What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea (AP-ne-ah) is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.
Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They often occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.
Sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep. You often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep when your breathing pauses or becomes shallow.
This results in poor sleep quality that makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of excessive daytime sleepiness.
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What Is Restless Legs Syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder that causes a strong urge to move your legs. This urge to move often occurs with strange and unpleasant feelings in your legs. Moving your legs relieves the urge and the unpleasant feelings.
People who have RLS describe the unpleasant feelings as creeping, crawling, pulling, itching, tingling, burning, aching, or electric shocks. Sometimes, these feelings also occur in the arms.
The urge to move and unpleasant feelings happen when you're resting and inactive. Thus, they tend to be worse in the evening and at night.
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What Is Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy (NAR-ko-lep-se) is a disorder that causes periods of extreme daytime sleepiness. The disorder also may cause muscle weakness.
Most people who have narcolepsy have trouble sleeping at night. Some people who have the disorder fall asleep suddenly, even if they're in the middle of talking, eating, or another activity.
Narcolepsy also can cause:
• Cataplexy (KAT-ah-plek-se). This condition causes a sudden loss of muscle tone while you're awake. Muscle weakness can affect certain parts of your body or your whole body. For example, if cataplexy affects your hand, you may drop what you're holding. Strong emotions often trigger this weakness. It may last seconds or minutes.
• Hallucinations (ha-lu-sih-NA-shuns). These vivid dreams occur while falling asleep or waking up.
• Sleep paralysis (pah-RAL-ih-sis). This condition prevents you from moving or speaking while waking up and sometimes while falling asleep. Sleep paralysis usually goes away within a few minutes.
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What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia (in-SOM-ne-ah) is a common sleep disorder. People who have insomnia have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. As a result, they may get too little sleep or have poor-quality sleep. They may not feel refreshed when they wake up.
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