Patients who come to the center frequently have daytime symptoms such as sleepiness or fatigue, which often reflects a problem with sleep during the night.
This can take the form of an adequate amount of time in bed but loss of sleep time, as seen in sleep apnea (loud snoring, followed by cessation of breathing multiple times throughout the night.) or by narcolepsy (falling asleep briefly many times during the day, sometimes accompanied by cataplexy which is sudden loss of muscle strength brought on by a strong emotional stimulus such as anger, laughter, or fear.)
Another sleep disorder that directly affects nighttime sleep is periodic limb movements of sleep or PLMS (repeated jerking of the limbs, usually the legs during sleep) or Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Others have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. This comprises the large category of insomnia.
Other problems evaluated at the Center include sleep walking, grinding of teeth (Bruxism), night terrors, agitation and/or confusional states during sleep (REM behavior disorder) and problems associated with changing shift work or difficulties adjusting to a “normal” day/night schedule (Chronobiologic Disorders).
The key is getting the diagnosis. It is crucial that a patient see a sleep specialist who can determine what is wrong and suggest help for the patient. You would be amazed how a person’s quality of life improves once he or she receives treatment.