Sleep disorders come in many forms and are often misunderstood and misdiagnosed because the telltale signs — excessive snoring and daytime drowsiness — can result from a multitude of factors, including stress, obesity, work or travel schedule, anxiety, diet, medication or alcohol use or even a bad mattress or poor lighting.
"Any time we change our sleep patterns, like during the switch to or from daylight saving time (2 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 7), our ability to rest properly is affected," said Dr. Arnold Pallay, medical director at Changebridge Medical Associates in Montville, NJ. "But sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are year-round problems that must be properly diagnosed and addressed to preserve the health of the individual."
He added that sleep has a reciprocal relationship with medication, nutrition, lifestyle and weight, and patients with chronic sleep problems such as insomnia, narcolepsy or sleep apnea can experience long-term health problems including recurring headaches, extreme muscle weakness or even heart problems and diabetes. According to the National Institutes for Health, about 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic long-term sleep disorders each year and an additional 20 million people experience occasional sleep problems.