Category Archives: Sleep Disorders

Ways to Help You Keep Hope Alive

We all are well aware of how difficult 2020 has been because of the Covid pandemic. Throw on the stress related to recent social injustices and a Presidential Election year, and it’s downright hard not to let things get you down. So here are some ways to help you keep hope alive.

1. Get Some Rest. During challenging times, it’s important to make sure you are taking good of yourself. This includes making time for sleep and ensuring you are getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Don’t forget that your quality of sleep is as important as the quantity. If you notice that you are waking up often or wake up feeling unrefreshed after a full night of sleep, then it’s time to talk to your doctor. Sleep is an integral part of our health, because it can reduce stress, improve our mood, and improve our immunity.

2. Lean on Your Network. Our close relationships are a vital way to help manage stress, increase hopefulness, and forge a connection with others. Living in a time of social distancing shouldn’t mean we can’t be social. It means we have to be do it in a responsible way. But spending time with family, close friends and relatives, and others helps us to support one another. It’s also a nice form of distraction during challenging times.

3. Laugh It Up! Laughing not only gets you feeling good, it’s good for you. Laughing releases stress and tension and improves mood. Laughing also releases positive hormones in our bodies that promote healing and well-being. Enjoy sharing jokes with friends and family, or enjoy watching a comedy show. Take time to laugh it up.

4. Now Move it. How could any list be complete without mentioning exercise, right? Yes, exercise is good for you in so many ways. It improves your physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Exercise helps to reduce stress and tension, and it releases endorphins which give you a sense of well-being. So whether you’re running a marathon or walking the dog, get up and move it. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

5. Speaking of Gratitude. Maintaining a positive mindset goes a long way. People who maintain a positive mindset are better able to handle the challenges of life, both good and bad. And a large part of having a positive mindset is having gratitude and self-awareness. Being thankful for your blessings and cherished joys is a great way to maintain a positive mindset. It reminds you that there is still so much hope for the future. So whatever challenges come your way, having gratitude and a positive mindset will ensure you have a greater chance of overcoming any obstacles in your way!

adult sleeping

Sleep Apnea: Causes, Effects and Treatment Options

One of the first indications that you may have sleep apnea is if you snore loudly when you sleep. If you stop breathing abruptly and start breathing again during the night, it is a serious indication that you have this disorder.

Whether you have obstructive or central can only be determined and diagnose by a sleep doctor specializing in sleep disorders.

Types of Sleep Apnea

The two primary types and causes are:

Obstructive: This type is the most common. Throat muscles relax as you sleep and block the airway, causing you to stop breathing. As your body struggles to breathe again, you may gasp or choke for air. Loud snoring is one indication that you have the obstructive type.

Central: The brain is a mystery and sometimes it misfires, failing to send signals to the muscles controlling your breathing.

Complex Syndrome: Patients experiencing a combination of both obstructive and central conditions have treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. This occurs when a patient using CPAP also experiences central apnea or hypopneas while using the machine.

What are the Primary Symptoms?

The main symptoms of this sleep disorder are common regardless of the type you have. The only way to properly identify and treat the specific disorder is by conducting a sleep study.

The primary indications that you may have either obstructive or central include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Stop breathing
  • Gasping or choking for air while you’re asleep
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Headaches when you get up in the morning
  • Insomnia or trouble getting to and staying asleep
  • Hypersomnia or extreme sleepiness during the day
  • Problems with concentration or attention difficulties
  • Irritability

Although loud snoring is one of the main indications of this condition, many people who have this sleep disorder do not snore at all. However, if you experience any or all of the other indications, it’s best that you consult with your doctor since this disorder is a serious medical condition with adverse affects if left untreated.

Untreated Apnea May Result in Critical Health Issues

Don’t ignore your symptoms. There are serious complications that will affect your daily life if the disorder goes untreated.

Excessive fatigue. Waking up multiple times during the night makes it impossible to get the required amount of restorative sleep, which can result in excessive fatigue during the day. Fatigue leads to a lack of concentration or worse, falling asleep while driving or while at work.

Irritability is another result of fatigue, which can cause behavior problems, problems at work, or poor school performance in children who have this condition.

Heart conditions and high blood pressure. Apnea causes your blood oxygen levels to drop suddenly, leading to increased blood pressure, which puts a strain on your heart. Consequently, untreated, it puts you at higher risk for hypertension.

