Sleep Disorders

It seems all too common in the modern age that people are getting less sleep. You may think that there is no consequence to missing some sleep, or that you can ‘catch up’ on sleep later. According to this study conducted by the National Institute of Health, “17 hours of sustained wakefulness in adults leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.05%”, which can have very real consequences.

Additionally, sleep deprivation can be seriously detrimental to your mental and physical well being, being directly correlated to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and disrupting your endocrine system that controls your hormone levels.

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), 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

Symptoms of Sleep Disorders

  • Trouble staying awake during the day
  • Loud, chronic snoring
  • Headaches, especially right after you wake up
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Frequent yawning
  • Waking up and not being able to go back to sleep

These are only a few of the most common symptoms of a sleep disorder. Improve your “sleep hygiene” with these helpful tips, and talk to your doctor about your concerns. A sleep disorder can seriously damage your health and quality of life.

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.

Types of Sleep Apnea Include:

  • 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 non-invasive, overnight exam performed at the 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 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 the Arizona Institute of Neurology and Polysomnography.

Sleep Studies at Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography

If your doctor wants you to get a sleep study, call us right away. Dr. Khan will expertly analyze the data from your sleep study and recommend the right solution for your problem. As a neurologist with advanced training in sleep medicine, Dr. Khan is highly qualified in the treatment of all types of sleep disorders. He has many years of experience helping people with everything from snoring, to insomnia, narcolepsy, and the rarest, most complex sleep problems.

Tips for Healthy Sleep

There’s a lot you can do to help yourself or a loved one enjoy better sleep. Try these tips and follow your doctor’s advice:

  • Avoid heavy meals and alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime
  • Create a healthy sleep environment that’s cool, dark, and quiet
  • Go to bed at around the same time each night
  • Get regular exercise, early in the day
  • If you smoke, ask your doctor to help you quit
  • Lose weight if you need to
  • Eat a healthy diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and foods that contain tryptophan, a substance that promotes sleep (foods like turkey and other poultry, avocado, mango, nuts, and many other healthy foods)

CPAP and Other Treatment for Sleep Disorders

Depending on what type of sleep problem you have, you may need medication or a device that helps you breathe more efficiently during sleep.

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, a CPAP – or “continuous positive airway pressure” device may be right for you. This is worn over the nose and keeps the airway open so you can breathe normally while you sleep. Best of all, you should start sleeping and feeling better, right away.

More Information About Obstructive Sleep Apnea

You may not realize that one of the most common sleep disorders – obstructive sleep apnea – increases your risk for life-threatening health problems.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tissues of your soft palate and throat block your airway. It can cause you to snore loudly and to stop breathing completely, for up to a full minute at a time. It happens over and over again, depriving your brain of oxygen and keeping you from the quality sleep you need. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to:

  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk for stroke
  • Increased risk of death due to heart disease
  • Insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes
  • Increased risk of being involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident

Do You Have More Questions About Sleep Disorders?

Getting treated for your sleep problem could improve the length and quality of your life. Visit our website for more information, call or book a consultation online at the Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography in Casa Grande.

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