If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, you're not alone. The National Sleep Foundation reports that nearly seven out of 10 Americans say they frequently have problems getting a good night's sleep. And that may be cause for concern, says Henry Raroque, Jr., M.D., a board-certified neurologist and sleep specialist on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine.
A long-term pattern of disrupted sleep may reflect an underlying sleep disorder that, left untreated, could become a serious health issue.
"Shortchanging our bodies of the sleep we need not only leads to extreme fatigue," Dr. Raroque explains, "but also could contribute to high blood pressure, stroke, heart problems and even depression."
Dr. Raroque says that sometimes only a few lifestyle changes are required to improve the quality of your sleep. For others, a medical sleep study might be the answer.
At the Baylor Grapevine Sleep Lab, patients stay overnight in a suite with all the comforts of home, including hardwood floors, private restrooms, a full-size bed, and a TV with a DVD player and VCR. During a seven-to eight-hour period, their brain activity, sleep states, heart rate, breathing and oxygen levels, and leg and eye movements are electronically recorded, monitored and studied by a specially trained sleep technician. Then qualified sleep specialists interpret the results. If a problem is diagnosed, one of several treatment options will be recommended.
Following, are 10 common sleep disorders:
2. Sleep apnea
5. Restless leg syndrome
6. Periodic limb movement
7. Sleep terrors
8. Jet lag
9. Shift work
10. Inadequate sleep hygiene