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Sleep-related problems

February 02, 2004

Common sleep problems include:

  • Insomnia, which is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more factors, including difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep, waking up too early in the morning and unrefreshing sleep.

  • Sleep apnea, which refers to interruption of breathing during sleep. In obstructive sleep apnea - the most common form of the disorder - the muscles of the soft palate around the base of the tongue and the uvula relax, obstructing the airway. The airway obstruction causes the level of oxygen in the blood to fall, increases the stress on the heart, elevates blood pressure and prevents the patient from entering the most restful and restorative stage of sleep.

    Persistent loud snoring at night and daytime sleepiness are the main symptoms of sleep apnea.

  • Narcolepsy, which is a chronic brain disease characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness. Other symptoms can include loss of muscle tone, distorted perceptions and inability to move or talk (sleep paralysis).


- Source: National Institutes of Health

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