What is a Sleep Disorder?

sleep disA sleep disorder is a condition that disrupts sleep or interferes with sleep quality, often having a negative impact on daytime functioning or health. There are more than 80 sleep disorders identified in the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, and according to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 65 million Americans will suffer from a sleep disorder at some time in their lives. Some of these disorders are quite common. For example, the National Institute of Health estimates that 10% of the adult population of the United States suffers from insomnia, a condition that is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or poor quality sleep. People with insomnia often report problems in cognitive function, such as impairment in attention, concentration, and memory. Problems in their personal and work relationships can also arise. They may be at greater risk for fatigue-related accidents and are more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety. Sleep apnea, a sleep-related breathing disorder, is believed to affect between 4 - 7% of men and 2 - 5% of women. This disorder is of significance because people with untreated sleep apnea are at greater risk for hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats), stroke, and death.

The significant health consequences of sleep disorders have led experts to agree that these problems warrant medical attention.

Snoring is not always just annoying. It may be the symptom of a more serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea.

If you have sleep apnea, you periodically stop breathing while sleeping. You may stop breathing just a few times or hundreds of times each night. You may not breathe for only a few seconds or as long as two minutes. When you resume breathing, there may be a loud snort or gasp, and you may briefly awaken.

Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition associated with increased risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, muscular spasm and pains, stroke, palpitations, diabetes, obesity, impotence, depression, memory loss, tiredness, and driving/work-related accidents

Sleep apnea is usually associated with daytime sleepiness because your rest is regularly disturbed. High blood pressure and weight gain are often associated with this disorder. Sleep apnea is most common in men who have high blood pressure, are overweight and snore, but anyone can be affected by this sleeping problem.

If you feel as though you may have sleep apnea, please call Vida Sleep center & spa at 201 766 6471 to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified sleep medicine physicians to discuss your symptoms.

Are your legs restless while you sleep?

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder characterized by leg discomfort during sleep, which is only relieved by frequent movements of the legs.

RLS occurs most often in middle-aged and older adults. It is worsened by stress. The cause is not known. RLS may occur more often in patients with peripheral neuropathy, chronic kidney disease, Parkinson's disease, pregnancy or iron deficiency.

RLS can result in a decreased quality of sleep (insomnia) with subsequent daytime sleepiness, anxiety or depression, and confusion or slowed thought processes from lack of sleep.

The disorder consists of sensations in the lower legs that make the person uncomfortable unless the legs are moved. The sensations usually occur shortly after going to bed but may also occur during the daytime.

There are several effective pharmaceutical treatments for restless legs. Your treatment is tailored to meet your specific needs.

If you feel as though you have symptoms related to RLS, please call Vida Sleep Center & Spa at 201 766 6471 to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified sleep medicine physicians to discuss your symptoms.

Narcolepsy is the uncontrollable desire for sleep or sudden attacks of sleep. Daytime sleepiness is the primary symptom of this condition. Three more unusual symptoms also associated with narcolepsy are: cataplexy, sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations.

Narcolepsy is a rare condition that affects approximately 0.05% of the population, with symptoms peaking between the ages of 15 and 20. Narcolepsy is marked by excessive daytime sleepiness which can be so severe that it interferes with functioning and sometimes results in unexpected “sleep attacks.” People with narcolepsy often report the associated symptoms of sleep paralysis, hypnogogic hallucinations, cataplexy, and automatic behavior.

Sleep paralysis usually occurs when the sleeper is lying in bed prior to sleep onset or after awakening. He or she is unable to move for a few seconds, minutes, or longer. Sometimes sleepers can move only their eyes. The episodes are generally harmless, although they can result in genuine distress for the sufferer.

Hypnogogic hallucinations also occur when the sleeper is lying in bed prior to sleep onset or after awakening. The sufferer may experience auditory, visual, tactile, or olfactory (smell) hallucinations for brief periods. People sometimes describe these as brief, dreamlike experiences. Although these experiences are not concerning to many, some people can have terrifying or disturbing hallucinations that cause them great distress.

Cataplexy is characterized by the sudden loss of muscle tone while awake. The sufferer may experience a mild, transient drop in muscle tone (e.g., a droopy arm or periods of clumsiness associated with dropping things), or may experience severe loss of muscle tone that literally results in falling to the floor, and speech can be affected during the attacks. Cataplexy is brought on by stress, fatigue, or the experience of intense emotion such as anger or joy.

Narcolepsy and cataplexy are so rare that healthcare providers often fail to accurately diagnose the problem. Automatic behavior refers to actions for which the person has no memory. Sometimes the sufferer reports that they are acting in a “fog.” For example, one woman with narcolepsy entered her dining room to find a beautiful vase on her table. She had no idea where it came from until she looked at her checkbook and realized that she had purchased it on a recent shopping trip. Both the vase and the shopping trip had been forgotten! Automatic behavior is due to severe sleepiness.

Narcolepsy is often diagnosed in a sleep laboratory facility. One diagnostic indicator of narcolepsy is the occurrence of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep on daytime nap testing. Narcolepsy is usually treated with stimulant medication to address daytime sleepiness, and tricyclic or other medications to address sleep paralysis, hypnogogic hallucinations, and cataplexy. These medications include stimulants such as methylphenidate (Ritalin®), and pemoline (Cylert®) for sleepiness and fluoxetine (Prozac®) and venlafaxine (Effexor®) for cataplexy and associated symptoms. However, effectiveness is not guaranteed and some people may experience unwanted adverse effects. Two newer medications include modafinil or armodafinil (Provigil® or Nuvigil), which have been approved by the FDA to treat sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (Xyrem®), which relieves narcolepsy symptoms including cataplexy.

If you feel as though you have symptoms related to narcolepsy, please call Vida Sleep Center & Spa at 201 766 6471 to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified sleep medicine physicians to discuss your symptoms.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than one-quarter of the U.S. population report occasionally not getting enough sleep, while nearly 10% experience chronic insomnia. However, new methods for assessing and treating sleep disorders bring hope to the millions suffering from insufficient sleep. Fundamental to the success of all of these efforts is the recognition that sufficient sleep is not a luxury—it is a necessity—and should be thought of as a “vital sign” of good health.

Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. Insufficient sleep is associated with the onset of these diseases and also poses important implications for their management and outcome. Moreover, insufficient sleep is responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents, causing substantial injury and disability each year.


Research found that insufficient sleep is linked to an increased risk for development of Type 2 diabetes. Sleep duration and quality have emerged as predictors of levels of an important marker of blood sugar control known as Hemoglobin A1c. Research also suggests optimizing sleep duration and quality may be important means of improving blood sugar control in persons with Type 2 diabetes.


High blood pressure, stroke, coronary heart disease and heart arrhythmias have been found to be more common among those with sleep disorders. Sleep apnea and the building of plaque in the artery walls appear to share some common physiological characteristics, suggesting that sleep apnea may be an important predictor of heart disease.


Research found that short sleep intervals result in metabolic changes that may be linked to obesity. The relationship between short sleep duration and excess body weight has been reported in all age groups–but is particularly common in children. It is believed that sleep in childhood and adolescence is important for brain development and that insufficient sleep in youngsters may adversely affect the function of the hypothalamus region of the brain, which regulates appetite and expenditure of energy.


These are some of the Sleep Disorders and associated Medical Conditions.