Understanding Sleep-Related Eating Disorders

sleep eating disorderSleep-related eating disorders(SRED), or sleepeating, is a parasomnia that only affects between one and three percent of the population; however there are some serious risks associated with this type of disorder. One of the most common symptoms of an individual with SRED is unexplained weight gain. Similar to sleepwalking, sleepeating episodes are rarely remembered upon waking, so sufferers can consume excessive amounts of calories without ever realizing it. The foods consumed during a sleepeating episode are typically high caloric, high fat, sugar laden foods.

The development of SRED can usually be attributed to a change in a person’s diet, stress, depression or in those who have recently quit smoking or consuming alcohol. It can also be a side effect of short-acting sleep medications such as Ambien. Individuals who have been diagnosed with other types of sleeping disorders such as restless leg syndrome, sleepwalking or sleep apnea also have a greater risk of developing SRED than those without.

Sleepeating can affect both men and women, however it is more common in women and usually develops in early adulthood. If there is a history of other eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, then the likelihood of developing SRED is increased. Treating these underlying conditions can oftentimes reduce or eliminate the sleepeating. If this doesn’t work, there are also medications that can be prescribed to suppress the parasomnia.

One of the greatest potential dangers of sleepeating is that individuals don’t always differentiate between foods and nonfoods which can be excessively dangerous; it is not uncommon for sufferers to consume nonfood items such as cleaning agents, cigarettes, coffee grounds etc., which can lead to serious illness. There is also the risk of injury during a sleepeating episode such as getting burned during food preparation or getting cut since their coordination and cognitive intuition is disrupted.

The potential dangers of SRED need to be taken into consideration and as such, a consult with a physician is necessary to determine the cause and implement a treatment plan. A polysomnogram (sleep study) will most likely be ordered to determine the severity of the disorder and to ascertain if any other sleep disorders are causing the sleepeating. Having a well-balanced diet and practicing good sleep hygiene can also go a long way to help treat or even prevent the development of SRED.


Home sleep studies: easier, convenient and cost-efficient

Home Sleep StudyLately you’ve been having trouble sleeping at night and your doctor referred you to take an over night sleep study. The problem is, your schedule is already hectic, you’re exhausted, and there is absolutely no possible way you’re able to stay at an over night study. There is no need to stress out; many patients now have the opportunity to take a home sleep test in the comfort of their own home. Not only do you not have a long wait to schedule an appointment you even have the convenience of taking home a monitor that day after being briefed on how to operate the machine with a sleep technologist.

The home sleep study is relatively pretty easy. You will go through your normal daily routine. When it is time for bed, you place a belt around your mid section, apply an airflow sensor under your nose, and attach a clip to your finger, finally turn the machine and fall asleep. Not all machines are exactly the same; some may require you to add a few other stick-on sensors to the body. The following morning when you wake up, pack the machine up, return it to your doctor and wait to hear back with the results. Do keep in mind it could take a few days for the results.

The portable monitor will measure your oxygen levels, heart rate, airflow and breathing effort along with snoring while you sleep. Some machines will even record brain waves. If you were to go to an in-laboratory polysomnogram or PSG everything being measured is exactly the same as the home sleep study. In addition, the in-lab study will additionally measure EKG, sleep time, and leg movements and let’s not forget a licensed sleep technologist will be there to monitor you.

The cost to have an in-lab polysomnogram can cost up to $5,000, depending on what state you live in. Most insurance companies currently accept home sleep studies and actually prefer it instead of in-lab since it can cost as low as $200.

There are a few disadvantages to the home sleep test. The modified sleep study can only be used to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). All other sleep disorder studies still have to be performed at an in-lab sleep center. For those with congestive heart failure, emphysema, seizures, pulmonary diseases and neuromuscular diseases a home sleep test is not recommended. Lastly, there is always a possibly the home sleep study might not record enough data to make a complete diagnosis. If this were to be the case, your physician will have you attend an over night sleep study at an in- laboratory polysomnography.

Interested in taking a home sleep test? Talk with a sleep specialist or watch our video to learn more.


How does a CPAP machine work?

Were you diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and now every night you sleep with a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure machine)? The CPAP helps control your breathing, giving you an undisturbed cpapnight of rest. The CPAP machine provides pressurized air to your upper airway while sleeping to keep your airway open.

The apparatus generally consists of an air compressor and either a nasal or facial mask. To help keep the mask in place while you sleep, it comes with a strap. The strap not only goes around your head but also under your chin to keep the mouth closed letting the majority of the breathing to be done through the nose. A tube then connects the mask to the machine. There is a motor that blows air into the tube and through your mask into your airway. Some CPAP machines monitor your breathing and apply pressurized air only when you need it.

The CPAP machine has a small tank for water and a filter that are designed to remove impurities and increase the humidity level in the air. This helps keep the patients from developing nosebleeds, along with dry mouth and throats.

According to the National Sleep Foundation 50% percent of the 18 million people with sleep apnea regularly use their CPAP machines. Even though the machine is quiet, some patients feel claustrophobic with the mask. Remember if you want your CPAP machine to be effective, you must wear it 6-8 hours while sleeping.

Even though CPAP machines are not prescribed to treat snoring, they help eliminate snoring in addition to sleep apnea.

If you have any questions about your CPAP machine or concerning sleep apnea contact your sleep specialist.


Poor Sleep Due to RLS

RLSAccording to The National Sleep Foundation, approximately one in ten adult Americans suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease. This sleep-related movement disorder is known best for its overwhelming and often unpleasant urges to move the legs while at rest. RLS often impacts sleep quality and overall quality of life. Some people find falling asleep and staying asleep nearly impossible. Poor sleep can affect daily life, emotional well-being, social life and work life. But you’re not alone should this be your correct diagnosis.

