WHAT IS SLEEP PARALYSIS?

People with narcolepsy often experience a temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking. These episodes are usually brief — lasting one or two minutes — but can be frightening. You may be aware of the condition and have no difficulty recalling it afterward, even if you had no control over what was happening to you.
This sleep paralysis mimics the type of temporary paralysis that normally occurs during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the period of sleep during which most dreaming occurs. This temporary immobility during REM sleep may prevent your body from acting out dream activity.
Not everyone with sleep paralysis has narcolepsy, however. Many people without narcolepsy experience some episodes of sleep paralysis, especially in young adulthood.
Although there is no cure for narcolepsy, the condition can usually be managed with medication.
A number of lifestyle adjustments may also help, including:
-taking frequent brief naps during the day
-sticking to a strict bedtime routine where you go to bed at the same time each night
-ensuring you get at least eight hours of sleep every night
-avoiding stressful situations, eating a healthy, balanced diet and taking regular exercise (but not too close to bedtime)






THE SCARY REM BEHAVIOR DISORDER

This troubling sleep disorder is a condition called REM behavior disorder. This disorder causes the sleepers to physically act out their dreams by kicking, screaming and even falling out of bed. Unfortunately, this disorder is usually not noticed until it causes an injury either to themselves or others.
Dr. Nabeela Nasir, MD, sleep specialist, assistant professor of neurology at Loyola University Medical Center, would like to raise awareness of this disorder because those who endure this condition can be treated successfully with medications.
“I don’t think we have a clear idea how prevalent it is.” “Patients don’t report it, and doctors don’t ask about it,” says Dr. Nasir in a news release.
Sleep involves transitions between three different states; wakefulness, REM sleep (rapid eye movement associated to dreaming) and N-REM sleep (non-rapid eye movement).
Normally muscles do not move during REM but this temporary paralysis does not occur in patients with REM behavior disorder. The patients will physically act out their vivid dreams they are having, for example, running, fighting and warding off attackers.
REM behavior disorder belongs to a class of sleep disorders called parasomnias, which include the sleep disorders of sleep walking and sleep related eating disorder (person eats while asleep).
This disorder affects an estimated one in every 200 adults with nine out of ten men suffering from this disorder with the vast majority being over 50 years. Many patients eventually develop Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.







Mayo Clinic researchers found that people with REM sleep behavior disorder have twice the risk for developing mild cognitive impairment or Parkinson’s disease. Their study appeared online January 12, 2012 in Annals of Neurology.
Many patients are treated with Clonazepam, which is in a class of medicines called benzodiazepines, which curtails or eliminates the disorder 90% of the time. Melatonin a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles is used for insomnia and being looked at for as a treatment for REM behavior disorder.
Dr. Nasir recommends to safe-proofing the bedroom such as clear the room of furniture and objects that could cause injury and sleep alone if necessary.
The main symptom of REM sleep behavior disorder is dream-enacting behaviors. At times they can be violent causing self-injury or injury to the bed partner. These behaviors can include punching or jumping out of bed while still asleep. Other actions of REM behavior disorder include; kicking, grabbing and sitting up in bed.
If any of these behaviors occur during sleep seek medical attention.

CHILDREN OBESITY DANGERS!

Not all children carrying extra pounds are overweight or obese. Some children have larger than average body frames. And children normally carry different amounts of body fat at the various stages of development. So you might not know just by looking at your child if his or her weight is a health concern. Childhood obesity can have complications for the physical, social and emotional well-being of your child.
Physical complications

-Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes in children is a chronic condition that affects the way your child’s body metabolizes sugar (glucose). Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
-Metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome isn’t a disease itself, but a cluster of conditions that can put your child at risk of developing heart disease, diabetes or other health problems. This cluster of conditions includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and excess abdominal fat.
-High cholesterol and high blood pressure. Your child can develop high blood pressure or high cholesterol if he or she eats a poor diet. These factors can contribute to the buildup of plaques in the arteries. These plaques can cause arteries to narrow and harden, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke later in life.
-Asthma and other breathing problems. The extra weight on your child’s body can cause problems with the development and health of your child’s lungs, leading to asthma or other breathing problems.
-Sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which your child may snore or have abnormal breathing when he or she sleeps, can be a complication of childhood obesity. Pay attention to breathing problems your child may have while sleeping.
-Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This disorder, which usually causes no symptoms, causes fatty deposits to build up in the liver. NAFLD can lead to scarring and liver damage.
-Early puberty or menstruation. Being obese can create hormone imbalances for your child. These imbalances can cause puberty to start earlier than expected.






