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Why You Should Treat a Sleep Disorder Sooner Rather than Later

Why You Should Treat a Sleep Disorder Sooner Rather than Later

We’re learning more and more every day about how crucial getting enough high-quality rest is for our physical and emotional well-being. 

Unfortunately, there are many factors that rudely interrupt our peaceful slumber at various times, from our multiple screens and devices to stresses like work deadlines and endless to-do lists. Life transitions like having a new baby in the house or going through menopause can also wreak havoc with our sleep. 

Bottom line, these are nuisances and can be easily changed. However, a sleep disorder is a specific, diagnosable condition that requires medical intervention.

Sleep disorders are serious business, since prolonged low-quality, disrupted sleep can affect your clarity in thinking, performance at work or school, and much more.

Fortunately, the highly experienced  team at Houston Neurological Institute is dedicated to treating a wide range of neurological conditions, including sleep disorders. They’re exceptionally committed to customizing your treatment and supporting your long-term health. 

Sleep disorders are more than sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is probably one of the most discussed sleep disorders, since so many are affected by it. The approximately 39 million adults who have obstructive sleep apnea struggle with myriad nighttime breathing interruptions that last longer than 10 seconds and occur more than five times per hour while they’re sleeping. These interruptions are due to something blocking the airway, such as the tongue or upper throat muscles.

Other sleep disorders that upend life for those living with them include:

1. Narcolepsy

This neurological disorder prevents you from controlling your sleep-wake cycles, and you can find yourself involuntarily nodding off while eating, talking, or most frighteningly, driving. 

2. Insomnia

People living with insomnia have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep. They may toss and turn for a long time before finally drifting off, or they might awaken in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep. 

3. Nocturnal seizures

People experience these seizures because the electrical activity in their brains changes during various stages of their sleep-wake cycles.

4. Restless leg syndrome

This problem causes you to uncontrollably move your legs while lying in bed, which prevents you from sleeping. You may feel discomfort in your legs, and movement might seem to help, but only temporarily. This leads to a seemingly endless cycle of leg movement. 

Restless leg syndrome can cause people to feel like something is crawling in — rather than on — their legs. They may also experience aching, throbbing, itching, and even a feeling like an electrical shock. 

Each of these uncomfortable conditions is enough to disturb your rest over the long term if you don’t get treatment, and daily life becomes quite difficult since you’re always exhausted.

How a sleep disorder harms you

The negative health effects of sleep disorders may be more concerning than you think. All of them, to some degree or another, rob you of the rest you so badly need in order for your body and brain to be replenished. 

If they’re not restored properly and this deficit goes on and on, you can suffer serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Other unpleasant results from living with a sleep disorder are daytime sluggishness, weight gain over time, feeling like you can’t focus, and overall fatigue.

In terms of your mood, lack of rest is linked to depression and feeling grumpy — not surprising when you’re depleted. You may even notice problems with decreased libido.  

For all these reasons, it’s important to stop a sleep disorder in its tracks ASAP. The wear-and-tear on your health isn’t worth another sleepless night. 

Help for sleep disorders exists

Fortunately, the Houston Neurological Institute team offers innovative and effective treatments for sleep disorders. After you’re definitively diagnosed with a sleep disorder through a thorough assessment and studies at our on-site sleep center, your doctor devises a treatment plan especially for you. 

Their recommendations may include:

In addition, we also talk to you about lifestyle changes you can make to get better sleep, such as cutting down on caffeine or avoiding it entirely, reducing alcohol consumption, eating lighter rather than heavier meals, and refraining from taking late-day naps.

If you suspect you’re one of the 50 million Americans living with a sleep disorder, contact Houston Neurological Institute’s Pearland or Pasadena office to schedule an appointment, or book one with us online.

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