sleep. This is caused by a structurally small upper airway and a loss of muscle tone. Short-term (situational) insomnia may be related to stressful situations such as illness. gasping. Symptoms include loud snoring. Sleep Apnea Sleep Apnea is a temporary suspension of breathing (10 or more seconds) that occurs repeatedly during sleep. in many cases. . dizziness. leg swelling. a combination of factors may cause sleep problems. droopy eyelids. and memory problems. irritability. fatigue. in which the airway becomes obstructed and prevents the flow of air 2. Sleep apnea is twice as common in men as in women. The breathing obstruction in obstructive sleep apnea occurs in the throat (pharynx) and other soft tissues of the upper airway. blurred vision. There are two main types of sleep apnea: 1.Types of Sleep Disorders Everyone has suffered from a lack of sleep at one time or another.
The movements caused by PLMD are involuntary. Narcolepsy Narcolepsy is unexplained sleepiness at inappropriate times despite adequate nighttime sleep. One-third of people with this disorder have had symptoms since childhood. sleep paralysis and cataplexy (a condition in which a person suddenly feels weak and collapses at moments of strong emotion). large tonsils and excess tissue in airway walls. preventing sleep. a large swollen uvula. the tongue and tonsils may be larger than normal. Although most people with RLS develop PLMD. electric shock. creepy-crawly. The symptoms tend to become more severe with aging. Symptoms worsen in the evening and at rest. Jet Lag Jet Lag is a temporary disorder that causes fatigue. most people with PLMD do not experience RLS. Narcolepsy is a syndrome that involves vivid dreams. Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) is a disorder characterized by periodic. In addition. More than 80 percent of people with restless legs syndrome also experience PLMD. unlike RLS. involuntary leg twitching or jerking movements that occur during sleep. Suffers describe the sensation as energy. Inadequate Sleep Hygiene Inadequate Sleep Hygiene —bad sleep habits — is a sleep disorder caused by the performance of daily living activities that are inconsistent with the maintenance of good quality sleep and full daytime alertness. tests can be done to confirm the diagnosis. Restless Legs Syndrome Restless Legs Syndrome is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an irrepressible urge to move the legs when resting to relieve these feelings. Symptoms are relieved by moving the legs. Symptoms may occur all at once or gradually over many years. This may involve lifestyle practices that keep a person awake and/or practices that bring disorder to a person’s sleep schedule. or pain. . In the lower throat.Although a diagnosis of sleep apnea often will be suspected on the basis of a person’s history. a physical exam may reveal a long and wide soft palate. insomnia and other symptoms as a result of air travel across time zones.
. Secondary Sleep Disorders In addition to primary sleep disorders. Night terror is similar to nightmares except that nightmares usually occur during REM sleep. The disorder usually ends around the time a child reaches grade school age. but most often occurs in children ages 6 to 12. hypersomnia. Night Terror (Sleep Terror) Night Terror or Sleep Terror is a common sleep disorder among children involving abrupt awakening from sleep in a terrified state. Night terrors may be associated with emotional tension. more than 50 secondary sleep disorders have been identified. A child may scream and shake. circadian rhythm sleep disorder. stress or conflict. Night shift workers are likely working during the time in their circadian rhythm (the body’s internal regulator of sleep and wake) when their brain is most sleepy.Shift Work People who work second or third shifts may have difficulty sleeping during the day and trouble staying awake during their shift at night. eating disorders. bedwetting. and the child is difficult to wake. Workers who are most affected work between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am and those who do rotating shifts. Sleepwalking Sleepwalking is a disorder characterized by walking or other activity while seemingly still asleep. environmental sleep disorder. teeth grinding. including snoring. Sleep walking may occur at any age. delayed sleep phase and many other conditions.
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