Do You Have a Sleep Disorder?

By: Christine Hammond LMHC

At first glance, Megan appeared to have ADHD. She couldn’t sit still, struggled to focus, was easily distracted, and frequently forgot things. She even convinced a doctor that she had ADHD and took some medication which only made matters worse, not better. Frustrated and confused, she became worried that she had a more severe mental disorder and thought she was losing her mind.

One of the commonly overlooked areas in mental health is sleep disorders. A person can appear to have depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, thyroid problems, and chronic fatigue syndrome when actually they have a sleep disorder. This was true for Megan who actually had narcolepsy and not ADHD. When she took the stimulant medication, this made her sleep patterns worse resulting in an increase of her symptoms.

To help sort through the possible sleep disorders, it is best to be evaluated by a sleep expert. Their analysis is far more thorough through use of a sleep study and other testing. Being able to pinpoint the specific type of disorder saves time, money and frustration. Here is a list of sleep disorder symptoms designed to be used with a person who might not be aware they might have a sleeping problem.

_____ 1.                Complaints that your snoring is extremely loud.
_____ 2.               Difficulty waking up in the morning even after several alarms.
_____ 3.               Hallucinations, muscle deterioration, and fainting during the day.
_____ 4.               Difficulty staying asleep.
_____ 5.               After traveling, has a headache, nausea, tired, and unable to sleep.
_____ 6.               Walking in your sleep.
_____ 7.               Difficulty staying awake during the day.
_____ 8.              Unable to move upon waking for a long period of time.
_____ 9.               Difficulty falling asleep.
_____ 10.           Need more sleep during wintertime.
_____ 11.            Acting out sexually while still sleeping.
_____ 12.           Screaming or fighting while sleeping.
_____ 13.           Falling asleep during conversations, walking, driving, or working.
_____ 14.           Unwanted physical action during sleep.
_____ 15.            Daytime moodiness and difficulty concentrating.
_____ 16.           Strong and long dream cycles.
_____ 17.            Pattern of sleeping less than 6 hours a night.
_____ 18.           Pattern of sleeping more than 9 hours a night.
_____ 19.           Talking during sleep.
_____ 20.          Hearing loud sounds while sleeping that are not occurring.
_____ 21.           Frequent nightmares.
_____ 22.          Sleep feels poor and light.
_____ 23.          Jerking awake, startled responses.
_____ 24.          Lower legs burn, ache, twitch, itch, and tingle while falling asleep.
_____ 25.           Pattern of going to bed earlier and waking up earlier.
_____ 26.          Pattern of going to bed earlier and waking up later.
_____ 27.           Hallucinations while falling asleep.
_____ 28.          Hitting or attacking partner during a sleep cycle.
_____ 29.          Frequently waking up during the night.
_____ 30.          Unsure of location upon waking up.
_____ 31.           Snorts, chokes, or gasps during sleep.
_____ 32.          Leg cramps during the night.
_____ 33.          Difficulty going back to sleep.
_____ 34.          Dreaming immediately upon falling asleep.
_____ 35.           Wake up with chest pains, dry throat, nasal congestion or short breath.
_____ 36.          Needing to consume pills to sleep on a regular basis.
_____ 37.           Pauses in breathing while sleeping.
_____ 38.          Acting out dreams during sleep cycle.
_____ 39.          Strong desire to move your limbs while sleeping.
_____ 40.          Unsatisfactory sleep upon waking.

Checking any one of these items, could indicate a sleep disorder and should be followed up with a sleep expert. Sadly, sleep disorders have become the forgotten area of mental health yet it constitutes a third of a person’s day.

To schedule an appointment with Christine Hammond,
Please call our office at 407-647-7005.

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