Sleep Conditions That Can Affect Your Health
Get the restful sleep you need.
If you are experiencing chronic sleep problems, let our sleep specialists at Novant Health help before your fatigue aggravates or causes other health problems. We diagnose and treat insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome and other chronic sleep disorders.
Common sleep health conditions
These two types of sleep apnea have different root causes:
- Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when an upper airway obstruction prevents you from drawing enough air.
- Central sleep apnea happens when there is a mistake in the signals being sent from your brain to your muscles.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two.
Symptoms your sleep partner may notice include:
Symptoms you may both notice include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Trouble focusing
- Weight gain
- Less interest in sex
If you are not getting the sleep you need, you may be less alert and a danger to yourself and those around you, particularly while driving. If left untreated, the deprivation of oxygen can increase your risk of chronic illness or aggravate existing conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- Erectile dysfunction
Restless leg syndrome involves unusual feelings and sensations in one or both legs. Rarely, it may also occur in the arms. These feelings are often associated with a need to move your affected limb, which may temporarily alleviate the symptoms. This sensation and need for movement can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Sleepwalking, sleep eating, night terrors and other unusual activity during sleep are classified as parasomnia. When an episode occurs, you may appear awake to others, even though you are unaware of them and may remember little or nothing of the incident.
Insomnia broadly deals with difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up restless or too early. Narcolepsy causes extreme sleepiness during the day — a symptom known as hypersomnia. Severe narcolepsy can also cause sudden sleep attacks, causing you to suddenly and uncontrollably fall asleep.
Pediatric sleep conditions
Disruptive sleep disorders in children can include acting out dreams, night terrors, restless legs, restless sleep, sleep eating, sleep paralysis and sleepwalking.
Breath-related sleep disorders can begin early, affecting some children and teenagers. These problems include conditions caused by breathing issues, like sleep apnea and snoring.
Sometimes insomnia or excessive sleepiness, like hypersomnia, may present in children and teens. Insomnia relates to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, leading to poor rest and regular drowsiness during the day. Excessive sleepiness can occur for several reasons but involves experiencing extreme or disruptive sleepiness during the day.
Coping with difficulty sleeping
Determining whether you have a sleep condition and what it is can be challenging, because lifestyle and temporary conditions can also affect how well you sleep.
That’s why many sleep specialists will ask you to keep a log of your sleep difficulties in a bedside journal. This can help you and your provider understand how your sleep is being disturbed, what might be causing it and begin treating it sooner.
Temporary sleep problems without a condition
Many things can temporarily disturb how well we sleep, including anxiety, stress, restlessness, new medications, sleeping with a casted arm, excessive caffeine or alcohol. If your sleeping difficulties persist, or you begin feeling sleepy more often, share you concerns with your provider.
Get the right diagnosis and finding the right treatments
Finding the correct diagnosis for sleep disorders can be complicated. There are over 100 known sleep conditions, many of which significantly overlap in symptoms To correctly diagnose your condition, your sleep specialist may refer you for a sleep monitoring test.
Once you’ve been diagnosed, your sleep specialist may refer you to other specialists for further evaluation and treatment. Because you may not tolerate some treatments, finding one that works for you may require consulting with several specialists.