Mercy Sleep Center
Sleepless in Stark?
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 100 million Americans of all ages suffer from sleep disorders that keep them from regularly getting a good night's rest. We're not talking about missing sleep just because you work late at the office or need to get up early. There are 84 different sleep disorders, and they are far from minor nuisances. Not only do they make you lose sleep, they can put your health at risk.
One of these common sleep disorders may be the culprit:
- Sleep Apnea
The single most common sleep disorder - and one of the most dangerous - is obstructive sleep apnea. People with the disorder actually stop breathing, momentarily, while asleep - even hundreds of times - without being aware of the problem. During an apnea attack, the patient may seem to gasp for breath, and the oxygen level in the blood may become abnormally low. People with Sleep Apnea have a greater risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
Periodic Limb Movement (PLM) - In PLM (also called nocturnal myclonus), involuntary arm or leg movements cause sleep disruption. PLM tends to run in families and can be treated with medication.
- Restless Legs
Associated with PLM, restless legs refers to a "creepy crawly" sensation deep in the legs that is relieved by movement - which makes it difficult to fall asleep.
This is simply an inability to fall or stay asleep. It can be caused by poor sleep hygiene, caffeine, chronic stress and anxiety, antidepressants and other medications, shift work and jet lag. Sometimes people who try too hard to fall asleep can develop negative conditioning, almost like "performance anxiety," which in turn makes it even harder to sleep.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes people to become irresistibly sleepy at inappropriate times, such as while working or driving. In addition to sleepiness, symptoms include cataplexy, a kind of conscious paralysis.
These are undesirable physical phenomena that occur during sleep such as sleepwalking, sleep talking, night terrors and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep behavior disorder.
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Often times a person who falls asleep easily is thought of as lazy or bored. The truth is 80% of these people have a treatable medical problem such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy or periodic limb movements of sleep.
- Loud Snoring
Although for most people snoring has little medical consequence, for some, snoring causes poor sleep. Snoring may be the first indication of sleep apnea.
Up to 35 million Americans report poor sleep on every night, on most nights or during several nights each month. About 50% of them have physical causes such as Periodic Limb Movement during sleep or Restless Legs - both of which are treatable. Medical consultation can help improve sleep in most of the other 50% of cases as well.
Here are some other common symptoms of sleep disorders:
- Feeling unrefreshed upon awakening
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Inability to fall or stay asleep
- Episodes of paralysis lasting 5 to 10 seconds
- Sleep walking, sleep talking or persistent nightmares
- Restless legs
- Mood change, especially increase in irritability
Treatment begins with a proper diagnosis. Mercy Sleep Center has an experienced team of expert, board-certified physicians that can evaluate if you may benefit from an overnight sleep test that is non-invasive and painless and can diagnose a variety of common sleep disturbances.
Our sleep labs at Mercy Medical Center and at Mercy Health Center of Jackson feature private, homelike bedrooms, each with a double bed, TV and bathroom. An unobtrusive infrared camera pointed at the bed allows the sleep technician (polysomnographer) to observe the patient's sleep activity even in complete darkness.
If you have symptoms of a sleep disorder, ask your family physician to refer you to the Mercy Sleep Center or call us directly at 330-489-1456 (Mercy Medical Center) or 330-458-4180 (Mercy Health Center of Jackson), and you will be referred to a physician who has special training in sleep disorders. Mercy staff physicians are available to treat pediatric patients to seniors. Diagnostic studies are covered by Medicare and most insurance plans.