WHY DO WE NEED A SLEEP STUDY?

Polysomnography monitors your sleep stages and cycles to identify if or when your sleep patterns are disrupted and why.
The normal process of falling asleep begins with a sleep stage called non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. During this stage, your brain waves, as recorded by electroencephalography (EEG), slow down considerably. Your eyes don’t move back and forth rapidly during NREM, in contrast to later stages of sleep. After an hour or two of NREM sleep, your brain activity picks up again, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep begins. Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep.

You normally go through four to six sleep cycles a night, cycling between NREM and REM sleep in about 90 minutes. Your REM stage usually lengthens with each cycle as the night progresses. Sleep disorders can disturb this sleep process. Polysomnography monitors your sleep stages and cycles to identify if or when your sleep patterns are disrupted.
Your doctor may recommend polysomnography if he or she suspects you have:
-Sleep apnea or another sleep-related breathing disorder — your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
-Periodic limb movement disorder — you involuntarily flex and extend your legs while sleeping. This sleep disorder is sometimes associated with restless legs syndrome.
-Narcolepsy — you experience overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep.
-REM sleep behavior disorder — you act out dreams as you sleep.
-Unusual behaviors during sleep — you do unusual activities during sleep, such as walking, moving around a lot or rhythmic movements.
Unexplained chronic insomnia — you consistently have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.






THOSE HORRIBLE NIGHTMARES!

Nightmares are disturbing dreams associated with negative feelings, such as anxiety or fear. Nightmares are common. They may begin in childhood and tend to decrease after about age 10. However, some people have them as teens or adults, or throughout their lives.
Until age 13, boys and girls have nightmares in equal numbers. At age 13, nightmares become more prevalent in girls than boys.
Nightmares seem real, often becoming more disturbing as the dream unfolds. But nightmares usually are nothing to worry about. They may become a problem if you have them frequently and they cause you to fear going to sleep or keep you from sleeping well.
Nightmares are referred to by doctors as parasomnias — undesirable experiences that occur during sleep, usually during the stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement (REM). You’ve had a nightmare if:
-Your dream wakes you
-You feel scared, anxious, angry, sad or disgusted as a result of your dream
-You can think clearly upon awakening, and can recall details of your dream
-Your dream occurs near the end of your sleep time
-Your dream keeps you from falling back to sleep easily
Children’s nightmare content varies with age, typically becoming more complex. While a young child might dream of monsters, an older child might have nightmares about school or difficulties at home.






LACK OF SLEEP MAKES YOU SICK!

Lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.
So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.
How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.
But more sleep isn’t always better. For adults, sleeping more than nine to 10 hours a night may result in poor quality of sleep, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.






CAREFUL WITH NIGHT TERRORS!

Night terrors are episodes of fear, flailing and screaming while asleep. Also known as night terrors, sleep terrors often are paired with sleepwalking. Although sleep terrors are more common in children, they can affect adults. A sleep terror episode usually lasts from seconds to a few minutes.
Night terrors are relatively rare, affecting only a small percentage of children — often between ages 4 and 12 — and a smaller percentage of adults. However frightening, night terrors aren’t usually a cause for concern. Most children outgrow night terrors by adolescence.
Night terrors differ from nightmares. The dreamer of a nightmare wakes up from the dream and remembers details, but a person who has a night terror episode remains asleep. Children usually don’t remember anything about their sleep terrors in the morning. Adults may recall a dream fragment they had during the night terrors.
Like sleepwalking and nightmares, night terrors are a parasomnia — an undesired occurrence during sleep. Night terrors usually occur during the first third of the sleep period.
During a sleep terror episode, a person might:
-Sit up in bed
-Scream or shout
-Kick and thrash

-Sweat, breathe heavily and have a racing pulse
-Be hard to awaken
-Be inconsolable

-Get out of bed and run around the house
-Engage in violent behavior (more common in adults)
-Stare wide-eyed






CAN YOU DIE FROM SLEEP APNEA?