Other conditions and complications can develop from untreated sleep apnea such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, liver disorders, and problems with surgeries or medications.

A sleep study helps doctors determine the type of apnea you have and the best course of treatment for you.

A Sleep Doctor is a Specialist in Sleep Disorders

Your primary care physician should refer you to a sleep doctor if you have many of the symptoms. These specialists are Board Certified in the specific area of sleep medicine, although many of these specialists have other areas of specialty as well.

A sleep doctor might also be a specialist in neurology, pulmonology, otolaryngology, or cardiology since apnea also affects each of these specific areas. A specialist will set up a sleep study for you in a sleep clinic or lab to make the proper diagnoses of your condition.

Benefits of Sleep Studies

Once you discuss your symptoms with a sleep doctor, if there is a high probability that you do have this condition, you will need to have a sleep study or polysomnogram, a procedure conducted in a sleep study clinic while you are asleep.

A good sleep clinic or sleep lab has comfortable private bedrooms with a nightstand for the CPAP machine and a TV if you need it to help you fall asleep.

This pain-free and non-invasive procedure records a variety of functions during sleep including brain wave activity, muscle tone and movements, heart rate, and eye movement. Preparation for the study involves placing electrodes on your head, legs and chest. The electrodes connect to a monitor that reads and records the data while you sleep.

Once the doctor reads the data, he can prescribe the proper course of treatment.

How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

The most common and most often prescribed is a CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. The device includes a nasal or full-face mask connected to the machine by a hose.

The machine blows air through the hose to the mask to help keep the patient’s airway open during sleep. CPAP is actually one of the most effective forms of treatment, provided the patient uses it correctly, which means wearing it every time you go to sleep.

CPAP and Bi-PAP Machines

A BiPAP or Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure machine works exactly the same way as a CPAP except the airflow levels differ between inhaling and exhaling. Patients with very severe sleep apnea often use BiPAP to help maintain constant use as recommended.

Surgery to Correct Sleep Apnea

A surgical procedure is not the first treatment option for most patients, although it is a feasible option for some who simply cannot adapt to CPAP or BiPAP therapy. However, surgical options vary by individual and the severity of their obstruction that causes the apnea.

For patients who are not good candidates for surgery, it is imperative that they try a variety of masks until they find one that works for them.

The Numerous Benefits of Treatment

You should never leave sleep apnea untreated. When you comply with the doctor’s choice of treatment, you reduce your risks of any or all of the following health issues:

Heart Disease: Sleep apnea links to a variety of heart problems since it causes you to stop breathing frequently at night. These interruptions in breathing adversely affect both your blood pressure and blood oxygen levels, causing excessive strain on your heart.

Stroke: People who go untreated are far more prone to having a stroke.

Diabetes: Proper treatment of this sleep disorder improves your chances of avoiding diabetes.

Again, sleep apnea is a very serious medical condition that adversely affects nearly every part of your life if left untreated. If you suspect that you may have this disorder, call a professional sleep doctor right away to discuss your issues so you can lead a healthier, more productive life.

adult sleeping

The Dallas Center For Sleep Disorders

The Dallas Center for Sleep Disorders was founded in 2006 to help people affected by snoring, sleep problems, or daytime fatigue get the best Sleep Health treatment available, tailored to their individual needs.  Since then, the Dallas Center for Sleep Disorders has expanded its locations and options to better serve our clients in a more convenient and supportive way.  Along the way, we have shortened our name to simply Dallas Sleep.  At Dallas Sleep, our #1 philosophy is to serve our clients and to present you with the best treatment options available.  We are here to meet your needs, as it specifically relates to your Sleep Health.  Therefore, we will never push an agenda on you in any way.  Ultimately, you call the shots.

We carefully and thoughtfully evaluate our patients before creating a treatment plan that is easy to understand. We are skilled at diagnosing and treating all types of sleep disorders, including snoring, insomnia, sleep apnea, chronic fatigue, excessive daytime sleepiness, restless legs syndrome, sleep walking, night terrors, and narcolepsy.

Research and clinical experience have proven that sleep disorders contribute to an increased risk of attention deficit disorders (in both children and adults), hypertension, obesity/overweight, type 2 diabetes, cardiac arrhythmias (AFib), stroke, depression, anxiety, dementia, erectile dysfunction (ED), low testosterone levels (low T) and decreased libido.  The good news is that most sleep disorders, when properly diagnosed, can be successfully treated or managed.

