What Are Sleep Disorders?
At Abundant Family Practice in Logan, UT, we screen for sleep disorders. It’s estimated that between 50 and 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder. A sleep disorder is a condition that interferes with a person’s normal sleep patterns. There are more than 80 different sleep disorders, but we’ll be focusing on the most common ones.
Snoring comes from air pressure within the body being forced through a narrow passageway. Almost everyone snores from time to time, but if you snore regularly, or it causes you to wake up multiple times throughout the night, it could point to a more serious health problem. In addition, snoring can interfere with your spouse’s or significant other’s sleep, causing strain in your relationship.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans. Insomnia makes it difficult to fall asleep or to stay asleep. It can also cause you to wake up early and prevent you from falling back to sleep.
Over time, insomnia can drain your energy and make even simple tasks, such as running errands or visiting with friends, seem impossible. Left unmanaged, insomnia also increases your risk of more serious health problems, including heart disease.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that results in brief but repeated interruptions to normal breathing during sleep. Each time breathing is interrupted, the brain forces the person with sleep apnea to wake up and take a breath. It happens so quickly that they usually don’t remember it, but the interruptions severely impact the overall quality of sleep, as they can happen as often as hundreds of times in a single night.
This disorder can affect health in many ways and may even become life-threatening. Sleep apnea causes all the effects of sleep deprivation such as exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, and morning headaches.
Having sudden urges to sleep in the afternoon or nodding off frequently throughout the day, even when in the middle of chatting or working, are classic signs of narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. It is unclear what causes narcolepsy, though low levels of hypocretin in the brain may be a role. Genetics may also be a factor. Narcolepsy is sometimes associated with a sudden loss of muscle tone (cataplexy), which can cause slurred speech or muscle weakness.
Unlike with nightmares where you usually wake up from a bad dream, a person experiencing night terrors will remain asleep while screaming, flailing, and exhibiting intense fear. It can sometimes include sleepwalking. Children are more commonly affected than adults, and a night terror can last between a few seconds and a few minutes.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is the uncontrollable, often uncomfortable urge to move one’s legs or feet (usually both sides), which most often happens during the night, though it can happen while sitting. Lifestyle habits like regular exercise, avoiding caffeine, warm baths, leg massages, and good sleep hygiene can help alleviate symptoms of RLS.
Despite the name, sleepwalking isn’t limited merely to walking while remaining asleep. Sleepwalkers may do a variety of activities like getting dressed, running, urinating (which they are unlikely to do in the right place), and more. Most sleepwalking events last less than 10 minutes. Children are more prone to sleepwalking than adults, but it can be a serious condition if a person is regularly wandering around while unaware of their surroundings.
Get Screened for Sleep Disorders in Logan, UT
If you know or suspect that you or a loved one may have a sleep disorder that is interfering with normal sleep and activities, schedule a screening with us. Make sure to get directions before you head our way, and you can learn more about our family practice on our FAQ page.