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Sleep: The Basics

  • All
  • Narcolepsy
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Restless Leg Syndrome

What are the symptoms of narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is not difficult to diagnose, since its symptoms are quite hard to ignore. Excessive daytime sleepiness that inhibits normal activities is the biggest clue. Memory lapses, cataplexy, hallucinations, sleep paralysis and concentration difficulty are also common signs.

What causes narcolepsy?

Like many other disorders, the exact origin of narcolepsy is unknown. Researchers have been able to associate certain genes with the development of narcolepsy, as well a chemical deficiency of hypocretin by the brain. Abnormalities in regions of the brain responsible for REM sleep regulation also contributes to possible neurological dysfunction.

What is narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder where the brain lacks proper control of sleep and wakefulness functions. The brain’s inability to control when to sleep and when to stay awake, leads to daytime sleepiness and uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the day. These episodes of sleep are sudden and can occur randomly throughout the day.

What drugs are used to treat insomnia?

Prescription sleep medications frequently used to treat insomnia are Doxepine, Eszopiclone, Ramelteon, Suvorexant, Zaleplon and Zolpidem. Some doctors also suggest therapy to treat insomnia. Almost all sleep aids can lead to a form of addiction and are not easily stopped.

What causes insomnia?

Your insomnia could be caused by any number of reasons. Acute insomnia can come and go in periods lasting for up to several weeks and can usually be attributed to a lifestyle change that is related to stress, diet or a recent medical condition. Chronic insomnia is insomnia that persists for longer than a month and can even be lifelong. Psychological disorders or a state of hyperarousal can also cause paradoxical insomnia that may occur for seemingly no reason at all.

How can I prevent insomnia?

Healthy sleeping hygiene, or good sleeping habits, have proven effective in dealing with acute insomnia. Most importantly, maintain a regular sleeping schedule: try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day and avoid naps. Devices with screens, like e-readers and cell phones, emit a light that makes it difficult for you to sleep at night. Exercise regularly and avoid caffeine and nicotine 3−4 hours before bed.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

If you think you have sleep apnea, you need to look for certain symptoms. Loud snoring, periods of breathing cessation, abrupt awakenings with shortness of breath, morning headaches, excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia and irritability can manifest in sleep apnea sufferers. A sleep specialist or doctor should be able to confirm diagnosis, possibly doing a sleep study.

What causes sleep apnea?

The cause of obstructive sleep apnea is due to throat muscle relaxation. When the muscle is relaxed, the airway narrows or closes and inhibits the body from breathing in. Central sleep apnea, which is less common, is caused by lack of signals to your breathing muscles during sleep, causing you to stop breathing.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where the person periodically stops breathing. You may have obstructive or central sleep apnea, or a more complex version that is a combination of both.  The first occurs with throat muscle relaxation and the last when the brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control your breathing.

How is restless leg syndrome treated?

Restless leg syndrome can be helped with dietary supplements, medication, physical therapy and self-care treatments. The main focus is determining if the disorder is primary or secondary. If it is secondary, it means it worsened as a side effect of another illness. Curing that illness will improve restless leg syndrome.

What causes restless leg syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome can be related to a lack of iron, nerve damage in legs or feet and certain medications. The real cause of restless leg syndrome is not known.


What is restless leg syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome is when a person has strong urges to move their legs. A crawling, tingling, aching feeling also accompanies the urge. The feeling tends to appear during the night or when you are resting during the day.