Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different types of sleep disorders?
Snoring is very common but it may be a sign that something is seriously wrong with your breathing during sleep. When you snore the airway is not fully open and air has to be forced through the narrowed passageway. Approximately 10 to 30 percent of adults snore and for the most part, there are no serious medical consequences. However, habitual snoring may be an indication of obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening disorder.
- Sleep apnea
Sleep Apnea is a disorder of breathing during sleep that is typically accompanied by loud snoring. Apnea during sleep consists of brief periods throughout the night in which breathing stops. People with sleep apnea do not get enough oxygen during sleep. There are two major types.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common type and is due to an obstruction in the throat during sleep. Bed partners notice pauses approximately 10 to 60 seconds between loud snores. The narrowing of the upper airway can be a result of several factors including inherent physical characteristics, excess weight, and alcohol consumption before sleep. Central Sleep Apnea is caused by a delay in the signal from the brain to breathing. With both obstructive and central apnea you must wake up briefly to breathe, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. Usually there is no memory of these brief awakenings.
Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep is known as insomnia. One in three Americans suffer from insomnia, which afflicts people of all ages. Many factors can contribute to insomnia, such as stress, stimulants (i.e. caffeine or nicotine) taken near bedtime, environmental factors such as noise, late hours or shift work, medications, and physical illness. Although insomnia can last from a few days to a few weeks for some people it can last for months or years and seriously affect their day-to-day lives.
- Narcolepsy and Idiopathic Hypersomnia
Narcolepsy is defined as undesirable sleepiness at inappropriate times. This disorder includes one or a combination of the following: excessive daytime sleepiness; cataplexy, or brief loss of muscle control; sleep paralysis; and hallucinations or vivid dreamlike experiences that occur during drowsy episodes.
While the exact cause of narcolepsy is unknown it is believed to come from the part of the central nervous system that controls sleep and wakefulness.
Parasomnias refer to a wide variety of disruptive sleep-related events such as confusional arousals, night terrors, teeth grinding, sleepwalking and sleep talking, among others. Although usually infrequent and mild, these events may occur often enough to require medical attention.
- Restless Legs and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
People experiencing twitching in the legs or arms during the night suffer from periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). These muscle jerks may occur infrequently or as often as once or twice each minute. PLMD seldom awakens the sleeper. However, it interferes with sound sleep and many people suffering from PLMD suffer from insomnia and feel excessively sleepy during the day.
In addition, people who have PLMD may also have restless leg syndrome when awake. This syndrome causes a peculiar crawling sensation in the calves or thighs that occurs when the patient is sitting or lying down.
How much does a sleep study cost?
- Most insurance companies and managed care plans cover the cost of evaluating, testing, and treating sleep disorders. The Center’s staff can assist you and your doctor in obtaining the necessary pre-authorizations from your health plan. The Edythe Kurz Center for Sleep Medicine at Nyack Hospital participates with most major insurance companies. Under special circumstances individual payment plans can be arranged. Don’t let cost cause a delay in diagnosis and treatment. Call today for the care you need.
Are sleep disorders serious?
Consider these interesting facts:
- Sleepiness is a contributing factor to many motor vehicle accidents. Four percent of all traffic fatalities and as many as 30 percent of fatalities on high-speed boring stretches of highway result from a driver falling asleep at the wheel.
- Sleepiness has been implicated as a contributing factor to major industrial accidents and environmental disasters such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
- Loud snoring can create a severe strain on a relationship. Imagine sleeping next to a buzz saw every evening.
- Sleep apnea – when a person actually stops breathing – is closely associated with a number of serious medical conditions including hypertension, coronary artery disease and stroke.
- Untreated, chronic insomnia may lead to depression.
- Tiredness diminishes concentration and interest and saps the enjoyment from life.
- Each year sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, and sleepiness add an estimated $15.9 billion to America’s healthcare bill.
What is a polysomnogram?
A polysomnogram or sleep study is a non-invasive overnight test which records your sleep pattern, breathing, oxygen level, heart rate and rhythm, and muscle tone while you sleep in a private hotel-like room at our center.
How are sleep disorders diagnosed and treated?
Diagnosis begins with recognition of the possibility of a sleep disorder by patient bed, partner, or doctor. For some disorders such as insomnia or restless leg syndrome, history, sometimes supplemented by other testing or the maintenance of sleep diaries, reveals the problem. For other disorders such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy, the disorder must be confirmed by a sleep study or polysomnogram. For narcolepsy and occasionally other conditions, this study is followed the next day by a similar test performed during brief naps (multiple sleep latency test). Sleep apnea may be treated by one or a combination of these therapies: surgery, dental appliance, weight loss and/or a breathing device called nasal CPAP. Narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome are treated with medications. Insomnia is treated primarily by behavioral approaches including a re-learning of sleep habits.