People with sleep apnea have periods when they briefly stop breathing. Episodes last at least 10 seconds and may occur anywhere from five to 50 times an hour. Sleep apnea is often associated with loud snoring, snorting or even gasping for breath. Because it interrupts normal sleep cycles, people with sleep apnea often experience daytime sleepiness, depression and memory and other intellectual difficulties. More than 25 million people in the United States are estimated to have some form of sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, irregular heartbeats and heart attack.
This disorder involves uncontrollable bouts of excessive sleepiness. Sufferers may fall asleep suddenly when upset, laughing or performing routine tasks such as driving. In addition, they may experience vivid hallucinations during sleep.
Up to one-third of the U.S. population experiences insomnia or difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Symptoms include daytime sleepiness, fatigue, poor concentration, decreased alertness, muscle aches, depression and an over-emotional state. Many people experience occasional insomnia due to stress, illness, temporary pain or disruption of sleep/wake cycles. When the problem continues long enough to interfere with daily life, consultation with a health care provider is needed. Insomnia may be caused by health conditions such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, gastrointestinal disorders, pain, congestive heart failure or emphysema.
Restless Leg Syndrome
With this disorder, legs (and even arms) move involuntarily during sleep. Often, uncomfortable sensations in the legs lead to an irresistible need to move the legs, which prevents the person from falling asleep. Patients may complain of insomnia, excessive sleepiness or both.
Sleep Problems in Children
Children with problems such as sleep apnea, insomnia and other sleep disorders can be diagnosed and treated at the AMH Sleep Lab. The lab is also a resource for families with children who experience problems such as sleepwalking, nightmares and excessive snoring.
Learn more about our Sleep Lab.