The relatively fragile neurophysiologic and behavioral systems that control sleep are beset by a large variety of conditions that can interfere with a person’s ability to get restful sleep. Restful sleep is a very orderly process, and if one’s sleep (either at night or during the day if required by shift work) is disrupted, symptoms during usual wake time result. The most obvious is inappropriate daytime sleepiness which almost always indicates that something has affected either the quality or quantity of the sleep period. Other important symptoms include snoring which awakens a spouse or family member, pauses in breathing, unusual movements in sleep, insomnia (inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep as desired), and fatigue. A common scale to assess excessive daytime sleepiness is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
There are more than 200 different conditions which affect sleep. These range in severity from annoyances to life threatening situations. This range makes evaluation of sleep problems important. Sleep is an essential component of our physiology. Evaluation and treatment of any sleep disorders may improve one’s overall health, sense of well-being, comfort and productivity.
The Institute for Sleep Medicine at Diagnostic Clinic is established for the evaluation and treatment of a wide range of adult sleep disorders. While diagnosis of some of these sleep disorders requires overnight sleep studies with a sophisticated monitoring system, many can be diagnosed using a simple history or physical examination.
Authored by: Robert Fayle, M.D.