Sleep Disorders


Sleep Problems

There are many problems that can occur in sleep. The most common of these greatly disturb nighttime sleep, causing excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue. Others disturb sleep less but produce conditions in sleep that are dangerous or damaging to your health.

Common sleep-related breathing problems include:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Central sleep apnea.
  • Snoring.
  • Restless legs syndrome.
  • Periodic limb movement disorder.
  • Narcolepsy.
  • Insomnia.
  • Circadian rhythm disorders.
  • Other sleep-related breathing disorders.
Sleep study with patient wearing CPAP

Treating Sleep Disorders

Some sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or restless legs syndrome are treated primarily with medications. Others such as insomnia may be treated by a combination of patient education, lifestyle changes and selective use of medications.

All sleep-related breathing disorders can be effectively treated. Mild cases of sleep apnea may be treated with lifestyle changes, such as weight reduction, a change in sleeping position or quitting smoking, alcohol and medications. Dental appliances that hold the jaw forward during sleep may also be effective in mild to moderate sleep apnea. Surgery may be appropriate in some cases.

For most cases of obstructive sleep apnea, the gold-standard treatment is continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP), which is extremely effective in keeping the airway open and restoring normal, uninterrupted sleep.

Hypoventilation in sleep can be treated with a breathing therapy known as bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP), which increases the amount of air inhaled when breathing efforts weaken.

In addition, Samaritan Sleep Medicine sponsors ongoing support groups bringing together people with sleep apnea and other sleep-related breathing disorders to share ideas and education.

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