Diagnosing Sleep Disorders

Do you toss and turn all night without getting a wink of sleep? Well you’re not alone. With over 75% of adults in America suffering from a sleep disorder, it is not surprising that many people have questions. Sleeping disorders are one of the most common medical complaints in the US.

A sleep disorder can have major effects on a person’s health. Someone who is struggling with sleep can have difficulty focusing, staying awake while driving and have a higher risk of health issues.

There are many different kinds of sleep disorders. Some of the common ones include the following:

Insomnia – difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep through the night. People who have insomnia experience the following symptoms:

– Trouble falling asleep
– Waking up too early in the morning
– Waking up frequently throughout the night
– Difficulty falling back to sleep
– Having fatigue, trouble focusing, mood swings or sleepiness during the day

People who suffer from chronic pain such as migraines, back pain, arthritis, or fibromyalgia often have a difficult time falling asleep. Sleeping problems like insomnia are more likely to develop in those suffering from chronic pain. This will eventually lead to a depressed and irritable mood during the day along with fatigue and other persisting health issues.

Sleep Apnea – a more serious sleep disorder because the person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. When sleep apnea is left untreated, the person can stop breathing several times throughout the night which means the brain may not be getting enough oxygen.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) – an aching urge to move your legs while resting. This is very frustrating as the person is trying to fall asleep but cannot rid themselves of the urge to move the lower part of their body.

Narcolepsy – neurological disorder with overwhelming sleepiness during the day and often attacks of sleep.

Sleep Paralysis – occurs when you are conscious but unable to move your body. Up to 4 out of every 10 people experience sleep paralysis. Factors linked to sleep paralysis are:

– Lack of sleep
– Changes in sleep schedule
– Stress, bipolar disorder, and other mental conditions
– Sleeping on your back
– Substance abuse

Night Terrors – common in children ages 4 – 12, are episodes of intense screaming and fear while still being asleep. Sleep terrors are usually outgrown as the child gets older but there are still treatment methods available.

Sleepwalking – occurs when people get up and walk in their sleep. People who sleepwalk will either walk quietly around their room or begin to walk outside in a way to “escape”. Sleepwalking is often an inheritable factor that is passed down through families. Otherwise, many other factors can cause a person to sleepwalk such as stress, being intoxicated, and being sleep deprived.

Monitor Your Sleeping Habits

If you think you may have a sleeping disorder or you are having difficulty falling asleep, you may want to start monitoring your sleeping habits to look for irregularities. Keep a sleep diary of the times of night you wake up or are experiencing physical disruptions like snoring, headaches, or jerking of the limbs. Keeping a sleep diary on your nightstand allows you to actively track and record your habits as they occur, which you can then bring to your doctor who will help properly diagnose your condition.

A more thorough option to monitor your sleep is a PSG. PSGs are typically performed as an overnight stay in a sleep laboratory and are completely worry and pain free. Different electrodes monitor your brain activity, heart rate, and airflow to paint a more accurate picture of where your sleeping problems lie. This sleep observation can be monumental in helping understand different sleep disorders.

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of your health. Memory storage, mental processing, and vital rest all take place during the night hours that you are asleep. For this reason, it’s important to clearly understand and define any problems you may be having with your sleep. It is only then that you can move forward with a correct diagnosis and treatment plan to get you back to a regular and healthy sleep schedule.

Try to follow some of these easy-to-implement tips to help you get a better night’s sleep:

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the hours leading up to bed
  • Keep your room at a cool and comfortable temperature
  • Relax before you go to sleep
  • Maintain a consistent routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day
  • Keep your bedroom dark and quiet
  • If you can’t sleep, don’t force it. Do something low-energy and relaxing until you can

Treatment with Dr. Mayank Shukla

Don’t suffer anymore sleepless nights. Sometimes poor quality sleep may be due to sleeping disorders that need to be detected and treated. Let Dr. Mayank Shukla help you improve your sleep quality by diagnosing and treating your sleep disorder. Visit his New York Sleep Center today or schedule an appointment here.

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