Millions of people have sleep disorders that prevent them from having a healthy sleep rhythm. This can lead to issues like chronic fatigue, irritability, headaches and lack of concentration. In some cases, an untreated sleep disorder may increase the risk for high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Our Sleep Medicine physicians can evaluate insomnia, narcolepsy (excessive daytime sleepiness), sleep-related movement disorders such as restless leg syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea.
Normal sleep: what is it?
How and when we sleep is determined by a number of factors. One of the most important is our internal clock, also known as our circadian rhythm. This clock regulates our biologic rhythm over a 24-hour period.
Sleep occurs in stages throughout the night. There is REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep. During non-REM sleep, many of the body’s restorative functions occur. During REM sleep, our thoughts and experiences from the day are processed and dreams may occur. Because we all have different rhythms, stages of sleep, and required amounts of sleep, there really is no “normal” sleep. It is when you routinely wake from sleep feeling unrefreshed or sleepy that there could be a problem.
Complete the Epworth Sleepiness Scale to determine your level of daytime sleepiness. A score of 10 or more is considered sleepy. A score of 18 or more is very sleepy. If you score 10 or more on this test, you should consider whether you are getting adequate sleep, need to improve your sleep hygiene and/or need to see a sleep specialist.