There may be nothing more frustrating than missing a good night’s sleep. After all, the next day you’re tired, running slow and maybe even a little grumpy. Fortunately, missing sleep every now and then, while not pleasant, usually isn’t cause for alarm. However, if lack of sleep becomes the norm, it’s a sign that you may have a health problem, possibly even a sleep disorder.
BayCare offers advanced diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders at one of our many specialized Sleep Disorders Centers located throughout the Tampa Bay area.
What is a Sleep Disorder?
Most experts recommend an average of eight hours of sleep per night. Without that amount on a regular basis, your health and well-being may be compromised. However, approximately 70 million American adults have a sleep problem, with nearly 40 million suffering from chronic sleep problems.
So what is a sleep disorder? It’s a medical problem that affects sleeping patterns, and as such, interferes with effective functioning during the day. It’s often complex and difficult to diagnose accurately, because there are a variety of other medical conditions with similar symptoms.
Types of Sleep Disorders
There are several different types of sleep disorders. Some of the most common include:
- Insomnia: Individuals suffering with insomnia have difficulty falling or staying asleep, or they may wake in the very early hours of the morning. There are numerous causes for insomnia such as other sleep disorders (i.e. sleep apnea) or even stress.
- Snoring: While sleeping, air passing from your nose or mouth to your lungs causes the tissues in your airway to vibrate. Snoring can wake you from your sleep or keep your partner from sleeping well.
- Sleep apnea: Although snoring by itself may disrupt a good night’s sleep, it can also be a sign of something more serious—sleep apnea. With sleep apnea, breathing pauses when the airway becomes blocked or collapses. When breathing resumes, it often starts with a snort or a gasp for air.
- Narcolepsy: Characterized by daytime “sleep attacks,” narcolepsy causes excessive sleepiness and uncontrollable urges to sleep that can result in suddenly falling asleep in unusual places or situations. Narcolepsy may also cause an abrupt loss of muscle control.
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): An uncomfortable sensation (often described as “creeping) and/or tingling in the legs are the key symptoms of this sleep disorder. Caused by a neurologic sensorimotor disorder, RSD produces a strong urge to move the legs when they’re at rest and tends to occur more frequently in the evening and at night time.
Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Disorders
Because of the complex nature of sleep disorders, it’s important to have the right medical team in place. The BayCare Health System sleep disorders staff partners with your doctor to ensure your sleep disorder is accurately diagnosed and the best treatment for your needs is given. Our overnight sleep facilities are state-of-the-art, with specialized professionals ready to perform a sleep evaluation. Sleep study rooms are private and designed for your comfort.
Once your sleep evaluation is completed, our team will provide your doctor with the results and recommendations to help treat your sleep disorder.
For more information or a physician referral, call (888) 906-8935.