1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

OSA is the most common sleep disorder and is characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep.

The breathing pauses typically cause frequent awakenings and reduced oxygen levels during sleep. OSA is diagnosed by a Comprehensive Home Based Sleep Study or Inpatient (Laboratory) Sleep Study. The most effective treatment for OSA is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).

CPAP treatment consists of a small machine that administers positive air pressure through a tube that connects to a small mask that the patient wears over the nose, at the base of the nose, or over the nose and mouth.

The CPAP machine administers a gentle amount of air pressure whilst the patient breathes normally. This air pressure keeps the airway open and prevents collapse of upper airway tissue that causes snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

Alternative treatment options for OSA include Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS), upper airway surgery, positional therapy, weight loss and lifestyle modification.

2. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

RLS is a neurological disorder characterized by throbbing, creeping, or other unpleasant sensations in the legs associated with an uncontrollable urge to move the legs to relieve discomfort.

With RLS, symptoms occur primarily at night when a person is at rest. Most people with RLS have difficulty falling to sleep and staying asleep, which results in daytime fatigue.

Up to 10% of the population may have RLS. RLS is identified by patient reporting and to some degree, it may be identified by a Comprehensive Home Based Sleep Study or Inpatient Sleep Study.

Treatment for RLS includes mineral supplementation (i.e. magnesium) or medication (i.e. dopamine agonist).

Many with RLS also have Periodic Limb Movement Syndrome (PLMS), in which the legs excessively jerk or kick during sleep and cause brief awakenings.

3. Periodic Limb Movement Syndrome (PLMS)

PLMS is a neurologic (movements) disorder characterized by leg twitching or jerking movement that occur during sleep approximately every 15-40 seconds.

The leg jerks cause temporary awakenings that disrupt sleep and may cause daytime fatigue. PLMS is identified and diagnosed by a Comprehensive Home Based Sleep Study or Inpatient Sleep Study.

Treatment for PLMS includes mineral supplementation (i.e. magnesium) or medication (i.e. dopamine agonist).

4. Insomnia (Chronic)

Chronic insomnia is characterized by difficulty getting to sleep and/or difficulty staying asleep for at least one month.

Symptoms include difficulty initiating sleep (prolonged sleep latency), frequent and/or prolonged awakenings during the night, unrefreshing sleep, and tiredness or fatigue during the day.

Insomnia may be diagnosed by physician or specialist evaluation, often through use of questionnaires and patient reporting of sleep difficulties.

Activity monitoring (actigraphy) may be used to classify the type of insomnia.

In addition, consultation with a Sleep Specialist will help to rule out another sleep disorder as the cause of insomnia symptoms.

Insomnia is treated with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Blue light therapy and melatonin may also be used in treatment.

5. Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder. Symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness that may lead to 'sleep attacks' at inappropriate times of the day.

Narcoleptics often have disturbed night time sleep and may complain of insomnia. Many narcoleptics also have cataplexy, an episode of sudden muscular weakness that is often brought on by strong emotion.

Other symptoms include dream-like hallucinations when drifting to sleep and sleep paralysis. Narcolepsy is diagnosed by an overnight inpatient sleep study followed by a daytime inpatient sleep study.

The inpatient daytime sleep study consists of a series of naps throughout the day. Treatment for Narcolepsy may include medication and lifestyle modification.