Sleep apnea is a very serious of a condition and could be fatal. It’s not just about constantly feeling tired or snoring – both things people think they can just ignore and deal with. When you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing when you sleep. Depending on how severe your sleep apnea is, you could stop breathing hundreds of times a night. This disrupts your sleep cycle and prevents you from entering the deep stages of sleep where your body repairs itself.
When your body can’t repair itself, your risk for other life-threatening conditions like stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and others is increased. It can also make you a drowsy driver, putting you at an increased risk for causing an accident and hurting yourself and others.
Sudden cardiac death can also be a consequence of untreated sleep apnea. This could be because those with sleep apnea experience events called nocturnal ischemias, which happen at night while you sleep when your heart doesn’t get enough blood. These events tend to happen when the coronary arteries that supply blood to your heart become blocked or narrowed. Often the heart can get enough blood through these constricted arteries while you are sleeping, but it cannot cope under stressful events like the continued lack of oxygen you experience throughout the night when you suffer from sleep apnea.
Treating sleep apnea could help reduce the risk for these life-threatening conditions, so talk to your doctor about any concerns you are having. Never dismiss feelings of constant fatigue as something you have to deal with by drinking an extra cup of coffee or your snoring as an annoyance your bed partner will learn to live with. Your body is trying to tell you something, so make an appointment to speak with your doctor.






Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome

Sudden unexpected death syndrome, or Sudden unexpected nocturnal death syndrome (SUNDS), or Sudden Unknown Death Syndrome, or Sudden Adult Death Syndrome is sudden unexpected death of adolescents and adults, often during sleep.
Sudden unexplained death syndrome was first noted in 1977 among Hmong refugees in the US.The disease was again noted in Singapore, when a retrospective survey of records showed that 230 otherwise healthy Thai men died suddenly of unexplained causes between 1982 and 1990: In the Philippines, where it is referred to in the vernacular as bangungot, SUNDS affects 43 per 100,000 per year among young Filipinos. Most of the victims are young males.
SUNDS has been cloaked in superstition. Many Filipinos believe ingesting high levels of carbohydrates just before sleeping causes bangungot.
It has only been recently that the scientific world has begun to understand this syndrome. Victims of bangungot have not been found to have any organic heart diseases or structural heart problems.
However, cardiac activity during SUNDS episodes indicates irregular heart rhythms and ventricular fibrillation. The victim survives this episode if the heart’s rhythm goes back to normal. Older Filipinos recommend wiggling the big toe of people experiencing this to encourage their heart to snap back to normal.






Sleep Terror Disorders

Also called “night terrors”, these episodes are characterized by extreme terror and a temporary inability to attain full consciousness. The person may abruptly exhibit behaviors of fear, panic, confusion, or an apparent desire to escape. There is no response to soothing from others. They may experience gasping, moaning or screaming. However, the person is not fully awake, and once the episode passes, often returns to normal sleep without ever fully waking up. In most cases, there is no recollection of the episode in the morning.
Like sleepwalking, night terror episodes usually occur during NREM delta (slow wave) sleep. They are most likely to occur during the first part of the night. The timing of the events helps differentiate the episodes from nightmares, which occur during the last third of the sleep period.
While sleep terrors are more common in children, they can occur at any age. Research has shown that a predisposition to night terrors may be hereditary. Emotional stress during the day, fatigue or an irregular routine are thought to trigger episodes. Ensuring a child has the proper amount of sleep, as well as addressing any daytime stresses, will help reduce terrors.