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Birmingham, AL 35205
7191 Cahaba Valley Road, Bldg 2, Suite #203
Birmingham, AL 35242
7067 Veterans Pkwy, Suite #230
Pell City, AL 35125
Getting an accurate diagnosis can be one of the most impactful experiences that you can have – especially if you have been in search for that answer for a while.
The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is a measure of daytime drowsiness. It is a useful test to help diagnose sleeping problems.
This questionnaire refers to your chance of falling asleep, according to your usual way of life, for about the last week or two.
Follow the instructions to complete the scale to determine if you may need to talk to your doctor about having a sleep study.
7 or less = You have a normal amount of sleepiness
8 to 9 = You have an average amount of sleepiness
10 to 15 = You may be excessively sleepy depending on the situation and you may want to seek medical attention
16 + up = You are excessively sleepy and should seek medical attention
Click below to learn more about these common sleep disorders.
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Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you might have sleep apnea.
The main types of sleep apnea are:
If you think you might have sleep apnea, see your doctor. Treatment can ease your symptoms and might help prevent heart problems and other complications.
Snoring is the hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe. Nearly everyone snores now and then, but for some people it can be a chronic problem. Sometimes it may also indicate a serious health condition. In addition, snoring can be a nuisance to your partner.
Snoring is often associated with a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Not all snorers have OSA, but if snoring is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, it may be an indication to see a doctor for further evaluation for OSA:
Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime or sleeping on your side, can help stop snoring.
See your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. You may still feel tired when you wake up. Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance and quality of life.
Insomnia symptoms may include:
If insomnia makes it hard for you to function during the day, see your doctor to identify the cause of your sleep problem and how it can be treated. If your doctor thinks you could have a sleep disorder, you might be referred to a sleep center for special testing.
Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. People with narcolepsy often find it difficult to stay awake for long periods of time, regardless of the circumstances. Narcolepsy can cause serious disruptions in your daily routine.
Narcolepsy is a chronic condition for which there’s no cure. However, medications and lifestyle changes can help you manage the symptoms. Support from others — family, friends, employers, teachers — can help you cope with narcolepsy.
The signs and symptoms of narcolepsy may worsen for the first few years and then continue for life. They include:
Excessive daytime sleepiness. People with narcolepsy fall asleep without warning, anywhere, anytime. For example, you may be working or talking with friends and suddenly you nod off, sleeping for a few minutes up to a half-hour. When you awaken, you feel refreshed, but eventually you get sleepy again.
You may also experience decreased alertness and focus throughout the day. Excessive daytime sleepiness usually is the first symptom to appear and is often the most troublesome, making it difficult for you to concentrate and fully function.
Sudden loss of muscle tone. This condition, called cataplexy (KAT-uh-plek-see), can cause a number of physical changes, from slurred speech to complete weakness of most muscles, and may last up to a few minutes.
Cataplexy is uncontrollable and is triggered by intense emotions, usually positive ones such as laughter or excitement, but sometimes fear, surprise or anger. For example, when you laugh, your head may droop uncontrollably or your knees may suddenly buckle.
Some people with narcolepsy experience only one or two episodes of cataplexy a year, while others have numerous episodes daily. Not everyone with narcolepsy experiences cataplexy.
Sleep paralysis. People with narcolepsy often experience a temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking. These episodes are usually brief — lasting a few seconds or minutes — but can be frightening. You may be aware of the condition and have no difficulty recalling it afterward, even if you had no control over what was happening to you.
This sleep paralysis mimics the type of temporary paralysis that normally occurs during a period of sleep called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This temporary immobility during REM sleep may prevent your body from acting out dream activity.
Not everyone with sleep paralysis has narcolepsy, however. Many people without narcolepsy experience some episodes of sleep paralysis.
See your doctor if you experience excessive daytime sleepiness that disrupts your personal or professional life.
“Parasomnia” is a catchall term for unusual behaviors1 that people experience prior to falling asleep, while asleep, or during the arousal period between sleep and wakefulness. These behaviors vary considerably in terms of characteristics, severity, and frequency.
If you think you might have any of these or other parasomnia behaviors , see your doctor.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation. It typically happens in the evening or nighttime hours when you’re sitting or lying down. Moving eases the unpleasant feeling temporarily.
Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, can begin at any age and generally worsens as you age. It can disrupt sleep, which interferes with daily activities.
Simple self-care steps and lifestyle changes may help relieve symptoms. Medications also help many people with RLS.
The chief symptom is an urge to move the legs. Common accompanying characteristics of RLS include:
As the Coronavirus continues to spread, many businesses and organizations are taking precautions to help protect the health and well-being of their employees, customers, and the community at large.
We want you to know that St. Vincent’s Sleep Disorders Center is also taking the situation very seriously.
We’re monitoring developments closely and reinforcing plans that would allow us to maintain operations even under potentially strained circumstances.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions.