Sleep Disorders Q&A

What are the types of sleep disorders?

Sleep is important enough to your health that doctors have created several categories to detail the disorders that may make it difficult to get the rest you need.

A few common sleep disorders include:

  • Sleep apnea, which causes abnormal patterns or pauses in breathing as you sleep
  • Insomnia, which may become long-term and make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS), a sleep movement disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in your legs and the urge to move your legs as you fall asleep
  • Narcolepsy, which causes extreme sleepiness during the day and may cause you to fall asleep suddenly when performing routine daily activities

What should I know about sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious but common sleep disorder that causes your breathing to stop and start throughout the night, sometimes hundreds of times. When you stop breathing, your brain startles you awake. This awakening is so brief that you may not even realize it’s occurring until you get up in the morning feeling grumpy and far from rested.

There are several types of sleep apnea, including:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is the most common type and is caused by over-relaxation of the muscles and other soft tissue structures in your throat, which blocks your airways
  • Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome, which is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea

Medical complications linked to OSA include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk for stroke
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes

What is a sleep study?

A sleep study is a noninvasive, overnight exam performed at Arizona Institute of Neurology and Polysomnography. As you sleep in a comfortable room, an EEG monitors your sleep patterns while other instruments track your oxygen levels, heart rate, and other vital signs.

Dr. Khan carefully analyzes the results of the study to determine whether you have a sleep disorder such as OSA, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, or another issue causing your sleep difficulty.

He’ll then create a treatment strategy that may include the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device for OSA or other therapies designed to keep you sleeping restfully through the night.

Schedule your visit now with Dr. Khan at Arizona Institute of Neurology and Polysomnography.


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