Sleep Disorders Treatment | Dutchess County | Westchester County
19 Bradhurst Avenue, Suite 2850  |  Hawthorne, New York 10532
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Neurological Conditions

Sleep Disorders

Sleep Disorders Treatment | Duchess County | Westchester County

There are many sleeping disorders (dyssomnia) which can have debilitating effects on a patient's overall health and quality of life. These can range from simple trouble with procuring/maintaining sleep to severe detriment to social, physical and emotional functioning.

Types of Sleep Disorders

These sleep disorders may be divided into one of four categories:

  • Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep - People who have severe trouble falling asleep or staying asleep can be called insomniacs. This can be caused by a plethora of psychological and physical factors including: delayed sleep-phase syndrome, hypnotic/stimulant-dependent sleep disorder, depression, and heavy smoking. These problems can cause short term or long term (chronic) losses in sleep.

  • Trouble staying awake - Those who are constantly sleepy during the day are known as hypersomniacs. These people have trouble staying awake despite having a healthy sleep schedule; their attained sleep may not be fulfilling or relaxing and otherwise not accomplishing the established goal of sleep. Disorders such as narcolepsy and sleep apnea can contribute to this. In some cases, there is no identifiable cause of the fatigue, which is known as idiopathic hypersomnia.

  • Inability to maintain or adjust sleep schedule - Night shift workers and frequent travelers are among those who have trouble maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. While these exterior forces cause their bodies to continually change or adapt to different sleep schedules, interior examples would be non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome and paradoxical insomnia.

  • Sleep-disruptive behaviors - Some abnormal sleeping behaviors can cause significant disturbances in a patient's sleep. These sleep-disruptive behaviors are referred to as parasomnias, and are found most often in young children. An example of this is restless leg syndrome in which the patient has a distinct urge to move their lower extremities in response to unfounded but awkward and uncomfortable sensations. This is known to worsen greatly at night when one must relax their body to sleep soundly. Sleepwalking is another parasomnia that can affect adults as well.

Diagnosing Sleep Disorders

If you are concerned that you have fallen victim to sleeping disorders, discuss with your doctor if you should have a polysomnogram test done. This comprehensive test monitors eye movement, muscle activity/activation, heart rhythm, respiratory airflow and brain activity in order to diagnose or rule out specific sleep disorders in the patient. Although this is ineffective for determining circadian sleep-cycle disorders, it can rule out parasomnias, narcolepsy, muscle-related sleep disorders (RLS), sleep apnea, and disorders encompassing REM abnormalities.

Treatment of Sleep Disorders

These general groupings can be loosely affiliated with treatments for sleep disorders, as the treatment varies significantly along with the ailment and many can be used for multiple illnesses. The classifications of treatments are:

  • Rehabilitation/management of sleep time
  • Medication
  • Behavioral/psychotherapy
  • Other somatic treatment

The management of sleep time is an important factor in a person's daytime level of sleepiness. Therefore, either making efforts to fall asleep earlier or making accommodations in order to get some extra time in the middle of the day to nap. A rehabilitation technique called chronotherapy (or an adjusted Phase-Advance variant) can be utilized to "reset" the patient's internal circadian clock and adjust them to a more advantageous sleep schedule.

Medications for sleeping disorders often revolve around treating the symptoms of sleep deprivation, as opposed to inducing sleep themselves. Narcolepsy (as well as many other sleep disorders) is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). The most common medication prescribed for this is methamphetamines, although drugs with similar benefits and fewer negative effects have recently come into play. The irregular sleep patterns of narcolepsy are aided with tricyclic antidepressants. These restrict the overactive REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep-phase responsible for many narcoleptic symptoms.

Behavioral therapy is considered one of the most distinct and dynamic methods of sleep disorder treatment available, owing to both its simplicity and its inherent ability to positively complement other treatments. For individuals that must regularly fall asleep at random times or work shifts that are incongruent with normal waking hours, behavioral therapy offers simple and effective changes in sleep hygiene and bedroom area. A person who works a late shift as a security guard may be suggested to keep his bedroom very dark and closed off while bringing extra lamps or other lighting apparatus to work.

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Sleep Disorders

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