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Our sleep clinic offers specialist tests and treatments to people with sleep disorders.
The sleep clinic offers specialist tests and treatments to people with sleep disorders.
A common sleep disorder we provide treatment for is snoring. Snoring is caused by turbulence inside the airway during inspiration, which is caused by a partial blockage anywhere from the tip of the nose to the vocal chords. During sleep our muscle tone is reduced and there may be insufficient muscle tone to prevent the airway tissue vibrating.
The following may help you reduce your snoring:
If you snore loudly and are sleepy during the day you may have OSA. The throat relaxes too much during sleep so that it flops shut, stopping breathing (apnoea). After a few seconds your brain detects what is happening and wakes you up so that your throat opens and breathing restarts. Sleep usually quickly returns but then further apnoeas can occur. You may also wake up choking, suffer from morning headaches, memory and concentration problems.
Simple measures may be all that is needed:
There is a combination of vivid dreams with an aggressive content, associated with often violent physical movements related to the content of the dream or nightmares. The condition is usually seen in men over 50, but can be brought on by drugs or alcohol in younger people.
Specific types of hypnotics are usually effective. Drugs such as Melatonin and Gabapentin may also be useful.
Some specific types of epilepsy occur particularly at night, such as frontal lobe epilepsy. This is often invisible on tests such as MRI or CT scans, but may cause episodes in which the person screams, makes wild movements and may walk out of bed. The episode subsides quickly and the person may feel scared.
Anticonvulsant drugs may be prescribed.
With RLS you experience the following:
Sleep paralysis is the inability to move the body before falling asleep or just after waking up. Almost half the population have experienced this on occasions. If it occurs often it may be part of a sleep disorder such as narcolepsy and requires further investigation.
The main symptoms of narcolepsy are:
If you regularly experience some or all of these symptoms then you may have a polysomnogram and multiple sleep latency test (MSLT).
Some people with narcolepsy have only mild symptoms and are able to use regular naps during the day to avoid falling asleep when they need to stay awake. Medicines may be prescribed to increase alertness during the day.
Symptoms of EDS, despite getting enough sleep are not uncommon, yet EDS is often under recognised or considered untreatable. EDS is a feature of several sleep conditions: OSA, narcolepsy, RLS and idiopathic hypersomnolence, which are easily treated.
If you have symptoms of OSA then you may have a simple home sleep study first. If the result is normal or OSA is not suspected then you will be admitted for a polysomnogram and a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT).
Medicines may be prescribed to increase alertness during the day.
Some people who cannot get to sleep at night find that they can sleep for a normal amount of time from the small hours of the morning into the next day. This is particularly common in the later teenage years and in older people.
Behavioural techniques may help. Ask the clinic for more information.
People suffering from primary insomnia find they continue to struggle to establish or maintain sleep at night when all of the other possible causes have been addressed.
The clinic offers support. Ask for more information.
Nightmares may be related to anxiety, stress or are a result of sleep deprivation. Depression and schizophrenia may also cause nightmares. Many drugs can increase the frequency and intensity of dreams, including dopaminergic drugs, beta blockers and antidepressants.
Relaxation techniques and imagery rehearsal therapy help encourage the dreamer to have more pleasant visions.
For more information, and if you have any queries about any of the disorders or treatments, ask your consultant.
These are not definitive lists and symptoms will vary with each patient.
The following are important for any sleep disorder or problem: