Common Sleep Disorders

Sleep Center

Sleep disorders can affect young and old, men and women. A sleep disorder that disrupts your normal sleeping pattern can quickly wreak havoc on day-to-day functions. The good news is that many sleep disorders can be treated – but you have to take the first step.

The sleep specialists at Bon Secours Sleep Center have state-of-the-art tools and tests to help identify the underlying issues related to sleep disorders as well as interdisciplinary teams that work together to create the best possible sleep disorder treatment and care plan.

How do I know if I have a sleep disorder?

When someone has a sleep disorder, the normal sleeping pattern is disturbed. The most commonly reported sleep disruptions are:

  • Restless sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Loss of energy
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety, depression
  • Restless legs or creepy, crawly sensation of the legs
  • Physically acting out one’s dreams
  • Loud snoring
  • Morning headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Mood or behavior changes
  • Impotence
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Difficulty falling or remaining asleep

Common sleep disorders

Shift-work sleep disorder - One of the reasons why shift work is so disruptive to sleep health is the fact that the human body is sensitive to changes in circadian rhythms, cues our bodies read from our surroundings that help our systems function. If you work at night, you must fight your body's natural rhythms by staying awake when you would normally be sleepy and by trying to sleep when you would normally be awake. 

Sleep apnea - Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep that may last a few seconds or a few minutes and occur anywhere from 5 to 30 times an hour. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain temporarily stops sending signals to the muscles that control breathing. Obstructive sleep anea occurs when the airway is blocked by enlarged tonsils or adenoids.

Narcolepsy - Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by the inability to regulate wake-sleep cycles. Narcolepsy creates a tendency to fall asleep at inappropriate times. People with narcolepsy enter deep sleep almost immediately as well as periodically in daytime hours. In rare cases, individuals may sleep for more than an hour. Additional symptoms may include sudden loss of voluntary muscle tone, extreme hallucinations upon waking or during sleep and brief episodes of sudden paralysis. At this time it’s unclear what causes narcolepsy.

Restless leg syndrome - Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is characterized by a feeling of uneasiness and “creepy crawly” sensations. Left untreated, RLS leads to fatigue, exhaustion and in rare cases nerve damage. Symptoms of RLS range from mildly uncomfortable to the intolerable. Some patients report symptoms growing worse over time and generally are at their most intense at night when trying to relax. Symptoms are difficult to describe as their sensation varies based on patient viewpoint. It’s often described as a feeling of pins and needles deep in the legs. The specific causes of RLS are not known.