Common Sleep Disorders - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Common Sleep Disorders

You don’t snore (or at least no one’s accused you of it). You never have trouble falling asleep (usually). So that means you don’t have a sleep disorder, right?

While sleep apnea and insomnia are the most common sleep disorders, you might be having less-noticeable symptoms that appear only while you’re sleeping.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

What it is

A condition in which your legs feel very uncomfortable when you're sitting or lying down. These feelings, along with the urge to move, are made worse by rest.

Signs and symptoms

A strong, often uncontrollable urge to move your legs, or other uneasy feelings like burning, prickling, itching or tingling, or even pain.

Health risks

RLS patients feel very tired and have less energy during the day, and are also more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. People with severe RLS may get less than five hours of sleep each night, a total sleep time lower than almost any other sleep disorder.

Treatment options

Some RLS symptoms can be controlled by finding and treating an associated medical condition, such as peripheral neuropathy or diabetes. Patients with mild to moderate symptoms may benefit from lifestyle changes and activities. Medications for Parkinson’s disease are usually helpful, but no single medication effectively manages RLS for all individuals.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)

What it is

Simple, repetitive, uncontrollable and often imperceptive muscle movements that occur while your body is at rest. These muscle spasms happen in intervals anywhere from 20 to 40 seconds apart, usually during non-REM sleep.

Signs and symptoms

Brief muscle twitches, jerking movements or an upward flexing of the feet.

Health risks

PLMs alone rarely cause other medical problems, but it can be a factor in other sleep disorders like insomnia and narcolepsy.

Treatment options

PLMD is often treated with anti-Parkinson's medication, such as anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines and narcotic pain killers.

Narcolepsy

What it is

A chronic disorder of the central nervous system characterized by the brain's inability to control sleep-wake cycles. These “sleep attacks” can happen while eating, walking or driving.

Signs and symptoms

Falling asleep at unusual times and in awkward places, excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy (a sudden loss of voluntary muscle tone that may be triggered by strong emotions), vivid dream-like images or hallucinations during sleep onset or when waking, and brief episodes of total paralysis, also during sleep onset or when waking.

Health risks

Narcoleptic attacks can occur while driving an automobile or operating other types of machinery.

Treatment options

Narcolepsy has no cure, but medicines, lifestyle changes and other therapies can improve symptoms.

Parasomnias

What it is

A disruptive sleep-related disorder that can occur during arousals from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep or arousals from non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.

Signs and symptoms

Undesirable physical or verbal behaviors during sleep, such as sleepwalking, bed-wetting, teeth grinding, frequent nightmares, night terrors, nocturnal seizures or sleep paralysis.

Health risks

Persistent events can be a serious family problem; a person with parasomnias may exhibit aggressive or dangerous behavior during REM stages of sleep.

Treatment options

Treatment varies greatly based on age and severity of the symptoms. Adult patients may take self-protection measures by tethering themselves to bed, using pillow barricades or sleeping in an empty room on a mattress.

Chronic sleep deprivation

What it is

A severe and continual lack of sleep, when the patient routinely sleeps less than what is required for optimal functioning.

Signs and symptoms

Aching muscles, confusion or memory lapses, depression, headaches, hand tremors, hallucinations, unexplained irritability and excessive yawning.

Health risks

Sleep deprivation can adversely affect the brain and cognitive function, the body’s healing process, memory, weight changes and increase risk for other diseases, such as diabetes and fibromyalgia.

Treatment options

Various behavioral and psychological techniques, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Are you ready to put your sleep problems to rest?

If you think you may have a sleep disorder, call the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Centers at 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703) or use our easy online request form – our sleep technicians are available 24 hours a day.