Trouble Snoozing? It May Be a Sleep Disorder

Mar 8 • 2016

Sleep disorders are some of the most misunderstood conditions that many people experience. Most people don’t know how to recognize the difference between poor sleeping habits and a diagnosable disorder. Not getting enough sleep can have a huge impact on your overall health, so we sat down with Dr. Robert Schriner, medical director of the Baptist Sleep Disorders Center, to find out what everyone should know about sleep disorders.

One of the most common misconceptions about sleep disorders is how they impact your health. For example, loud snoring in adults is normal – it can cause poor sleep and make you tired, but it does not have any other health consequences. However, fragmented sleep does.

“Fragmented sleep for any reason, including abnormal breathing from sleep apnea, frequent movements of the arms or legs, or even the dog sleeping with you and waking you up can worsen your blood pressure control, increase your blood sugar, and decrease your body’s ability to fight infection,” said Dr. Schriner. “This is in addition to decreased concentration and an increase in irritability and accidents.”

Because these incidents occur in your sleep, it can be hard to know if you’re suffering from a sleep disorder. Dr. Schriner recommends getting feedback from friends and family members who are around you while you’re sleeping.

“This feedback can be invaluable since these disorders are generally slowly progressive and patients may attribute their symptoms to ‘just growing older’,” he said. “Primary care providers are also screening more aggressively for various sleep problems because of their inter-relationship to blood pressure control, diabetes, heart problems, and increase in cancer risks.”

Another way to help identify whether you may be suffering from a sleep disorder is to keep a sleep diary. Keeping track of your sleeping habits can help both you and your doctor identify any patterns or suspicious symptoms.

But if you’re concerned about your sleep issues, Baptist is here to help.

“We offer a number of Sleep Disorder Centers in West Tennessee, Mississippi, and eastern Arkansas,” said Dr. Schriner. “They treat the spectrum of sleep disorders including sleep apnea, narcolepsy and related sleepiness conditions, restless legs syndrome, abnormal behaviors during sleep, and insomnia.”

Learn more about sleep disorder treatment at Baptist today.