Narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnolence (literal translation – we do not know why but you are sleepy) are two rare sleepiness conditions where patients struggle to stay awake during the day. These conditions are not common and patients often struggle with getting through the day (i.e., they fall asleep driving, at work, doing tasks, etc.) These conditions are evaluated via the following interlinked steps:
Sleep apnea sometimes results in very significant daytime sleepiness and it is good to rule out this condition before further assessing for narcolepsy or idiopathic hypersomnolence.
Hypnos Health offers sleep apnea testing but does not offer narcolepsy or idiopathic hypersomnolence testing. Hypnos Health could help start the process for that workup with a home sleep study or consult and if needed, follow up with an in person sleep specialist could be pursued.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a suffocation disease (i.e., you stop breathing) that took the lives of many people including celebrity Carrie Fisher and NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White. Untreated, this condition can increase your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. Obstructive sleep apnea is even associated with the development of memory problems such as dementia.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a disease where your airway collapses like a straw being squeezed multiple times per hour. When this occurs repeatedly, it puts stress on the entire body which can cause issues. Hypertension (aka high blood pressure) and diabetes (aka sugar disease) are often worsened by this condition. Although being overweight or obese increases your odds of having this condition, many people who have ideal body weights suffer from this condition.
The classical symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are any combination of snoring, stopping breathing, waking up multiple times randomly or to urinate, feeling unrefreshed in the morning, being tired throughout the day, or feeling excessively sleepy. Grinding teeth during the night, sweating during sleep, and waking up from heart burn can also be signs of this condition. Most people with sleep apnea have no idea they are suffocating throughout the night.
There are 2 ways to test for obstructive sleep apnea: 1) home sleep study or 2) in lab sleep study. The advantage of a home sleep study is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home. The advantage of the in lab sleep study is that you can obtain more information from more comprehensive monitoring.
For most people, the home sleep study is all they need and for that reason, Hypnos Health offers this service. Sign up to see if you suffer from this condition today.
Insomnia is a condition where you struggle to fall asleep or struggle to stay asleep. The current guidelines define “struggling” as taking more than 30 minutes. When this occurs, many people are tempted to stay in bed and “wait it out” but this is actually not recommended because you risk associating the bed with the inability to sleep.
If you are struggling to fall or stay asleep, we recommend leaving the bedroom and reading a paper book or blue light filtered kindle type device. You should not put on television, go on your phone, or go for a run as these things will likely keep you up longer. The gold standard treatment for insomnia is a short course of cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (CBTi). CBTi is usually up to 6 sessions of talking with a therapist specialized in insomnia who can help break bad habits and get to the root cause of the insomnia. CBTi has been shown to be more effective long-term than medication therapies.
Many people with insomnia have undiagnosed sleep apnea. They struggle to fall or stay asleep due to the underlying suffocation disease (i.e., sleep apnea). Most people with sleep apnea and insomnia have no idea they are suffocating throughout the night and only know that they wake up and cannot fall back asleep. For that reason, we would recommend getting a sleep study to further assess and if it is not sleep apnea, trying CBTi.