Types of Sleep Disorders and Associated Tests

Suffering from sleepless nights? Learn more about potential disorders that may be disturbing your sleep.

At Health City Cayman Islands, we are passionate about evaluating and treating sleep disorders, with the goal of restoring healthy sleep patterns. When sleep disorders and their underlying causes are treated, patients find that their quality of life remarkably improves. In fact, patients who have undergone treatment at our sleep lab have reported significant improvements in energy levels, concentration, and performance. Treating these disorders can boost immunity and help prevent several chronic diseases linked to sleep deprivation. These include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems, depression, obesity, and dementia in older adults.

Signs of a Sleep Disorder

While some people are acutely aware that they are experiencing insomnia, people with other sleep disorders are often unaware that they have a problem. Here are some potential signs:

    • Snoring that disturbs your bed partner
    • Trouble falling asleep at night more than three times a week
    • Waking up frequently during the night
    • Feeling irritable or tired throughout the day
    • Falling asleep while driving, at work, or in the classroom
    • An itchy, crawly feeling in your legs
    • Waking up with a headache or a dry/sore throat


Sleep Disorders

There are more than 84 identified sleep disorders, but rest assured, our dedicated sleep lab team can help you get to the root of the issue and offer solutions.

The most common sleep disorders include:

Insomnia is a general term that includes several types of sleeplessness. Trouble falling asleep at bedtime is referred to as sleep-onset insomnia, whereas if you have difficulty staying asleep and wake up frequently, that is called sleep-maintenance insomnia. Insomnia typically has a psychological cause such as depression, anxiety, stress, or overstimulation of the senses, especially too close to bedtime. It can also be triggered by various foods, drinks, and medications. A smaller number of cases are due to sleep apnoea, which can have more serious health implications.
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)
OSA is estimated to affect 4% of men and 2% of women worldwide and is becoming more prevalent as the number of obese people increases. When you have OSA, your airway repeatedly becomes blocked, limiting the amount of air that reaches your lungs. In many cases, an apnoea, or temporary pause in breathing, is caused by the tissue in the back of the throat collapsing. Most people are unaware that they are having problems breathing and cannot judge the severity of the problem. It is often a spouse or bed partner that will detect these problems – perhaps because they suffer sleepless nights as a result.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
RLS is a common and treatable neurological condition characterized by a strong, usually uncontrollable urge to move your legs immediately before falling asleep. You may also experience other odd sensations like burning, prickling, itching or tingling in your legs. The symptoms normally occur at night, so they can severely disrupt sleep and reduce a person’s quality of life.
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)
PLMD is a condition in which imperceptive, uncontrollable muscle spasms occur during non-REM sleep, causing a disruption in sleep. The limb movements generally involve the lower extremities, consisting of extension of the big toe and flexion of the ankle, the knee, and the hip.
Narcolepsy is a chronic brain disorder that involves poor control of sleep-wake cycles. People with narcolepsy experience periods of excessive daytime sleepiness, as well as sudden, uncontrollable sleep attacks that usually last a few seconds to several minutes.
Parasomnias are abnormal activities that can affect people while they are sleeping. Although OSA can exist concurrently, parasomnias are considered a separate disorder. Some examples of parasomnias are sleep-related eating disorder, sleepwalking, nightmares, sleep paralysis, REM sleep behaviour disorder, and sleep aggression.

Types of Sleep Tests

There are different types of Sleep Studies carried out in both lab and in-home settings to identify and monitor patient’s sleep patterns. Gold Standard Level I Sleep Studies are conducted in a lab setting, and include:

  • Diagnostic Sleep Study
  • Titration Sleep Study
  • Split Night Sleep Study
  • MSLT and MWT.

Level II Sleep Studies, also considered Gold Standard, are done in an in-home setting by using a portable device to capture many of the same parameters as a Level I study. Each study is designed to record a combination of different parameters during sleep, which can include: Brain wave activity, Respiratory pattern, Heart rate, Chest movement, Leg movement, Eye movement, and / or Blood Oxygen Saturation.

Nocturnal Polysomnography (diagnostic)
Overnight sleep testing performed in accordance with current standards of practice.
Nocturnal Polysomnography with Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
Split-Night Polysomnography
Overnight sleep testing performed in accordance with current standards of practice, with CPAP added and adjusted to therapeutic pressures.
Nocturnal Seizure Recording
Overnight testing that is split between a diagnostic period, usually at the beginning of the recording, and a CPAP period.
Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)
A test that involves a series of daytime nap opportunities, usually in 2-hour intervals, 20 minutes each as needed, in order to evaluate daytime sleepiness. The MSLT is recommended for all cases of daytime sleepiness, and is required for the evaluation of narcolepsy. It is usually done after overnight polysomnography testing in the lab.
Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT)
A daytime challenge test in which the patient is given multiple opportunities to nap, but instructed to remain awake during the recording period. The MWT often provides important information relevant to the patient’s ability to sustain wakefulness in occupational settings or when performing critical tasks (i.e., driving).
Home Sleep Testing (Level II & Level III)
Health City Cayman Islands offers overnight sleep testing with a portable device that monitors many of the same parameters of in-lab studies but can be done in the comfort of your own home.
Overnight Oximetry
This test measures the patient’s blood oxygen level throughout the night during sleep. It entails wearing a small device on the wrist (about the size of a wrist watch) with a clip on the finger. This test may be used to determine if oxygen therapy is needed based on the patient’s oxygen levels, screen for sleep apnoea, or determine if a prescribed treatment is effective.

There is no need to suffer from sleepless nights that are negatively impacting your life. We are committed to giving you the peace of mind that comes with a good night’s rest. Although most patients will stay overnight, home sleep studies using a portable monitoring system are an option.

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Please call us at 1 (345) 640-4040, or fill out our simple contact form, to find out more about diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. Give us a night…and we’ll help restore your sleep.