There are several types of sleep disorders. Not all of them are caused by neurological conditions. However, those that are can be diagnosed and treated by a neurologist sleep specialist.
At Mecklenburg Neurology in Charlotte, NC, our physicians use a multidisciplinary approach to diagnose and treat sleep disorders and disturbances. Our team is dedicated to providing only the utmost compassionate care for our community. We have four convenient locations to serve you.
How the Brain Aids in Sleep
There are many anatomical structures that are involved with sleep. These include the:
- Hypothalamus: responsible for sleep, arousal, and circadian rhythms
- Thalamus: relays information from the senses to the cerebral cortex
- Brain stem: controls transitions between waking and sleeping
- Pineal gland: produces melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep
- Amygdala: processes emotions and is active during REM sleep
- Basal forebrain: releases adenosine, a chemical that supports the sleep drive
Types of Neurological Sleep Disorders
There are several types of neurological sleep disorders affecting millions of Americans. Here are some of the most common:
- Central sleep apnea: Breathing is interrupted for periods of time during sleep because the brain fails to send signals to the appropriate muscles.
- Parasomnia: These episodes arise during arousals from REM sleep. Symptoms can include sleep walking, nightmares, night terrors, and confusion.
- Narcolepsy: This disorder is characterized by intense daytime sleepiness and sudden drowsiness.
- Circadian rhythm sleep disorder: This condition affects the cycle of sleep to the point where an individual is awake when they should be asleep, and vice versa.
- REM sleep behavior disorder: Individuals with this condition act out dreams during REM sleep with sudden, sometimes violent, movements.
Neurological Conditions Linked to Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders can present in several different ways and may accompany a number of neurological conditions. Some of the most common neurological conditions linked to sleep disorders include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Individuals who have any of the above conditions have a higher risk for developing a sleep disorder. If you suspect that you or a loved one is at risk, schedule a consultation with a neurologist sleep specialist in Charlotte, NC.
Diagnosing Sleep Disorders
During an initial consultation, your doctor performs a comprehensive assessment to determine if a neurological condition may be causing your sleep disorder. In many cases, patients are referred for a sleep study or a series of tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Our team at Mecklenburg Neurology is committed to providing our patients with the highest level of care. We work with a team of specialists to determine the cause of your condition and find ways to improve your quality of life.
Treating Sleep Disorders
In many cases, treating the underlying condition is the best way to alleviate sleep disorder symptoms. However, your doctor may also recommend CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) to increase oxygen intake during sleep. Additionally, medications or cognitive behavioral therapy may also be helpful. Your doctor can help you find the right combination of treatment to reduce your symptoms.
Schedule a Consultation with a Neurologist Sleep Specialist
Are you having difficulty sleeping? Do you often experience daytime sleepiness, moodiness, or irritability? You could be suffering from a sleep disorder.
To schedule an appointment with one of our neurologist sleep specialists, call us at (704) 335-3400. One of our knowledgeable team members will be happy to assist you.