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Sleep Disorders

There are at least 84 recognized sleep disorders for which a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan can be made in consultation with a sleep medicine specialist utilizing sleep testing. Some of the most common include:


Snoring is often the symptom that brings someone to a sleep center for evaluation. Snoring is almost always present in patients with obstructive sleep apnea however not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Snoring even without sleep apnea is thought to increase the chance of high blood pressure.

Sleep Apnea:

A common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, sometimes associated with gasping for air or pauses in breathing noted by a bed partner. Sleep disruption including frequent bathroom trips, dry mouth, sore throat, or headache upon awakening, are also common. These sleep disruptions result in restless sleep or poorly refreshing sleep and daytime sleepiness. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in older adults and patients with obesity, but it can occur at any age, even in people who are thin. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can lead to other medical problems including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, as well as impaired concentration and depressed mood.


Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep is the most common sleep complaint, and can result from many causes. A detailed sleep history and sleep diary provide the first clues to the diagnosis, but additional testing with an overnight polysomnogram may be necessary in some cases to rule out physical disruptions of sleep.


This disorder is characterized by episodes of excessive sleepiness during the day, often associated with involuntary napping. Additional symptoms may include a sudden loss of muscle strength (cataplexy), often triggered by emotion, or hallucinations which occur at sleep onset or just after awakening. Sleep paralysis (momentary paralysis on awakening or falling asleep) may also occur. A diagnosis of narcolepsy is based on obtaining a detailed sleep history and physical examination followed by overnight polysomnography and MSLT testing.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS):

This condition is characterized by discomfort and a restless sensation in the legs that may make it difficult to sleep or to relax comfortably, particularly in the evening hours. The discomfort can usually be temporarily relieved by movement. This sleep disruption can lead to daytime fatigue.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD):

This condition often accompanies restless legs syndrome, but may occur alone. It is characterized by repetitive jerking or kicking movements during sleep, which may cause sleep disruption, unrefreshing sleep, or daytime sleepiness.