Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder. It is when breathing slows or stops for a few seconds or minutes during sleep. Apnea is when breathing stops for any reason. At night, our breathing is controlled by our brain and nervous system. The various forms of sleep apnea either obstruct or stop ones breathing. The various forms of sleep apnea can have the same symptoms. The most common signs are:
- Loud snoring
- Awakening with a dry or sore mouth
- Tiredness after a full night sleep
- Choking or gasping sounds
Obstructive sleep apnea
This is most common form. With this condition, the throat muscles relax during sleep, blocking the airway. Approximately 18 million Americans – 1 out of every 15 adults – have OSA, which frequently occurs as a result of the tongue falling back in the throat during sleep, blocking the airway and preventing oxygen from going to the blood. When this occurs, for some, hundreds of times per night, the brain wakes up the body to take a breath.
Central sleep apnea (CA)
Central sleep apnea is when the brain stops sending signals to the muscles to breath, causing breathing to stop. After a short period of time, your body will start breathing again.
You may not realize you have this form of sleep apnea because unlike obstructive sleep apnea, you may not be woken up by the symptoms.
Mixed sleep apnea (MA)
This is when you experience central and obstructive sleep apnea at the same time. If you think you may have either form of sleep apnea, it may be recommended that you have an overnight sleep study to test for mixed sleep apnea.
Learn more about sleep apnea >
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in which a person has trouble falling or staying asleep throughout the night. Our brains have a wake and sleep cycle. Insomnia may be caused by our brains need to be awake or it has too little sleep drive. Insomnia can also be caused by other medical or psychiatric conditions like:
- Sinus allergies
- Chronic pain
- Medications - high blood pressure, depression, birth control
Learn more about insomnia >
Restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is a neurological sleep disorder that urges you to move your legs. When trying to fall asleep, this can make it hard to get comfortable. Restless leg syndrome can occur during the day with symptoms worsening at night. Some symptoms of restless leg syndrome are:
- Urge to move your legs
- Burning or itching inside your legs
- Trouble sitting for long periods of time
- Less than 5 hours of sleep per night
Like other sleep disorders, restless leg syndrome can cause you to see impacts on other areas of your life.
Parasomnias is many sleep disorders that involve unwanted experiences before, during or after sleep. Some symptoms may include abnormal movements, perceptions or dreams. These dreams can occur through the night and you may have no recollection in the morning. There are various types of parasomnia including:
- Sleep walking
- Sleep terrors
- REM sleep behavior disorder
- Frequent nightmares
- Sleep hallucinations
- Sleep talking
Narcolepsy is a lifelong sleep disorder where you feel very tired suddenly, which may even cause you to instantly fall asleep. This disorder is extremely rare in children, but about 2,000 people have some form of narcolepsy and may not be aware. Symptoms of narcolepsy include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Sleep paralysis
- Memory problems
- Sudden loss of muscle tone
Learn more about narcolepsy >