Sleep

Sleep

More than half of Americans experience sleep problems, from sleep apnea to snoring to narcolepsy. Drugs and devices are stepping in to relieve symptoms.

The insomnia definition experts use is consistent difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or a combination of both. People with insomnia toss and turn in bed, and never feel as though they’ve gotten a satisfying night’s sleep.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which people repeatedly stop breathing throughout the night. Each time their brain restarts breathing, they briefly wake up. Because pauses in breathing can occur many times an hour, people with sleep apnea have constantly disrupted sleep.

People who are overweight are at greatest risk for sleep apnea, because excess tissue tends to fall over their airways and block breathing. Sleep apnea is often undiagnosed, but it’s important to get it identified and treated, because having this condition over time can increase the risk for conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. One telltale sign you have sleep apnea is snoring. Other sleep apnea symptoms include sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, depression, and headaches.

Sleep apnea treatments include a CPAP machine, which gently blows air into your throat through a mask during the night. This constant flow of air keeps your airway open and prevents you from snoring while you sleep. A mouthpiece called an oral appliance can also keep the airways open. Losing weight and quitting smoking are lifestyle measures that can help relieve apnea symptoms. Sometimes surgery is done to remove excess tissue and widen breathing passages.

People with narcolepsy fall asleep at unexpected times during the day. Problems with their sleep-wake cycle make them sleep poorly at night, and feel unusually tired during the day as a result. Antidepressants and other medicines can help control narcolepsy symptoms.

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How to Cure Sleep Apnea: 4 Non-CPAP Remedies

How to Cure Sleep Apnea: 4 Non-CPAP Remedies

· · Sleep

Untreated or poorly treated sleep apnea leaves you tired all the time and suffering from excessive daytime sleepiness and other sleep apnea symptoms. Use of the continuous positive airway pressure device or CPAP mask has been the gold standard of cures for sleep apnea over the past 25 years. But  … Read More

Myoclonus: An Innocent Twitch—or a Serious Illness?

Myoclonus: An Innocent Twitch—or a Serious Illness?

· · Sleep

What is myoclonus? According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, myoclonus “refers to sudden, involuntary jerking of a muscle or group of muscles.” It is a symptom, not a disease, affecting 8.6 people per 100,000 in its more serious presentations. A myoclonic twitch or a myoclonic jerk—when  … Read More

What Causes Nightmares? 7 Common Triggers

What Causes Nightmares? 7 Common Triggers

· · Sleep

You may remember, as a kid, occasionally waking up in a cold sweat, startled out of your slumber by one of those frighteningly vivid nightmares. Perhaps the experience still pops up from time to time; bad dreams may be more common in children, but adults aren’t immune to them. Around  … Read More

Melatonin May Help You Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Melatonin May Help You Get a Better Night’s Sleep

· · Sleep

Melatonin is called the “hormone of darkness” because it helps signal the body that it’s night and time to sleep. It’s secreted by the pineal gland in the brain about every 24 hours in a dark environment, typically starting around 90 minutes before you usually fall asleep. Levels stay elevated  … Read More

Why Am I Having Hypnagogic Hallucinations?

Why Am I Having Hypnagogic Hallucinations?

· · Sleep

Do you ever have wild visions or dreams that are extremely vivid and seem like real life just as you’re falling asleep? You may be experiencing hypnagogic hallucinations, a condition often associated with narcolepsy. In fact, hypnagogic hallucinations are among the four most common narcolepsy symptoms, along with sleep paralysis,  … Read More

Sleep Stages: Understanding the Sleep Cycle

Sleep Stages: Understanding the Sleep Cycle

· · Sleep

One-third of all American adults are not getting enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But why does it matter so much? Well, simply put: Inadequate sleep is bad for your health. It’s linked to chronic conditions and illnesses like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and depression.  … Read More

How to Treat Jet Lag

How to Treat Jet Lag

· · Sleep

Jet lag is a sleep phase disorder that occurs when traveling across time zones. In the days of leisurely ocean liner crossings and cross-country rail travel, the body had time to adjust to different time zones, but the advent of air travel changed that.

When you cross into a new time  … Read More

Hypersomnia Causes and Treatment

Hypersomnia Causes and Treatment

· · Sleep

Hypersomnia is characterized by episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness, even with adequate nighttime sleep, or prolonged nighttime sleep. This condition is different from the daytime sleepiness and sleep episodes of narcolepsy or feeling tired due to occasional insomnia. People with hypersomnia feel driven to nap, often for long periods of  … Read More

Would You Benefit From a Snoring Mouthguard?

Would You Benefit From a Snoring Mouthguard?

· · Sleep

If you snore, and you’ve tried sleeping on your side and various other “tricks” to quiet your nighttime breathing, you may want to consider a snoring mouthguard, also called a snoring mouthpiece. It’s a dental appliance that keeps the jaw pushed slightly forward while you sleep to help ensure that  … Read More



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