While you sleep, pauses in your breathing associated with low oxygen levels in your bloodstream may complicate your health. This problem is known as sleep apnea. Poor waking mood, heart irregularities, and an increased risk of heart disease are all associated with sleep apnea. A sleep study can evaluate your sleep and your health during sleep. Please see sleep study information below for further information.
Patients are not sleeping well may have several different types of insomnia. Some individuals cannot fall asleep easily; this problem is called delayed initiation of sleep. Others may fall asleep easily but cannot stay asleep. Some just sleep for very short periods and can’t get back to sleep. All these problems can be assessed with a sleep study (see information below), and specific help can be offered for each of these distinct sleep problems.
Inability to stay awake despite adequate night time sleep is known as narcolepsy. People with narcolepsy suddenly fall asleep without warning many times a day. This is dangerous, because they may injure themselves or others. Doctors order a test called a multiple sleep latency study to evaluate this problem.
When you have an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, associated with a weird sensation, you have restless leg syndrome. The sensations associated with this illness-usually crawling, creeping, pulling, throbbing or itching- are relieved by movement. The problem usually expresses itself in the evening or during the night. This strong desire to move your legs affects your sleep and can lead to leg twitching.
Eliminating alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine may help restless leg syndrome. Physical therapy, stretching, and massage may also help. Regular exercise and learning relaxation techniques may help diminish these symptoms. Medications used for this problem include dopamine agonists, dopaminergic agents, benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, and alpha-two agonists. Your doctor can help you decide the best approach to your problem to improve your sleep and eliminate your symptoms.