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Posts Tagged ‘narcolepsy’

October Marie Claire Magazine has Narcolepsy Article

September 22nd, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Words to expand your sleep vocabulary-#14

July 13th, 2011 Raquel Rothe


Cataplexy is the sudden loss of muscle tone often triggered by intense emotions such as laughter, surprise, or anger. It causes weakness and even temporary paralysis, sometimes resulting in a collapse in posture. It is one of the four cardinal symptoms of narcolepsy.

WebMD Expert Blogs-Vitamin D: Daytime Energy the Old Fashioned Way

February 3rd, 2011 Raquel Rothe

Snoring in Kids Linked to Poor Academics

October 7th, 2010 admin

Sleep Well
with Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM
Sleep disorders include a range of problems — from insomnia to narcolepsy — and affect millions of Americans. Dr. Michael Breus shares information and advice on sleep disorder and insomnia treatments and causes.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Snoring in Kids Linked to Poor Academics

A recent observation made in Australia could have significant meaning in the United States: Children who snore and have a bad night’s sleep could be lowering their IQ.
The domino effect goes something like this:
A child has trouble breathing at night, which explains the snoring and sparks a bad night’s sleep.
The labored breathing ultimately leads to a lack of oxygen.
A bad night’s sleep translates to being constantly tired and unable to concentrate or learn new things easily.
This in turn exacerbates developmental delays, poor memory and behavioral problems in terms of attention, low frustration tolerance and poor impulse control.
Over time, prolonged poor sleep can affect a child’s IQ and education.
I get asked about snoring children on a regular basis. Is it normal? Is it considered the same as an adult who snores?
Between 10 and 20 percent of normal children snore on a regular or intermittent basis, making the line between “normal” snoring and “abnormal” snoring seem a bit fuzzy. It’s when snoring hampers restful sleep that it should be addressed, as in adults. But there are a few things unique to snoring children.
In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that all children be screened for snoring and that a diagnosis be conducted to determine if a child is experiencing normal (primary) snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome. About one to three percent of children not only snore, but also suffer from breathing problems during their sleep.
First, speak with your pediatrician to get an accurate diagnosis. Though obstructive sleep apnea among adults is commonly discussed, it’s true that children can suffer from the same condition. And they won’t necessarily grow out of it.
Although most younger children with OSA are not overweight, which is typically associated with OSA, it’s key to determine if weight is a contributing factor. Now that childhood obesity is growing at an alarming rate — with 1 out of 3 kids today considered overweight or obese — it’s no surprise to me that more kids are getting diagnosed with OSA. Other underlying medical conditions, especially allergies or asthma, could also be to blame, in which case a nasal steroid spray could help improve nasal obstruction and OSA symptoms in children that also have allergies. If GERD (gastroenterological reflux disorder) is a factor, this condition could also be treated.
There could be other reasons, though, that are unique to children. A child could have been born with a small jaw or a small airway that makes it hard to breathe fully. There’s also the possibility that the muscles, and the nerves controlling those muscles, are not well integrated during sleep and therefore do not open the airway enough.
And then there’s the chance that a child has enlarged tonsils and adenoids that prevent normal breathing. This last possibility, in fact, is very common among youngsters. When the problems are significant enough, parents can choose to have their child’s tonsils and adenoids removed. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 263,000 children in the U.S. have tonsillectomies each year and sleep apnea is a major reason.
Getting to the bottom of a child’s constant snoring that affects his or her quality of life is critical during those early developmental years. But aside from addressing any medical conditions triggering the problem, it’s also important to instill good sleep habits — or hygiene — in your children from as early an age as possible. If you teach your children how to prepare for sleep and to embrace it as an healthy component to life (and that they need their sleep to enjoy their days maximally), then they will naturally lower their risk for sleep disorders and grow into adults who experience restful, rejuvenating nights on a routine basis– maybe more so than their own parents!
No one likes a cranky, overtired child. Or an adult in that same state for that matter!
Here’s another way to look at it: If your kids can increase their mood and happiness, and possibly even their IQ, through more restful sleep, wouldn’t you want to encourage that?
Sweet Dreams,
Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™

If you are getting your recommended amount of sleep and practicing good sleep hygiene but you are still feeling EXTREMELY SLEEPY?

