Although many people experience occasional trouble sleeping, if the problem is severe or persistent, it may require medical attention. Sleep problems contribute to a variety of serious chronic health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and congestive heart failure.
Symptoms associated with sleep disorders include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Short-term or chronic insomnia (the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep)
- Snoring or irregular breathing during sleep
- Restless leg syndrome or other periodic limb movements
- Unexplained or worsening heart failure or edema
- Unexplained pulmonary hypertension
- Difficulty in controlling hypertension
- Sleep walking and other sleep disturbance behaviors
- Frequent morning headaches
Monitoring your sleep during an overnight sleep study is usually the only way to determine whether a sleeping disorder exists. A sleep study records functions of the lungs, heart and other parts of the body. Testing is painless, risk-free and usually takes one full night.
Test methods include:
- Nocturnal Polysonogram (NPSG) is an overnight sleep study that evaluates and records the patient's physical state during sleep periods. Each study lasts about nine hours, including time to prepare the monitors. Patients generally arrive two hours before their usual bedtime.
- Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) is a daytime nap study to measure degree of daytime sleepiness. This test consists of a series of up to five naps during the day at two-hour intervals.
It is estimated that between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from serious chronic and intermittent sleep disorders that undermine their sleep quality and their health. Some of the more common include:
- Insomnia: The complaint of an inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or awaking too early. This may be caused by poor sleep habits, alcohol, medications, and stress.
- Sleep Apnea: An obstruction of the upper airway that results in breathing pauses and sleep disruption. This is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that causes people to stop breathing many times while they sleep. People suffering from sleep apnea are more likely to have a higher risk of hypertension and strokes, as well as car accidents due to excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Narcolepsy: This ailment causes people to experience excessive daytime sleepiness and uncontrollable episodes of sleep. Narcolepsy is typically associated sudden loss of muscle tone, vivid hallucinations occurring just before sleep, and the transient sensation of being paralyzed during the transition between sleep and wakefulness.
- Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD): Periodic episodes of leg jerks or movements that disrupt sleep.
Many times lifestyle and behavior modifications can help patients with sleep-related disorders. These may involve dietary changes, weight-modification techniques, relaxation techniques, and other stress-reducers. LEarn more. When these are not effective, there are a number of non-surgical treatments that may be beneficial. Learn more about the available treatment options for sleep disorders.
Make an Appointment
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist, please call our scheduling line or request an appointment online.
Adult Neurology and Sleep Medicine
Adult Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine
- Dina B. KiaNoury, MD
- Tunay Kuru, MD, MHSA
- Anne E. O'Donnell, MD
- Cristina A. Reichner, MD
- Richard E. Waldhorn, MD
Pediatric Neurology and Sleep Medicine
Pediatric Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine
- Adult Sleep Center Patient Information Packet
- Adult Sleep Center Patient Information Packet (Spanish)
- Pediatric Sleep Center Patient Information Packet
- Pediatric Sleep Center Patient Information Packet (Spanish)
Home Sleep Testing
MedStar Georgetown offers home sleep testing in the sleep center. Please refer to links below for more information on how to hook up a device at home.