Common Sleep Disorders
Insomnia is a general term which describes the inability to initiate or maintain sleep, and is associated with daytime fatigue and sleepiness. More than 20 million Americans complain of having chronic insomnia, which typically lasts at least one month.
Treating insomnia requires the patient and the doctor to work as partners to explore the causes and effects of the problem. Insomnia can be the result of a medical or psychiatric problem.
Narcolepsy manifests itself through excessive daytime sleepiness, uncontrollable sleep attacks, and muscle weakness triggered by sudden emotional reactions such as laughter or fear. Some patients may experience vivid dream-like scenes or paralysis upon falling asleep or awakening. With education and medication, this condition can be significantly improved.
Restless Legs Syndrome & Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep
Restless Legs Syndrome produces discomfort, a restless sensation and an urgency to move the legs just before sleep onset. It may be described as an aching or creeping sensation. Once asleep, the patient may experience periodic leg twitches or jerks which interrupt sleep. This condition can be treated with medication.
Sleep Apnea is frequently associated with snoring and daytime sleepiness. Breathing may stop repeatedly during sleep. Patients suffering from sleep apnea may have high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, diabetes and/or memory/concentration problems. In virtually all cases, this condition can be evaluated and treated with remarkable results.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a chronic illness that affects 5-7% of the world population and is associated with serious medical complications if untreated. Sufferers of this disease experience stomach acid coming back up through their throat and into their mouth while lying flat on their bed. Many of these patients wake up with a really bad taste in their mouth. Most patients with GERD also experience nighttime heartburn, which is more bothersome.
Tips for a Good Night of Sleep:
- No caffeine or alcohol 6 hours prior to bedtime.
- The bedroom is a place for sleeping. Keep televisions, computers, games and other distractions in other rooms.
- Keep your bedroom cool. If you are too hot or too cold, it is more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Exercise earlier in the day. Leave 3 or more hours for your body to cool down and relax before bedtime.
- Take warm soothing baths to help you relax.
- A light snack is okay just before bed. You dont want to go to bed too hungry or too full.
- There is no one perfect mattress or pillow for all. Find the mattress and pillow that makes you most comfortable.
- Try to keep the same bedtime and waketime every day.
Naps are okay, but limit them to 30 minutes or less, and take them 6 or more hours before bedtime.
If you have any problems or concerns with your quality of sleep, please call the Sleep Disorders Center of NGMC at 770-219-6263 for more information, or to schedule a consultation with our sleep specialist or medical director.