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Sleep disturbance

Sleep disturbance can wreak havoc on your health. In a recent post, we looked at the importance of sleep to managing chronic pain, such as that associated with osteoarthritis. If you are suffering from disturbed sleep, it may be for one of these reasons:

Sleep apnea

Apnea means “without breath.” If you stop breathing for more than 10 seconds, you are having an apneic episode. You may have sleep apnea if you have more than five apneic episodes in an hour. The oxygen level in your blood or tissues also plays a part in a diagnosis of this sleep disturbance. A normal oxygen level is 95 percent and above. In sleep apnea, your oxygen level may drop to 80 percent or lower. Levels below 70 percent are considered dangerously low.


If you experience excessive daytime sleepiness and can fall asleep with a short delay, but your nighttime sleep is not disturbed, you may have narcolepsy. Narcolepsy appears to be genetic. This sleep disturbance is treated with medications.

Restless legs syndrome

A sleep-related movement disorder, restless legs syndrome is a strong, nearly uncontrollable desire to move the legs while at rest. This sleep disturbance occurs more frequently in the evening or during the night.

Insomnia a common sleep disturbance

If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or you experience sleep that is not refreshing and restorative, then you may have insomnia. As many as 30% of Americans have insomnia and it occurs more frequently as we age. Other symptoms include daytime exhaustion or fatigue, lack of energy, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, irritability, and depression. Causes of insomnia include:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mental illness
  • Noise
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Shift work
  • Jet lag
  • Nighttime activity schedules
  • Medication side effects
  • Alcohol, tobacco or illicit drug use

A person with insomnia may also have one of the other sleep disorders mentioned above.

Good quality sleep is essential to managing the chronic pain of arthritis. It is also important to a successful recovery from knee and hip surgery. If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping, be sure to mention it to us at The Zehr Center. Call us at 239-596-0100 to discuss your sleep disturbance symptoms.

For more information on this subject, call The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 or visit www.zehrcenter.comThe information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments, or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of a visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read on this topic. 

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