Sleep Disorders, Sleep Doctors and Sleep Studies

The quality of sleep can impact our overall health, quality of life and safety. It is quite common to experience sleep disturbance at one time or another in life. The disturbance may be as a result of factors such as stress, long distance travel, life interruption and illness, or technology in the bedroom. Sleep disturbance becomes an issue when it becomes frequent and starts interfering with our daily routine. In spite of many sleep studies and efforts by sleep clinics and sleep doctors, the disturbances remain a big concern.

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), about one third or slightly over 100 million US adults get less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation is linked to several health issues, including obesity, chronic disease, low testosterone, atrial fibrillation, ED, depression and heart disease. The other problems caused by inadequate sleep include impairment at work, memory problems and high risk of car accidents. Below are common signs and symptoms of sleep disturbance:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Sleepwalking
  • Obesity
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Loss of memory, especially among adults
  • Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD)
  • High Blood Pressure (HBP)
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Frequent awakenings
  • Loud Snoring
  • Palpitations
  • Frequent visits to the bathroom
  • Low libido among men and women
  • Sleep disorders diagnosed at sleep clinic

Adult asleep in bed

When the signs and symptoms of sleep disturbance become regular, you may be dealing with a sleep disorder. Sleep doctors define sleep disorders as a condition that regularly impacts one’s ability to achieve quality sleep. The whole experience can be unsettling and enervating, which can lead to anxiety, fatigue and loss of energy. As you plan to visit a sleep doctor, here is a list of common sleep disorders you should know:

1. Sleep Apnea (OSA) – this is a potentially fatal, but treatable medical condition that causes temporary cessation of breathing during sleep. A person suffering from sleep apnea will also wake up from sleep frequently. This disruption often causes excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, and low work productivity during the day. Because of the underlying risks, make a point of visiting a sleep clinic whenever you suspect sleep apnea.

2. Snoring – documented causes of snoring include: sleeping on the back; congestion from cold and allergies and use of depressants such as alcohol. Snoring with a loud pitch can be a nuisance to your partner or those around you. It is important to know that the disorder can be a symptom of more serious problem, obstructive sleep apnea, which requires an immediate visit to the sleep doctor.

3. Snoring and Sleep Apnea in kids – Snoring is NOT normal for kids, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Persistent snoring in children could be a sign of a more serious condition like respiratory infection or sleep apnea. Just like in adults, obstructive sleep apnea can cause a child to stop breathing while sleeping. The condition occurs when an object blocks the upper airways. A child with the condition will experience sleep disruptions and a drop in oxygen levels. Some of the causes of sleep apnea in kids include family history, tonsillar enlargement, obesity, and problems in the oral cavity. Children with both snoring and sleep apnea often become restless and will sleep in abnormal positions. These conditions can be diagnosed by a sleep doctor working at a sleep clinic through in-laboratory sleep studies.

4. Insomnia – this is the inability to get any sleep or quality sleep at night. The condition is mostly caused by stress, poor sleep habits, medications, and underlying health conditions. If insomnia becomes persistent, insomnia could lead to other health problems such as depression and anxiety and other mood and sleep disorders. As part of treatment, a sleep doctor may suggest non-medication treatment involving: relaxation techniques; working out a strategy to revise daytime habits and improving sleep hygiene.

5. UARS (Upper Airway Resistance Syndromes) – UARS is a mild form of sleep apnea.  In many cases, snoring is not an issue. UARS is mostly related to hereditary factors. This breathing disorder is more common among women.

6. Sleepiness or Extreme Fatigue – Sleepiness is caused by lack of sufficient sleep. The two types of extreme fatigue that may interfere with sleep pattern are namely; mental fatigue and physical fatigue. A person with mental fatigue may find it very difficult to stay active or alert at work. Physical fatigue, on the other hand, makes it difficult for the affected person to perform normal chores due to lack of strength and endurance.

7. Children’s Sleep Disorders (CSD) – pediatric sleeping disorders are mostly caused by underlying medical problems.  The other signs and symptoms of CSD include: snoring, sleepwalking, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, and bedwetting.

8. Narcolepsy – people suffering from narcolepsy often experience uncontrollable sleep patterns during the day. The condition is caused by a discordance in the brain mechanism that controls sleep and wakefulness. People suffering from narcolepsy may suffer sleep attacks while performing everyday tasks like talking, working and even driving. For treatment, a sleep doctor may suggest a combination of treatments to manage the symptoms.

