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Sleep Disorders

What Are They?

Sleep Disorders will affect nearly two thirds of all Americans at some time in their lives. Some of the most common sleep disorders are discussed below.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) usually occurs in habitual snorers and is associated with pauses in breathing. Symptoms include restless, non-refreshing sleep, daytime sleepiness or fatigue, awakening with a headache, depression, difficulty concentrating and lack of motivation. If left untreated it may be associated with hypertension, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, irregular heart rhythms, diabetes, depression and daytime sleepiness. It is the most common disorder seen in sleep centers and is thought to affect up to 5% of the population. CLICK HERE to learn more about OSA, or take our Sleep Apnea Quiz now.

Restless Limb Syndrome (RLS) is an irresistible urge to move the extremities associated with an unpleasant sensation (pain, discomfort, pulling, ache, tingling, creepy-crawly, bugs under the skin), worse at times of rest (sitting in a chair, in the car, at the movies, in bed before sleep onset), worse in the evening and relieved by movement of the affected body part. It is frequently associated with insomnia or daytime sleepiness. It may occur in up to 15% of the general population. CLICK HERE to learn more about RLS, or take our RLS Quiz now.

Insomnia includes difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or a complaint of non-refreshing sleep, and may or may not be associated with a complaint of daytime sleepiness. It is the most common sleep disorder, affecting nearly one-third of all Americans. CLICK HERE to learn more about Insomnia, or take our Insomnia Quiz now.

Periodic Limb Movements During Sleep are involuntary movements of the extremities while asleep. Often the patient and/or the bedmate are unaware of the movements. Other times the bedmate may complain of disturbance due to the patient’s movements. They may be associated with both insomnia and/or daytime sleepiness. It is found in 15% of patients who complain of insomnia and up to 1/3 of persons over the age of 60.

Narcolepsy consists of daytime sleepiness, sudden uncontrollable sleep attacks, cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle tone during periods of strong emotion) and sleep paralysis or hallucinations. A common misconception is that all persons with sleep attacks have Narcolepsy, when in fact it is relatively rare, affecting less than 0.2% of the population.

Parasomnias are actually a group of disorders of awakening from sleep rather than a true “sleep disorder.” They include rhythmic movement disorders (head banging, body rocking), sleep talking, sleep walking, night-time leg cramps, teeth grinding, nightmares, night terrors and REM behavior disorder (acting out dreams, which may injure the patient or the bedmate).

If you think you have a sleep disorder, discuss your symptoms with your personal physician. He/She will either diagnose/treat your problem or refer you for a consultation with a sleep specialist. Your physician may also refer you directly for a sleep study. Patients may also be self-referred for a sleep consultation.

CONTACT US (The Southern California Pulmonary and Sleep Disorder Medical Center, serving Los Angeles, Malibu and Thousand Oaks)  if you have questions regarding a sleep consultation.