Sleep Disorders Patient Education
Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. The "apnea" in sleep apnea refers to a breathing pause that lasts at least ten seconds. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite efforts to breathe.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder caused by the brain's inability to regulate sleep-wake cycles normally. The main features of narcolepsy are excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy. The disease is also often associated with sudden sleep attacks, insomnia, dream-like hallucinations, and a condition called sleep paralysis.
Insomnia, which is Latin for "no sleep," is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. Insomnia is also used to describe the condition of waking up not feeling restored or refreshed. According to Dr.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the leading therapy for sleep apnea. Patients wear a face or nasal mask during sleep. The mask, connected to a pump, provides a positive flow of air into the nasal passages in order to keep the airway open. Most insurance companies now pay for sleep testing and for CPAP treatment.