Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder. The most common signs of OSA include snoring, tossing and turning, pauses of breathe or gasping during sleep, sleepiness during the day, trouble concentrating, morning headaches, and irritability.
OSA happens when a person of any age goes to sleep and the muscles that normally stiffen and open the throat instead will relax, leading to a partial or complete obstruction in the airway for 10 or more seconds. Untreated OSA may lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, depression, obesity and falling asleep while driving.
Insomnia is an experience of inadequate and/or poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and waking up too early in the morning. Insomnia can occur in people of all ages.
Insomnia can be caused by stressful situations. For example, lying in bed thinking of a school exam, sporting event, travel plans or important business meeting that you may have the next day is an example of staying awake due to insomnia. Relationship problems, crossing time zones, shift work, exercising too close to bed time, sleeping away from home, being sick and having very poor sleep hygiene can also cause insomnia.
Periodic Limb Movement
Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is jerking movements of the legs and sometimes the arms or even the entire body during sleep. PLMD may disturb normal sleep by partially waking in the brain.
People with PLMD usually do not feel their nighttime movements and may only notice restless sleep or excessive daytime sleepiness. Their bed partner may have just as much or more disturbed sleep and daytime sleepiness from all the jerking and kicking.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by the irresistible urge to move the legs and (rarely) arms. RLS is more common in older people but it can occur at any age. People with RLS may describe the sensation in many different ways, including unpleasant, itching, creeping, pulling, tugging or creepy-crawly.
RLS symptoms start or become worse when a person is at rest, such as riding in a car or airplane, or sitting in a movie, concert or business meeting. The longer the rest, the greater the symptoms may become. Symptoms decrease as a person becomes physically active. These sensations are often disturbing enough to cause insomnia.
Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological sleep disorder characterized by uncontrollable sleep attacks, caused by excessive sleepiness. These sleep attacks usually occur multiple times a day, even when a person gets adequate sleep. Four common symptoms of narcolepsy are daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucination.
- Cataplexy is a sudden loss of muscle tone. Cataplexy can be mild, such as a brief feeling of weakness in the knees, or it may cause a complete collapse. Attacks can occur at any time when a person is awake. Cataplexy can occur spontaneously, but is more often triggered by sudden strong emotions, such as fear, anger, or stress, or by laughter, excitement and humor.
- Sleep paralysis is a brief loss of muscle strength when a person is falling asleep or waking. The person may be aware of the surroundings, but is not able to move or speak. Sleep paralysis is a very frightening event, especially the first time it happens.
- Hypnagogic hallucinations are episodes of seeing and hearing things as you are falling asleep. Hallucinations are vivid dreams and occur between waking and sleeping, usually at the onset of sleep. Hypnagogic hallucinations may be frightening because the person is partially awake and has no control over the event.