Get help from your local Dallas sleep doctor

If you live in Texas and are experiencing any of the symptoms of sleep disorders; contact Dallas Sleep today. The Dallas Sleep clinic stands out because our team of sleep doctors are very experienced and we know what to do when faced with any sleep condition. At Dallas Sleep center we care about every patient’s welfare.

Snoring and sleep apnea treatments by Dallas Sleep Clinic follows a 5-step process that involves evaluation, testing, choice of treatment, treatment commencement and patient follow-up. To get in touch with our professional staff at Dallas Sleep clinic, call, email or visit any of the four clinics in McKinney, Plano, Keller and Dallas.

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Raising Awareness For Sleep Apnea Treatment To Reduce Seizures In Epilepsy

Because sleep habits have an affect on so many of our body’s systems, comorbidity or co-occurring disorders are common. One pair of conditions that show evidence of being related are sleep apnea and epilepsy.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea, also called sleep-disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is a condition where you have interruptions or pauses in your breathing while you sleep. Have you ever heard someone snoring and then notice it seems like they aren’t breathing? Then one loud gasp or snore (like a snorting sound) jolts them back into normal breathing again?

As you sleep, the muscles around your throat and neck area relax which reduces the size of your windpipe. This means that you may not be getting enough oxygen which is called oxygen desaturation. When the pause in breathing occurs, your body tells your brain to interrupt your sleep by activating those muscles to stiffen and open your windpipe. This is what causes the choking sound as someone returns to normal breathing.

When someone has sleep apnea, they can also have symptoms like headaches in the morning, trouble with concentration or mood, and sleepiness throughout the day. The troubles significantly worsen with increased risk for heart attack or heart failure, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and obesity with those diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Unfortunately, not everyone obtains a diagnosis since we don’t all know what happens to us while we’re asleep. Paying attention to our sleep partners or family’s sleeping habits and symptoms plays such a huge role in identifying those who may be at risk.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that results in recurring seizures that can range in duration, type, and frequency. Doctors and scientists classify seizures into motor or non-motor types where a person either moves uncontrollably or they have absence seizures with no movement. A brain injury or genetic tendencies could cause these seizures, but typically, the source is not known.

Why are sleep apnea and epilepsy related?

A good portion of those who have epilepsy also have sleep apnea, about 40%. Of those, 16% have a moderate to severe form. The relationship exists because those who have epilepsy are at higher risk for obesity due to often having a more sedentary lifestyle. Patients are often unable to work or drive a car. There is also the side effect of weight gain from anti-seizure medications which leads to obesity. Not getting enough or not having quality sleep can lead to an increased frequency of seizures which results in negative health cycle of cause and effect that is difficult to alleviate without some kind of clinical intervention.

What does the latest research show?

Fortunately, there does seem to be hope. One researcher found in her latest study that treating sleep apnea in patients with epilepsy significantly reduced seizures. After one year of treatment, successful outcome as measured by reduced or no seizures, was recorded more often (85%) for epilepsy patients who received sleep apnea treatment than for those who did not. The researcher is Dr. Thapanee Somboon, and she is a research fellow at the Sleep Disorder Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Somboon’s findings were presented at the American Epilepsy Society’s annual conference.

The results are significant as they add to a growing body of work on the topic which could help doctors and neurologists be more aware of sleep apnea as a trigger of seizures. This can be particularly in those who haven’t responded to medications or other treatment which can be up to 30% of all patients.

Despite the relationship between seizures and sleep apnea becoming more well-known, there are still some epilepsy patients who have never been asked about their sleep habits by their doctors. A simple in-office questionnaire to identify those at risk for sleep apnea may be all that is needed to get someone on the right path for sleep apnea treatment like CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines to reduce or even remove their seizures. Many neurologists may be surprised to find the degree to which epilepsy improvements are found with sleep therapy.

While additional studies must be performed on various populations to continue to quantify this work, results to date should encourage those who suffer from seizures. In an effort to improve quality of life and perhaps help those with epilepsy return to work, doctors and family members of those with epilepsy should consider a sleep study to identify any sleep conditions which could be contributing to negative health outcomes.

