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Think You Have A Sleep Problem?

New-Patient Toolkit

Here are our suggestions for your next steps. We call it our New-Patient Toolkit. Follow these links below, in the order listed, and we’ll walk you through the process of getting your sleep problem diagnosed and treated.

Completing the forms below before you visit your doctor might help the doctor with his diagnosis. These require Adobe Acrobat – you can download it for free here.

Need help finding a sleep doctor? We can help you Find a Sleep Center.

Your doctor may want you to have an overnight sleep study, or Polysomnogram, to help determine whether or not you have a sleep disorder and how severe it might be.

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Sleep Disorders and Cancer

Introduction

This patient summary on sleep disorders is adapted from a summary written for health professionals by cancer experts. This and other credible information about cancer treatment, screening, prevention, supportive care, and ongoing clinical trials is available from the National Cancer Institute. Sleep disorders may be caused by tumor growth, cancer therapy, or other factors. This brief summary describes sleep disorders, their causes and treatment.

Overview of Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders occur in some people with cancer and may be caused by physical illness, pain, treatment drugs, being in the hospital, and emotional stress. Sleep has two phases: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM). REM sleep, also known as “dream sleep,” is the phase of sleep in which the brain is active. NREM is the quiet or restful phase of sleep. The stages of sleep occur in a repeated pattern of NREM followed by REM. Each sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes and is repeated 4 to 6 times during a 7- to 8-hour sleep period.

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Effects of Anxiety on Sleep Are Different Than Depression

There is a robust research finding that proves significant disorganization of sleep architecture (meaning changes in the quantity and quality of sleep) in depressed patients.

Several abnormalities have been documented in depressed patients such as: decreased sleep continuity (fragmented sleep), diminished slow wave sleep (NREM) and alterations of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, including decreased REM latency (too early onset), and increased REM density.

In contrast to the attention focused on sleep in patients with affective disorders, relatively little research has focused on sleep disturbances in anxiety patients. Available findings did show significant sleep problems in various types of anxiety patients, such as in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), panic disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). In general, these studies revealed patterns of decreased sleep efficiency, disrupted course of sleep, and an overall lightening of sleep.

Sleep research with anxiety was performed mostly on patients who suffer not only with anxiety, but also with other psychiatric problems.

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