If you’re not sleeping well, you’re not the only one — approximately 40 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder. And, although just about everyone has trouble falling asleep occasionally, it’s not normal to lay waiting for sleep, or toss and turn, for more than 30 minutes each night.
Medical Director for the center is Jasvinder Singh, M.D., FACP, AACP, of Albemarle Pulmonary Medicine Associates.
Through the use of our state of the art technology, our qualified sleep technicians can diagnose a variety of disorders in patients as they sleep. Some common sleep disorders include sleep apnea, insomnia, and restless legs syndrome (RLS).
Sleep studies are painless procedures that measure your sleep patterns. A patient’s body functions are monitored electronically, through sensors placed on the head and body; and they are observed and filmed as they sleep. Our highly trained and experienced sleep technicians record brain waves and sleep patterns and then prepare a complete report for the patient’s physician.
If you believe you’re suffering from a sleep disorder, please talk to your physician about your symptoms. Then ask if a sleep study is right for you. A patient must be referred to the Sentara Sleep Center by a physician. For more information, please call us at (252) 384-2350.
Types of Sleeping Disorders
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder, characterized by loud and frequent snoring, followed by a snort or gasp. Many people suffering from this condition actually stop breathing while they sleep; from as little as 10 seconds to as long as 1 minute before the body wakes itself trying to breathe. This interruption of the breathing cycle can occur hundreds of times each night.
There is a connection between sleep apnea and heart disease. People with conditions such as high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke often have a high incidence of sleep apnea. And while we do not know whether sleep apnea actually causes heart disease, we do know those with sleep apnea are at greater risk of developing hypertension in the future. Learn more on how to prevent heart disease.
Insomnia is another typical sleep-related problem. Although just about everyone has trouble falling asleep every now and then, sleeplessness becomes insomnia if it happens repeatedly over time. If you regularly find it hard to fall asleep, can’t fall back to sleep after waking up in the night, or wake up too early, you may have insomnia.
Restless Legs Syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes unpleasant sensations in the legs, such as pins and needles or creepy-crawlies, and an urge to move while resting. More than 12 million Americans are thought to suffer from RLS, and more than 80 percent of those also experience periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) — involuntary leg twitching or jerking movements during sleep. While RLS may make it very difficult to fall sleep, those suffering with PLMD also awaken frequently and suffer through severely disrupted sleep.
Daytime symptoms associated with a lack of quality sleep include tiredness, increased levels of stress or tension, trouble focusing, lack of energy, and irritability. If left untreated, sleep disorders can lead to depression, health problems, and even accidents caused by drowsy driving.
Tips for a better night’s sleep:
- Go to bed only when you’re drowsy
- If you’re unable to fall asleep or stay asleep, leave your bedroom and engage in a quiet activity elsewhere — but, do not fall asleep outside the bedroom
- Maintain a regular wake-up time, even on the weekend
- Use the bedroom only for sleep and intimacy
- Avoid napping
- Distract your mind (e.g. try reading until you feel drowsy)
- Avoid caffeine within six hours of bedtime
- Avoid the use of nicotine (from smoking, other forms of tobacco, or stop smoking medications) close to bedtime
- Do not drink alcohol within six hours of bedtime
- While a light snack before bed-time can help promote sound sleep, avoid large meals
- Get regular exercise —but avoid strenuous exercise within four hours of bedtime
- Minimize light, noise, and extremes in temperature in the bedroom