RLS is a neurological disorder characterized by throbbing, pulling, creeping, or other unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable, and sometimes overwhelming, urge to move them. Symptoms occur primarily at night when a person is relaxing or at rest and can increase in severity during the night. Moving the legs relieves the discomfort. Often called paresthesias (abnormal sensations) or dysesthesias (unpleasant abnormal sensations), the sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful. Doesn’t sound like something you could sleep with, does it? We don’t think so and neither do our clients. But without further diagnosis from your physician or a professional sleep center, people have been incorrectly told that RLS was actually the symptoms of nervousness, insomnia, stress, arthritis, muscle cramps, or aging!

Treatment varies based on severity but can range from medication, supplements or a variety of other means. In people with mild to moderate restless legs syndrome, lifestyle changes, such as beginning a regular exercise program, establishing regular sleep patterns, and eliminating or decreasing the use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco may be sufficient. Treatment typically aims at reliving the associated symptoms so that the throbbing, pulling, creeping, or other unpleasant sensations in the legs can subside along with what patients express as sleepless nights, mental anguish and the relentless and tormenting feelings. Sometimes, RLS is caused by other health conditions such as high blood sugar related nerve damage or chronic vascular disease like deep vein thrombosis and arterial claudication and when those are treated, the symptoms can also subside.

We encourage you to contact our sleep center for proper diagnosis or speak with your physician. Our sleep doctors are prepared to treat your sleep disorder https://www.pmsleepcenters.com/ so that you can start living your life fully and rested. A good night’s sleep goes a long way!


The Sleep and Heart Connection

Sleep. It is as vital as breathing. In fact, without proper restorative sleep even breathing becomes a problem! Individuals who suffer from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea experience numerous pauses in their breathing rhythm throughout the course of the night and often wake up gasping for air. Without treatment, this lack of restorative sleep can eventually lead to cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke and even heart healthheart failure are all associated with sleep apnea.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and stroke is not far behind at number five so it is not something to take lightly. If you suspect you or a loved one might have sleep apnea, it is essential to talk to your doctor right away and be set up for a sleep study. The longer you put off treatment, the more potential damage you could be doing to your heart. In a normal sleep cycle, the heart gets an opportunity to rest; blood pressure goes down as well as heart rate. Without this break, the heart rate stays elevated which then induces high blood pressure which leads to cardiovascular disease.

The European Heart Journal conducted a study of 475,000 individuals and discovered that those who slept less than six hours a night had a 48% greater risk of developing or dying from coronary heart disease and a 15% increased risk of having or dying from a stroke. An individual who suffers from a sleep disorder sometimes never enters into restorative sleep even if they think they are sleeping, and that just plays havoc on the heart as well as other parts of the body.

The good news is that there is treatment available for sleep apnea sufferers. If a sleep study or polysomnogram (PSG) identifies a patient as having sleep apnea, they will most likely be fitted with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. A CPAP machine increases air pressure in the throat so that the airway does not become blocked during sleep; this allows the lungs to breathe properly and lets the body go into restorative sleep.

Patients who have heart arrhythmias or high blood pressure caused by sleep apnea, can oftentimes resolve the conditions by the use of a CPAP machine. Evidence has shown that proper treatment not only lowers blood pressure during the night, but it also lowers it during the day as well. Arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats are also decreased with proper treatment; sixty percent of patients never have to return for treatment of their arrhythmias after starting on a CPAP machine. Good sleep is vital, so don’t ignore it if you are not getting enough rest at night, talk to your physician and take the first step on the path to a healthier you.


What to Expect During a Sleep Study

Sleep studies are an important tool used to conclusively diagnose a sleeping disorder. Doctors will often recommend a patient have a sleep study performed if it is suspected that they might suffer from sleep apnea, narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia, restless leg syndrome, sleep related seizures or some other form of sleep disorder. There are several different types of sleep studies that are conducted, but the most common is the polysomnogram (PSG), which is used to help diagnose sleep apnea, sleep-related seizures and restless leg syndrome.
What to expect during a sleep study
During a PSG, you will usually stay overnight in a sleep center; the nurses or technicians will make the room as comfortable as possible and answer any questions or concerns you might have regarding the test. Once you are settled in bed, adhesive patches with sensors, called electrodes, will then be placed on various parts of your body, typically on the scalp, chest, face, arms, legs and a finger. Elastic belts will also be placed around the chest and abdomen to measure chest expansion and the strength and duration of inhaled and exhaled breaths.

The wires attached to the electrodes are very thin and flexible, and are bundled together so you can move about fairly easily, without feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmingly restricted. As you sleep, the electrodes record brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, heart rhythm, blood pressure and blood oxygen levels. This data is then transmitted to a monitor in another room where the technicians are able to monitor your sleep patterns.

If you show symptoms of sleep apnea during the procedure, it may be decided to transfer your PSG into a split-night sleep study. During a split-night sleep study, you will continue to sleep the first half of the night and then be woken up so you can be fitted with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask. A CPAP machine is a small machine that softly blows air into the mask, creating pressure that helps to keep your airway open during sleep.

The technician will periodically check how you are sleeping with the CPAP mask, while continuing to monitor all the same vitals as during the beginning of the PSG. They will then make air flow adjustments as needed or exchange the mask to achieve optimum breathing results and to get the most comfortable fit.

Once the sleep study is complete, the electrodes will be removed and you will be able to go home. Your test will then be carefully evaluated, and a sleep specialist will consult with your doctor to determine a diagnosis. If you are found to have some sort of sleep disorder, your doctor will discuss the right treatment options for you.