It seems almost deceptively simple: the relief of a great night’s sleep. But while others can easily drift away to dreamland, you toss and turn until the early morning. The result is a constant grogginess that interferes with your daily activities.
Or perhaps your problem isn’t going to sleep—maybe you’re falling to sleep uncontrollably at inappropriate times.
If these sound familiar to you, it’s likely that you’re one of the 70 million Americans with common sleep disorders.
Sleep disorders can impact almost every aspect of your life, and if you’re not getting quality sleep, you’re putting yourself at risk of developing chronic illnesses like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
We’ll examine some of the most common sleep disorders, and how our sleep medicine specialists can help you.
The 4 Most Common Sleep Disorders
Some of the most common sleep disorders in the United States are:
- Sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
We’ll review the signs and symptoms of each one of these.
What Is Insomnia?
Have you ever stared at the clock, slowly counting down the minutes, trying to rest and relax but being unable to fall asleep? If so, you may wish to speak to your doctor about insomnia.
In this sleep disorder, people have difficulty either falling asleep or staying asleep. It can be either acute (short-term) or chronic (lasting for several months or longer).
What Are the Symptoms of Insomnia?
Difficulty falling asleep is the main symptom of insomnia. However, there are other indicators as well. These include:
- Waking several times during the night
- Having difficulty going back to sleep after you’ve been awakened during the night
- Not feeling refreshed after sleep
- Waking up before your alarm or too early in the morning
- Having daytime drowsiness
- Difficulty with concentration
How is Insomnia Treated?
Insomnia may be treated by implementing cognitive-behavioral therapy. This means that you will “train” yourself to fall asleep by implementing proper sleep hygiene. This includes eliminating screen time right before bed, avoiding caffeine before you try to sleep, and practicing relaxation techniques. If these methods are not successful, your physician may decide to use prescription medication.
What is Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder where your body has difficulty controlling being asleep or being awake. The result? You may fall asleep at inappropriate times. This can happen in the middle of a meeting, during a class or even when you are visiting with family or friends. It also causes excessive daytime drowsiness.
What Are the Symptoms of Narcolepsy?
As we mentioned earlier, the most prominent symptom is uncontrollably falling asleep during the day time or at inappropriate times. It dramatically impacts your ability to have a job, spend time with family or pay attention in class.
How is Narcolepsy Treated?
While there is no cure for narcolepsy, your doctor can prescribe medicines that will help your body stay awake by stimulating your nervous system.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing at several intervals throughout the night. As you can imagine, this makes it impossible to get a decent night’s sleep. Sometimes this is caused by airway blockage. It also places you at risk for diseases such as stroke, obesity, or heart disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
The symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Snoring (but not everyone who snores has sleep apnea)
- Difficulty staying awake during the day
- Gasping for air in the middle of the night
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
One of the most common treatments for sleep apnea is to use a CPAP machine. This machine has an attachment that fits over your nose and/or mouth. It delivers a constant stream of oxygen to help your airway remain open. Those who use CPAP machines report that they have a much better quality of sleep after treatment.
What is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Have you ever felt that you had to move your legs? To the extent that this urge was extremely difficult to resist?
Restless leg syndrome is when you experience this urge at any time when you are sitting or still. When it occurs at night, it makes it almost impossible to fall asleep.
What are the Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome?
As the name implies, the main symptom is an irresistible urge to move the leg. Sometimes this feeling is so intense that you may need to walk around the room to “shake out” the feeling. Daytime drowsiness, difficulty with concentration, and problems falling asleep are all indicators of restless leg syndrome.
How Is Restless Leg Syndrome Treated?
Physicians have found that sometimes restless leg syndrome is due to an underlying condition—such as an iron deficiency. Therefore, treating this condition can reduce restless leg syndrome symptoms. Depending upon what is specifically causing your restless leg syndrome, prescription medication may also be prescribed.
Do You Have a Sleep Disorder? Take this Quiz
If you’re still not sure if you have one of these sleep disorders, you can print and fill out this useful questionnaire and show the results to your doctor who can refer you to one of our sleep specialists in Horry County and Myrtle Beach.
Our Sleep Disorders Center Has All You Need to Help You Get a Good Night’s Rest
By consolidating all of our sleep disorder treatments at one location, Our Sleep Disorders Center offers the perfect combination of convenience and comprehensive care. We look at the heart of the matter to focus on what is causing your sleeping problems, and then craft a plan tailored just for you.
Not only is our Sleep Disorders Center accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, but it is run by leading expert Dr. Hafez Hayek, who is board certified in sleep medicine. Our registered respiratory therapists along with credentialed sleep technicians all work together to provide the care you need.
Want to know more about sleep disorders and what happens during a sleep study? Check out our answers to some frequently asked questions.
A good night’s sleep is too vital to your health. Don’t ignore constant drowsiness, snoring or insomnia as mere inconveniences. Talk to your doctor about a referral to our Sleep Disorders Center and we’ll craft a plan to give you sweet dreams.