What are the common sleep disorders?
Sleep apnea: People with sleep apnea do not breathe properly during sleep. This can lead to daytime sleepiness and may contribute to high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attacks and stroke. Warning signs of sleep apnea include loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, gasping, pauses in breathing, irritability, depression and forgetfulness.
Insomnia: Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, either for a temporary or extended amount of time. Ten percent of the population regularly suffers from insomnia.
Narcolepsy: This condition is marked by excessive drowsiness during the day, with a tendency to sleep at inappropriate times. These patients often suffer from cataplexy, which is muscle weakness or collapse triggered by stress or strong emotions.
RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome): RLS is described as a "creepy, crawly" sensation that occurs in the legs when patients are sitting or lying still, especially at bedtime. It is felt most often in the calves and relieved by movement. Although it occurs when a patient is awake, it can affect the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep and can result in extreme fatigue and excessive sleepiness during the day.
PLMD (Periodic Limb Movement Disorder): These are repetitive, involuntary movements (of the leg, and occasionally the arms) that usually begin when asleep. Patients with PLMD may have difficulty falling asleep, remaining asleep, remaining asleep, or may experience excessive daytime sleepiness.
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep behavior disorder: All body muscles (except those used in breathing or movement of the eyes) are normally paralyzed during REM sleep. In some people, usually older men, the paralysis is incomplete or absent and allows them to violently "act out" their dreams. Acting out of dreams can potentially lead to injury of the patient of bed partner.
Do you have the following?
* loud snoring
* excessive daytime sleepiness and drowsiness
* tendency to sleep at inappropriate times
* inability to sleep or remain sleep
* sleepiness while driving
* acting out of dreams
* creepy, crawly sensation of the legs
If you have any of the above, please contact your physician or a Sleep Disorders Center.
How Are Sleep Disorders Evaluated?
Determining the nature and extent of your sleep disorder may require one or several tests. The Sleep Disorders Centers deliver state-of-the-art testing and interpretation by highly skilled physicians and technologists. The following are tests you might experience:
Overnight sleep study: This all-night, outpatient study involves recording various functions like heart rate, breathing, brain activity and limb movement.
MSLT (Multiple Sleep Latency Test): This test is often used to diagnose narcolepsy. Testing consists of a series of daytime naps that generally follows an overnight sleep study. The length of time it takes a patient to fall asleep can be determined. A driving simulator test may also be conducted as part of this assessment. (Driving simulator test is available through the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital/EVMS Sleep Disorders Center only.)
Insomnia evaluation: Evaluation is conducted with Board-Certified Sleep Specialists.
Are There Any Special Programs or Clinics?
Driving Simulator Testing: For patients with excessive day-time sleepiness, we can measure their ability to perform a computer-simulated driving test. Comparing the results to normal drivers and results from other patients helps us to determine the degree of risk the patient has when driving. The driving simulator also helps to measure the effectiveness of the various treatments for sleepiness (Available at the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital/EVMS Sleep Disorders Center only.)
A.W.A.K.E. support group: Bi-monthly meetings that provide support and education for individuals with sleep disorders and their family members.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Clinic: The clinic helps patients learn to properly use and maintain their CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) equipment.
Research: There are many ongoing studies, including drug trials, being conducted by Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in conjunction with Eastern Virginia Medical School in order to bring pioneering advances, including new effective treatments, to those suffering from sleep disorders. (Available only at the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital/EVMS and the Sentara Bayside Hospital Sleep Disorders Centers only.)
How can I get a sleep test?
Discuss your sleep problem with your doctor and address potential treatment options including a sleep evaluation at one of the Sleep Disorders Centers.
Who performs a sleep evaluation?
Board Certified Sleep Specialists perform sleep evaluations.