Sleep disorders are fairly common, affecting more than 4 percent of the population. Sleep disorders prevent a person from getting a full night’s sleep, which results in depriving the body of much-needed time to recover both mentally and physically from the day’s activities.
Symptoms of sleeping disorders include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Loud, irregular snoring
- Morning headaches
- Irritability or moodiness
- Poor concentration
- Memory loss
- Frequent nocturnal urination
Types of sleeping disorders include:
- Sleep Apnea—Patient stops breathing, then awakens suddenly and gasps for breath; cycle repeats throughout sleep and can lead to heart disease, hypertension and premature death.
- Narcolepsy—Excessive and sudden sleepiness that comes on quickly at inappropriate times, e.g., while driving.
- Nocturnal Myoclonus or the related "Restless Legs Syndrome"—periodic involuntary jerking of the legs disrupting quality sleep, sometimes accompanied by a "creepy crawly" sensation.
- Insomnia—Lack of either quantity or quality sleep leading to poor concentration and memory loss.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux—Also known as acid reflux. Gastric acid may back up into the esophagus causing multiple sleep disruptions.
- Circadian Rhythm Disorders—the urge to sleep at the wrong time of day.
- Parasomnias—Including night terrors and sleep walking.
- REM (rapid eye movement) Behavior Disorder—where muscle paralysis does not occur, as is normal during REM sleep.
There are several different treatment options available for sleeping disorders. Depending on the type and severity of symptoms, patients can be helped through weight loss, surgery, using dental appliances and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP is provided by a small machine that blows air into the nose through a nasal mask and keeps the airway from collapsing.