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Common Sleep Disorders

Getting a good night’s sleep is important. Sleep disorders can range from simply bothersome to potentially life-threatening conditions. Sleep problems vary from the inability to fall asleep to the inability to stay awake.


Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. It is the inability to initiate or maintain sleep. It can affect your waking hours as well as your sleeping hours. Insomnia is typically a symptom of another problem and can be improved by adopting good sleep habits.

Here are several suggestions to improve your sleep:

  • Seek help to manage stress.
  • Stop smoking a couple hours before bedtime, or eliminate smoking completely.
  • Stop drinking alcohol at least four hours before bedtime. Eliminate caffeine for at least six hours prior to bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly, but not within two hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid napping during the day. If daytime drowsiness is overwhelming, limit naps to less than an hour, once a day in the early afternoon.
  • Use sleeping pills only as directed by your physician. Sleeping pills are typically ordered for short-term use.
  • Do not eat full meals close to bedtime.
  • Create a sleep environment that is quiet and dark.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.
  • Eliminate clock watching.
  • Maintain a routine bedtime and wake-up time, even on the weekends.
  • Maintain a proper body weight.

If you have adopted good sleep habits and your insomnia persists, you should consult your physician.

For more information about insomnia, click here.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Millions of people snore. Snoring is a warning sign that the airway is narrow. If the airway is only slightly narrowed, the snoring may just be a nuisance. If the airway becomes very narrow, or completely obstructed, it can be serious.

An obstructed airway can cause a cessation of breathing during sleep. This is called sleep apnea. When a person stops breathing, the oxygen in his or her  bloodstream drops. This causes the heart to work harder to circulate the blood. Over a period of time, this can cause serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, an enlarged heart, congestive heart failure, heart attack or stroke.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  • Snoring, choking, gasping or pauses in breathing during sleep.
  • Falling asleep, or fighting off sleep at inappropriate times, such as driving, working, reading or watching TV.
  • Daytime fatigue.
  • Unrefreshing sleep.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Trouble with short-term memory.
  • Morning headaches.

Sleep apnea can be easily diagnosed by monitoring your sleep in a sleep lab and can usually be treated very effectively.

For more information about insomnia, click here


Narcolepsy can be defined as excessive drowsiness during the day with a tendency to sleep at inappropriate times. The sleep episodes of narcolepsy are sometimes brought on by highly stressful or emotional situations. They are not completely relieved by any amount of sleep.

Narcolepsy can have a serious impact on a person's life. If narcolepsy is not appropriately diagnosed and managed, it can be disabling.

A cure for narcolepsy has not yet been found, but most people with this disorder can lead nearly normal lives if the condition is properly treated.

For more information about Narcolepsy, click here.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) can be described as small muscle movements in the legs or arms that can disrupt the quality of sleep by causing brief, frequent arousals from sleep. PLMD can usually be treated effectively with medications.

For more information about Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, click here

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a condition characterized by discomfort in the legs, which can only be relieved by movement. These symptoms typically worsen in the evening and night, and can have a major impact on sleep quality.

For more information about Restless Leg Syndrome, click here.