|System||Sleep and circadian rhythm|
|Significant diseases||Insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome|
|Significant tests||Polysomnography, multiple sleep latency test, maintenance of wakefulness test|
|Specialist||Sleep medicine specialist|
|Glossary||Glossary of sleep medicine|
Sleep medicine is a multidisciplinary medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of sleep disorders and disturbances. Sleep medicine encompasses various aspects of human health, including neurology, pulmonology, psychiatry, and otolaryngology. Sleep medicine specialists address issues related to sleep, wakefulness, and circadian rhythms to help patients achieve better sleep quality and overall health.
The field of sleep medicine has its roots in the early 20th century when scientists began to study sleep and its underlying mechanisms. The discovery of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in the 1950s and the development of polysomnography in the 1960s and 1970s marked significant milestones in the establishment of sleep medicine as a distinct medical specialty.
Sleep medicine covers a wide range of sleep-related conditions, including but not limited to:
- Insomnia: Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Sleep apnea: Breathing interruptions during sleep
- Narcolepsy: Excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden muscle weakness
- Restless legs syndrome (RLS): Uncontrollable urge to move the legs during rest
- Circadian rhythm sleep disorders: Disruptions in the body's internal clock
- Parasomnias: Abnormal behaviors during sleep, such as sleepwalking or night terrors
- Sleep-related movement disorders: Unwanted movements during sleep
Diagnosing sleep disorders typically involves a thorough medical history, physical examination, and specialized sleep studies. The most common sleep study is polysomnography, which records various physiological parameters during sleep, including brain activity, eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate, and breathing patterns. Other sleep studies include the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT), which measures the speed at which a person falls asleep during the day, and the Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT), which assesses a person's ability to stay awake during daytime hours.
Treatment of sleep disorders depends on the specific condition and its underlying causes. Treatment options may include lifestyle modifications, pharmacological interventions, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or medical devices such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines for sleep apnea. In some cases, surgical interventions may be necessary to address structural abnormalities contributing to sleep disorders.
Sleep medicine specialists
Sleep medicine specialists are medical professionals who have completed additional training and certification in the field of sleep medicine. These specialists often come from various backgrounds, including neurology, pulmonology, psychiatry, and otolaryngology. Sleep medicine specialists work in a variety of settings, such as dedicated sleep centers, hospitals, or private practices.
List of Sleep Doctors (USA)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
List of sleep medicine fellowship programs
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders: Diagnostic and Coding Manual. 2nd ed. American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2005.
- National Academy of Sciences: Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research; Colten HR, Altevogt BM, editors. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2006. Chapter 5 (full text): Improving Awareness, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Sleep Disorders,
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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD