Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the primary sleep disordered breathing seen in the sleep lab. This disorder results in apneas (cessation of breathing) of periods of 10 seconds or more, sometimes up to hundreds of times a night. The muscles inside the throat relax during sleep and the tongue and tissue in the back of the throat collapse and blocks the airway, preventing air from reaching the lungs.
- This blockage occurs a few times a night or several hundred.
- The frequent pauses in breathing result in repeated awakenings throughout the night.
- This results in fragmented, poor quality sleep, resulting in:
- Daytime sleepiness.
- Memory and concentration problems.
- Mood changes.
- Family members are often the first to notice signs of sleep apnea – restless sleep characterized by heavy snoring that is interrupted by pauses and gasps for breath.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness. Symptoms include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Intermittent uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime.
These attacks can occur while eating, walking or driving.
Often experienced by narcoleptics:
- Cataplexy - Leg, arms or face muscles suddenly become weak, normally caused by strong emotions.
- Sleep paralysis - Inability to move for a few seconds or minutes when falling asleep or waking up.
- Hypnagognic hallucinations - Seeing things that aren’t there or having the feeling someone is in the room with you.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is the strong urge to move legs, often with uneasy feelings deep inside the legs as well as burning, prickling, itching or tingling and may be painful. These feelings along with the urge to move are made worse by rest, so it is hard to lie or sit. Walking or moving the legs provide temporary relief.
The urge to move the legs grows worse at night and eases in the morning. RLS makes it hard to rest or go to sleep resulting in tiredness and less energy during the day.