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Trouble sleeping? You are not alone.
At least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders each year, and another 20 million have occasional sleeping problems.
Sleep is more than rest. It is essential to normal function and physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation interferes with work, driving and social activities. Doctors have described more than 70 sleep disorders, most of which can be managed effectively once they are correctly diagnosed.
Delray's Sleep Disorders Program offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for the wide variety of sleep disorders. To diagnose sleep disorders, the program has advanced technology and an equipped sleep laboratory for overnight evaluations. A team of experienced, credentialed health professionals staff the sleep lab. Treatment may include medication, change of habits or a variety of other interventions.
Common sleep disorders include:
- Sleep Apnea
- Restless Legs Syndrome
Sleep disorders have many different causes and symptoms. Some people have a hard time sleeping, while others sleep at inappropriate times. Some problems are temporary, while others are chronic.
- Daytime sleepiness even after 7 to 9 hours of sleep
- Been observed to stop breathing during sleep
- Periodic limb movements
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Sudden muscle weakness when angry or excited
- Paralysis upon awakening or when falling asleep
- Nightmares or bad dreams
- Acting out dreams
Diagnosis, the first step in treating a sleep disorder, may require an overnight sleep study known as a polysomnogram. This evaluation includes:
- EEG: Monitors brain wave activity to determine sleep stages and awakenings.
- EKG: Records heart activity to monitor for abnormalities.
- EOG: Electrooculography monitors eye movement activity.
- EMG: Electromyography to monitor abnormal limb movements and sleep behaviors.
Other Types of Testing
- MSLT: Monitors sleep onset and sleep stages during four to five naps. A sleep study is done before this test for accurate diagnosis.
- MWT: Monitors ability to stay awake in extreme circumstances.
- CPAP: Oxygen levels and breathing are assessed to determine abnormalities that may indicate a sleep disorder.
What Happens During a Sleep Study?
Patients usually arrive a few hours before bedtime. The sleep lab is a comfortable, private room with a bed, with surroundings designed to simulate your home sleep environment. Experienced, credentialed sleep technologists apply monitors and monitor you throughout the night.
The results of the sleep study will be sent to your physician. If you are diagnosed with a sleep disorder, our staff will recommend a treatment plan. Your physician will be responsible for your follow-up care.
More About Sleep Disorders
Until the 1950s, most people thought of sleep as a passive, dormant part of our lives. Doctors now know that our brains are active during sleep. Sleep affects daily functioning and physical and mental health in many ways.
During sleep, we usually pass through different phases. These stages progress in a cycle from stage one to REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. The first few stages are light stages of sleep. The last few stages of sleep are more restorative.
Some sleep disorders never allow a person to progress beyond the light phases. That is why they do not feel rested, even after a full night of sleep.
Since different brain signals influence sleep and wakefulness, foods and medicines that change the balance of these signals affect whether we feel alert or drowsy and how well we sleep. Caffeinated drinks and some medications can cause insomnia. Heavy smokers often sleep very lightly and have reduced amounts of REM sleep. Many people with insomnia try to solve the problem with alcohol. While alcohol does help people fall into light sleep, it also robs them of the more restorative stages of sleep by keeping them in the lighter stages of sleep.
Although scientists are still trying to learn exactly why people need sleep, animal studies show that sleep is necessary for survival. Sleep appears necessary for our nervous systems to work properly. Too little sleep leaves us drowsy and unable to concentrate the next day. Researchers have found that people with chronic insomnia have a higher incidence of psychiatric problems such as anxiety and depression and are more likely to use healthcare services.
For a free physician referral, please call 1-866-358-4DOC.