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Healthy Habits: Chronic sleep disorders can affect your daily routine

Mar. 22, 2013 @ 12:10 AM

According to the National Sleep Foundation, at least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic and long-term sleep disorders every year. Sleep disorders come in several forms and can wreak havoc on the daily routine of those they affect.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the following common types of sleep disorders can be treated effectively once diagnosed:

Insomnia: An inability to fall or stay asleep that can result in functional impairment throughout the day.

Narcolepsy: Excessive daytime sleepiness combined with sudden muscle weakness. Episodes of narcolepsy are sometimes called "sleep attacks" and may occur in unusual circumstances.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): An unpleasant "creeping" sensation associated with aches and pains throughout the legs that can make it difficult to fall asleep.

Sleep Apnea: Interrupted sleep caused by periodic gasping or "snorting" noises or momentarily suspension of breathing.

Anyone who struggles to get rest on a routine basis should look for symptoms including daytime fatigue, daytime sleepiness, snoring and pauses in breath during the night are indicators of a sleep disorder. Medical professionals, trained to care for patients experiencing sleep problems, can diagnose sleep disorders using a sleep study. A sleep study is a painless medical test that measures brain waves, heart beats, eye movements, muscle tension, leg movements and breathing patterns. The results of the study can determine the best course to improve your sleep. Sleep is important in disease prevention and overall health because insufficient sleep can be linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mental health problems, such as depression. Next week's final feature on the importance of sleep will discuss snoring.

Healthy Habits 2013 is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary's Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Our goal is a simple one; to inform and encourage area residents on ways to improve their health. Join our conversation and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/healthyhabits2013.

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