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Sleep Disorders Defined

Insomnia: poor sleep at least 3 nights a week, persisting for over 3 months. And over 1/3 people have this and it’s liked to more than half of the common causes of death.

The five most common sleep disorders are insomnia, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, dream sleep (REM) behavior disorder and narcolepsy.

Sleep apnea is when someone has a pattern of not breathing for 10 seconds or longer, and the episodes can last for up to 30 seconds! If you think you have this, you need to get a sleep study.

Simple things can help sleep apnea: if you are obese begin to lose weight, even small amounts of weight loss may help; sleep on your side; and avoid alcohol for a few hours before bedtime.

Restless legs can usually be diagnosed by your primary care provider after reviewing your symptoms. Everyone with restless legs syndrome should get iron levels checked by at least evaluating a ferritin level. Alcohol and caffeine can exaggerate the symptoms of restless legs.

Dream disorders are often accompanied by very vivid dreams, or being completely alert and acting out behavior during dreams. There are medication treatments.

You most likely do not have a psychiatric disorder if you have insomnia, but if you do have depression, you may very well have a secondary sleep problem.

Body clock problems or so called Circadian Rhythm disorders, some people with hormone imbalances also have altered levels of melatonin that is causing the issues. .


Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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