September 29th, 2010 Raquel Rothe

Now imagine getting ten or more hours of sleep at night plus a couple of hour-long naps during the day and still feeling sleepy. There can be a number of reasons why this would occur but a sleep specialist would consider the possibility of a condition called “idiopathic hypersomnia,” a serious and debilitating disorder with no known cause. People with idiopathic hypersomnia may suffer either constant or recurrent episodes of extreme sleepiness. There are other causes of extreme sleepiness, such as narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, movement disorders during sleep, and a variety of medications. Chronic sleep deprivation may also cause extreme sleepiness, but in this case getting extra sleep usually alleviates the sleepiness. This is called paying off a sleep debt. Idiopathic hypersomnia, in contrast, persists even after a sleep debt is paid off. SYMPTOMS: If you are experiencing extreme sleepiness, you should talk to your doctor about the duration and intensity of your symptoms. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist who will take a complete medical history in order to rule out other conditions that may be involved. You may be scheduled to have a sleep study, in which certain criteria must be present for a diagnosis of idiopathic hypersomnia. They are:
Having had symptoms for at least six months that have not occurred within 18 months of head trauma.
The absence of medical or mental disease that may account for the symptoms, including other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or post-traumatic hypersomnia.
Normal polysomnography (sleep study) results.
A Multiple Sleep Latency Test of less than 10 minutes.
TREATMENT: The most common treatments for excessive sleepiness are stimulant medications. However, these drugs are not a substitute for sleep. People with idiopathic hypersomnia often must allow more time in their schedules for sleep than most people, even while using such medications. Here are some additional tips for coping with extreme sleepiness:
Take naps whenever possible.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
Avoid alcohol and medications that may cause drowsiness.
Talk to your friends, family, and co-workers about your symptoms so that they know what to expect and how to help.
The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep. ~E. Joseph Cossman

Some of the more common sleep disorders

June 22nd, 2010 admin

Our slumber can be plagued by over 80 known sleep problems and disorders. It is important to talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist as these can be diagnosed and are treatable. If you are having difficulty sleeping, be sure to maintain a sleep diary and share this with your doctor or healthcare specialist when reporting the issues. Some of the more common sleep disorders include:

Circadian Rhythm Disorders-The complex biological “clock” in humans sometimes breaks down. In delayed sleep phase syndrome, the “clock” runs later than normal. The sufferer often cannot fall asleep before 3 or 4 a.m. and cannot “wake” before noon. In advanced sleep phase syndrome, a person falls asleep early, for example at 7 or 8 p.m. and wakes at 3 or a.m. and is unable to fall bask asleep.

Insomnia-is a sleep problem experienced by over 50% of Americans, according to the 2008 NSF Sleep in America Poll, who report difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings, waking too early and having trouble getting back to sleep, and waking unrefreshed. Insomnia can be short or long-term and may be due to stress, an underlying medical or psychiatric problem such as depression, a loss or poor sleep/health habits.

Sleep Apnea-is commonly recognized sleep disorder. Sufferers actually stop breathing for at least 10 seconds, waking up hundreds of times per night, snorting and paused breathing as their body struggles for air. Untreated, its linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Narcolepsy-people experience “sleep attacks” that can occur at any time. Strong emotions sometimes bring on a sudden loss of muscle control called “cataplexy”. When falling asleep or waking up, sufferers also may experience brief paralysis and/or vivid images and sounds.

Restless Legs Syndrome-is recognized by people having unusual sensations in the legs (and sometimes arms) that disturb sleep. Only movement brings relief. Individuals may also experience periodic limb movement disorder, PLMD, or jerking of the legs during sleep.

Sleepwalking-a tendency to get up and wander about while asleep, is common in children and tends to run in families. Protect the sleepwalker by keeping doors and windows locked.

Sleep Terrors-often scream or fight but have no memory of the event the next day.

Treatments for sleep disorders may include medication, light therapy, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, and scheduled naps.