8 of the Best Apps for Insomnia and Sleep

We talk an awful lot about why it’s important to get enough quality sleep each night, for reasons that range to pleasantly beneficial to physiologically necessary. And most people don’t really need to be sold on the idea; most of us know we don’t get enough sleep and wish we could get more. If only it were that easy, right? We’re fully aware that you might want to sleep more in theory, but that in practice, there are such things as crying babies, college exams, restless brains, and any number of other reasons that make getting enough sleep a real challenge. Fortunately, we are in the age of the App. Nifty little tools to help us track, monitor, manage, and modify pretty much anything, and that includes our sleep habits. Continue reading

Remembering Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher and the Hidden Dangers of Sleep Apnea

When Carrie Fisher passed away last year, her death left a lot of people shocked and more than a little devastated; she was well loved for her role as the fierce and capable Princess Leia — and later, General Leia — in the Star Wars franchise and, as an outspoken and honest advocate for mental health and addiction recovery. Two weeks ago, her fans and family finally got some answers as to what could have claimed her life at such a young age. Among the contributing factors was sleep apnea, a term most people may never have even heard prior to the release of her autopsy report on June 16. Continue reading

Sleep quality affects you long term

These Are the Long-term Effects of Poor Quality Sleep

You probably don’t need a sleep doctor to tell you that not getting enough sleep is terrible for you. Chances are, you’ve already felt the effects of a sleepless night the next day, or noticed that a week of tossing and turning leaves you feeling foggy, achy, and just kind of awful overall. But for many of us, a night or two — or even a month or so of less than high quality sleep doesn’t feel like a huge deal. Sooner or later the stress ends, you get a good long sleep-in, and you consider the problem solved. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way all the time. The term “sleep debt” refers to the amount of sleep you’re not getting, and can refer both to straightforward sleep loss and the harder to recognize effects of poor quality sleep.

The concept of “debt” makes a pretty tidy metaphor: you’re supposed to get around 7-9 hours of sleep a night, depending on your personal needs. When you fall below your particular sleep threshold, your brain incurs the “debt” and will look to make it up later. It’s part of why you may sleep deep and hard after an unusually restless night and why most of us sleep in on a Saturday morning. That’s fine if you usually get your ideal amount of sleep and just need a few hours to recoup the loss on the odd weekend, but what happens if you’re like most Americans and regularly fall short of your threshold? It isn’t “no harm, no foul”. Years of no sleep or low-quality sleep means could find yourself paying interest on your sleep debt in some pretty alarming ways. Continue reading

Sleep and Men's Health

Men: Here’s How Sleep Deprivation Can Mess with Your Health

June is all about the guys: with Father’s Day just around the corner, and Men’s Health Week underway, this month is a great time to take a moment and reflect on the lives and health of men. Men face specific challenges when it comes to all aspects of health — they’re less likely to see a doctor when they’re sick, thanks to outdated stereotypes, and mental health concerns often take a backseat to work and family obligations. There’s a fair amount of pressure on men to tough out any health concerns they may have, which means that if they do end up on the exam table, they’re likely to play down what’s really going on.

Convincing men to take physical and mental health ‘red flags’ seriously means leaping over a few hurdles thrown up by societal gender perceptions, and that goes double for sleep. As a whole, we’re all more likely to write sleep off as something that’s nice to have, not something we need. Of course, the opposite is true. And guys? If you don’t get enough sleep often enough, it can mess with your body and head in some really serious ways. Continue reading

TRavelling with your CPAP Machine

Manage Sleep Apnea on the Go: Travelling with your CPAP

The summer season is almost here! And that means that travel season is in full swing, ready or not. If you’re treating your sleep apnea with a CPAP machine, or soon will be, you may have some questions. Fortunately, we’ve got answers. As a bonus, we’ve assembled a FREE printable CPAP travel checklist, available for download.

Wherever you’re headed – whether you’re going by plane, train, or automobile – you can be sure you’ll get a great night’s sleep once you get there. Continue reading

Test-Everyone-Diabetes-Should-Know-About

The One Test Everyone with Diabetes Should Know About

Does Sleep Loss Cause Diabetes?

It’s no secret that insufficient sleep makes us cranky and wreaks havoc on our ability to focus and function. But sleep deprivation’s more insidious side effects include physical risks that are far more serious. There’s certainly no dearth of sobering study results that point to negative long-term health concerns brought on by sleep deprivation. One that’s particularly alarming? The link between insufficient sleep or poor quality sleep and one of America’s biggest public health concerns: diabetes. Continue reading