There are a broad range of sleep disorders some of which have have implications for safety and health and warrant investigation by a physician. High blood pressure, obesity, motor vehicle accidents, risk for dementia, and impaired work performance may be sequelae. Polysomonography is often important in assessing them and some examples are listed below.
Sleep apnea is characterized by repeated, pauses in breathing during sleep. In some patients, these may occur hundreds of times in a night dropping blood oxygen levels and interrupting sound sleep.
Some signs that suggest sleep apnea include: Loud snoring (often disruptive of others sleeping); cessation of breathing sometimes with gasping; excessive daytime sleepiness; dry throat in morning.
Narcolepsy is a disorder in which there is excessive, incapacitating sleepiness at inappropriate times, which can be disabling and even dangerous. Some clues include: Paralysis when falling asleep or waking up; cataplexy where there is sudden loss of muscle tone; involuntary daytime sleep episodes.
Periodic limb movement disorder causes repeated, rhythmic limb movements that disrupt sleep.
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