If you suspect that you have a sleep-related disorder, it is important to be evaluated by a sleep specialist. Sleep should not be viewed as a luxury when in fact it is a necessity. Sleep is vital to your health, safety and overall well-being. Schedule an initial consultation today at one of Sleep Centers of Alaska’s facilities in Anchorage, Soldotna, and Wasilla.
According to the Institute of Medicine, an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder. Yet in the majority of cases, the sleep disorder goes undiagnosed and untreated primarily because of a general lack of awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disorders. Most people who have sleep disorders don't know that they have a disorder because it only occurs during sleep. A family member or bed partner might be the first person to notice the signs.
If left untreated, sleep-related disorders increase the risk of developing a broad range of chronic diseases from cardiovascular disease and diabetes to obesity and depression. Certain sleep-related disorders have been linked to the growth of cancerous tumors. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year resulting in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
The International Classification of Sleep Disorders distinguishes more than 80 different diagnostic categories of sleep disorders, most of which are marked by:
If you suffer, for example, from bouts of sleep deprivation; are dissatisfied with the quality of your sleep; have problems concentrating, paying attention, and remembering; experience extreme mood changes or irritability; lack energy or motivation; perform poorly at school or work, and are having a hard time functioning during the day, you may have a sleep-related disorder. Call us to schedule an initial consultation. A good night’s sleep may only be a phone call away.
During the initial consultation, a sleep specialist will discuss with you the information that you provide in your medical history and sleep questionnaires and he or she will perform a physical examination of your head and neck area. Based on your symptoms and medical history, the sleep specialist will develop a plan to resolve your sleep complaints. If indicated, an overnight sleep study, home sleep apnea test, or other medical tests may be recommended.
The most common sleep-related disorders are insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy.
Insomnia: More than 70 million Americans suffer from insomnia. The disorder is characterized by
Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea affects roughly 20 million Americans. The disorder occurs when the soft tissues in the throat relax and collapse into the airway blocking oxygen from reaching the lungs. Partial airway blockage often causes snoring, while full airway blockage may result in cessation of breathing, gasping, choking and then awakening. Individuals with severe sleep apnea can wake up many times during the night resulting in daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
Restless Legs Syndrome: Approximately 10% of the U.S. population suffers from restless legs syndrome. The disorder is characterized by a strong urge to move one’s legs, causing discomfort during the day and restlessness at night. The sensation is relieved by movement, such as stretching, jiggling one’s legs, pacing or walking. Restless legs syndrome may also be associated with another, common condition called periodic limb movement, which causes legs to twitch and kick throughout the night while sleeping.
Narcolepsy: Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles. Persons suffering from narcolepsy may involuntarily fall asleep even if they are in the middle of an activity like driving, eating, or talking. Other symptoms may include sudden muscle weakness such that the narcoleptic goes limp; vivid dream-like images or hallucinations; and total paralysis just before falling asleep or just after waking up. Narcoleptics often have excessive daytime sleepiness.
Children’s Sleep-Related Disorders: Common childhood sleep disorders include obstructive sleep apnea, parasomnias such as sleepwalking, sleep terrors, nightmares, and sleep talking, and restless legs syndrome. The most common sleep problem in children is lack of adequate sleep. Experts suggest that children in elementary school should sleep 10 - 11 hours each night and preschool-aged children should sleep 11 to 13 hours. Insufficient sleep is linked to mood and behavioral problems, memory, concentration and learning problems, poor performance in school, slower reaction times, and accidents. Some studies even indicate that sleep disturbed children have more depressive symptoms and anxiety disorders.