An estimated 50-70 million Americans are affected by sleep disorders, 95% of whom remain undiagnosed. Sleep disorders may significantly impact job performance, relationships, mood, sex drive and health.
- Nearly one-third of traffic fatalities that occur at high-speed on long stretches of highway are caused by drivers falling asleep.
- Children with sleep apnea can have symptoms that resemble attention deficit disorder and/or depression, and lead to poor school performance and behavior problems.
- Adolescents with sleep disorders can have trouble performing in school.
Symptoms of Sleep Disorders
Answer these questions for you or your child to determine if you or they may have a sleep problem:
- Do you have difficulty sleeping through the night?
- Are you sleepy during the day?
- Do you snore?
- Have you been told that there are short periods when you stop breathing at night?
- Do you wake up with a headache?
- Do you have unrefreshing sleep?
- Are you a restless sleeper?
- Do you walk in your sleep?
- Do you act out your dreams?
- Do you ever feel like you can’t move, either when going to sleep or when waking up?
- Do you experience sudden episodes of weakness in any part of your body during emotional moments?
- When going to sleep, do you get an irritable or creepy feeling in your legs that improves when you move?
Even a single “yes” answer in this list of questions could mean that you have a sleep disorder.
Marie Radcliff was being treated for a very persistent cough when her doctor noticed she kept dozing off in the waiting room. After asking her to complete a sleep survey and follow-up sleep study, Marie was diagnosed with sleep apnea. Watch Marie’s story to learn how effective treatment has improved her quality of life.
Types of Sleep Disorders
- Sleep Apnea—People with this disorder often snore loudly and are tired during the day. Up to 24% of adults and up to 4% of children suffer from sleep apnea. This condition can increase risk for heart attack, irregular heartbeat and stroke. An overnight sleep study confirms the diagnosis.
Treatment may include wearing a small pressurized nasal mask, surgery, wearing a device that prevents you from laying on your back, weight loss and/or an oral appliance that pushes your jaw forward and makes more room in the back of your throat.
- Insomnia—Approximately 30% of people have some degree of insomnia defined as difficulty either falling or staying asleep. This can cause daytime fatigue and irritability. Most patients can be successfully treated without medication.
- Restless Leg Syndrome—Described as an “irritable” sensation in the legs, or less commonly in the arms, this disorder may make sleeping difficult. Medication as well as behavior modification are very effective for treating Restless Leg Syndrome.
- Narcolepsy—Most commonly, people with narcolepsy have excessive daytime sleepiness, but the disorder is also characterized by sudden weakness in the body, hallucination and/or having a sensation of being unable to move while half asleep. Narcolepsy can be inherited. Though it is often misdiagnosed, narcolepsy is easily treated with medication.
- REM Behavior Disorder—People may act out their dreams while sleeping and could injure themselves or their bed partner, for instance by swinging their arms as if fighting someone. Low doses of medication are very effective at correcting this disorder.
Types of Sleep Disorders in Children
- Sleep Onset Association Disorder—An infant’s inability to fall asleep alone. Parents often respond by rocking the child, giving a bottle or pacifier, or even putting the baby in the car in the middle of the night for a drive. Behavioral treatment usually solves the problem.
- Limit-setting Sleep Disorder—When children constantly refuse or stall going to bed. Classic examples are behavioral patterns such as repeatedly asking for another story or drink of water. Treatment typically involves behavior modification techniques.
- Phase Delay—Difficulty going to sleep and waking up, primarily in adolescents. Light therapy and melatonin can provide effective solutions.
Sleep Disorder Specialists
Depend on sleep specialists at the Connecticut Center for Sleep Medicine for accurate diagnosis and treatment for your sleep problems. One of the best ways to diagnose a suspected sleep disorder is with an overnight sleep study, also called a polysomnogram (PSG).
Your Sleep Study
We'll invite you to feel at home in our sleep center accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Your room is attractively furnished to look like a hotel room with a queen-size bed, luxury reclining chair, cable television and a private bath with a shower. If you wish, you can bring a guest, which is especially important for pediatric patients.
- You will arrive at Stamford Hospital for your sleep study between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. We will give you time to settle into your comfortable hotel-like room with a private bathroom and shower.
- Our sleep technology specialist will prepare you for the sleep study, applying adhesive electrodes to connect you to our monitoring equipment. This process is not uncomfortable.
- You will be free to watch television or read until you are ready to go to sleep. The study will be conducted throughout the night while you sleep, and you can leave for your normal routine in the morning.
Note: we are generally able to schedule sleep studies within two weeks. Most insurance companies and managed care plans cover the cost of evaluating, testing and treating sleep disorders.