Sleep Disorders FAQs

Q. Sometimes my husband stops breathing at night while we're sleeping. What causes this and is it dangerous? How can it be treated?

He may have a condition called sleep apnea syndrome. If your husband has these periods of apnea (no breathing), he should be evaluated in a sleep disorders center to establish the type and severity of apnea he has. The condition does worsen if left untreated and can lead to other health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke or heart disease. Once the appropriate diagnosis is made, there are several ways to treat sleep apnea syndrome. Treatment will vary from patient to patient and may include one or more of the following: weight loss, medications, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or surgical interventions.

Q. My 16-year-old son's teacher says he falls asleep on his desk at school in the morning. What can we do about this?

First evaluate his sleep/wake cycle. When does he go to bed and what time does he get up? At his age, he should be getting a minimum of seven-and-a-half to eight hours of sleep each night. If this is not the case, then his sleep schedule should be changed to allow for an earlier bedtime. If he is receiving the proper amount of sleep each night, then he may need further evaluation by a sleep disorders specialist.

Q. I'm 36 years old and I still walk in my sleep. Does this indicate something is wrong?

Although sleepwalking is normal in children, it should cease by early adulthood. There are certain factors that can re-create sleepwalking in an adult, such as stress. You should probably be evaluated by a sleep specialist.

If you would like to ask our sleep specialists at the Saint Francis Sleep Disorders Center a questions, please send questions to the Sleep Disorders Center.