Sleepless Nights Lead To Sleep Studies

For some couples, one of the biggest hurdles of cohabitating is getting used to falling asleep together and not waking up until the morning. If one of the pair is constantly woken up by the other throughout the night, whether due to snoring, sleep talking, sleepwalking, or other abnormal behaviors, the relationship may suffer.

Fortunately, a sleep center may help. Here's what you and your partner need to know if one of you is keeping the other awake at night. 

The Problems

Snoring and sleep apnea are breathing problems that can be caused by an obstructed airway or by a problem in the central nervous system. Sleep talking, sleepwalking, bedwetting, nightmares, and teeth grinding are examples of parasomnias, which is a medical word for abnormal behaviors while sleeping. Restless leg syndrome can also cause a lack of sleep for both of the couple. Insomnia and narcolepsy are other sleep disorders that can affect both people's ability to sleep. 

The Causes 

There are many different things that can cause a lack of sleep, including bad bedtime habits, allergies, and stress. Sometimes, however, underlying health conditions can lead to unusual behaviors that could wake your partner up at night, such as restless leg syndrome, which is typically comorbid to neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Other conditions that can affect sleep include Chiari malformation, thyroid disease, and Alzheimer's. 

The Impacts 

Sleep is crucial for your health and mental wellbeing, which can impact your quality of life, not just your relationship. The lack of sleep can make you more prone to accidents, especially when driving or operating heavy machinery. And, you may find yourself quick to temper and have problems with concentration and memory. 

The Studies

A sleep study will be necessary to determine the root cause of the issue, which can help the medical team develop a treatment plan. A sleep study is called a polysomnogram, which records the changes in the body during sleep. This is typically done overnight at a center that is dedicated to sleep studies. 

But before this can be done, a complete medical history needs to be evaluated, and an interview should be conducted with the patient's bed partner who can describe the various unusual behaviors that the patient shows during sleep, such as sleep talking or sleepwalking. The couple may be asked to keep a journal or log for a period of time prior to the overnight sleep study.