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Common Symptoms of Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders affect your ability to get the quality rest you need. If you have a sleep disorder, it can affect your concentration, your ability to work and your participation in leisure activities. Lack of sleep can make certain conditions worse, such as depression, and can increase your risk of heart disease.

The specialists at our Sleep Centers are experts at diagnosing common and complex sleep disorders. Our state-of-the-art sleep centers allow us to analyze and diagnose the source of your sleep problems. After a diagnosis is made, we will use the latest treatments and therapies to help you sleep soundly.

If you are having trouble sleeping, you should talk to your physician right away. The following common sleep disorders and their symptoms may help you determine if you need to talk to your physician.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing while you sleep. There are two types: obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by a blockage of your airway, and central sleep apnea, which is caused when your brain fails to signal your muscles to breathe.

You may be at a higher risk for sleep apnea if you:

  • Are male
  • Are overweight
  • Are age 40 or older
  • Have a large neck size
  • Have large tonsils, a large tongue or a small jaw bone
  • Have a family history of sleep apnea
  • Have gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD
  • Have a nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies or sinus problems

Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Feeling tired upon waking, even though you slept enough hours
  • Feeling sleepy throughout the day
  • Awakening with headaches


Narcolepsy is a neurological condition that affects your ability to control when you fall asleep and awaken. If you have narcolepsy, you may suddenly fall asleep during any type of activity at any time of the day. Other symptoms of narcolepsy include:

  • Feeling sleepy during the day, even though you slept well the previous night.
  • Falling asleep while driving.
  • Falling asleep in inappropriate situations, such as social gatherings or while eating.
  • Often feeling dazed or drowsy.

If you think you may have narcolepsy, you should talk to your physician right away. Narcolepsy can put you at risk for automobile accidents, falls and other injuries if you do not seek treatment immediately.


Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia can be caused by stress, discomfort, depression, anxiety, certain medications, illness, environmental factors or a disruption of your normal sleep schedule.

Symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Racing thoughts when attempting to fall asleep
  • Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep
  • Feeling sleepy during the day
  • Problems with concentration or memory
  • Irritability
  • General tiredness

Insomnia can vary in how long it lasts and how often it occurs. If you think you might have insomnia, talk to your physician.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome is a collection of symptoms, including a strong urge to move the lower legs to relieve uncomfortable sensations. The cause of restless legs syndrome is not yet known. Symptoms of restless legs syndrome include:

  • Not being able to keep your legs still at night
  • Being told that you kick during the night
  • Achy or crawling sensations in your legs

There is no medical test to diagnose restless legs syndrome. There is also no cure. However, your physician will be able to help you treat the symptoms and improve your sleep.


UPMC Pinnacle Sleep Medicine - Alexander Spring
1533 Commerce Avenue
Suite 2
Carlisle, PA 17015

Phone: 717-791-2520
Fax: 717-920-4361

UPMC Carlisle Sleep Center
1533 Commerce Avenue
Suite 3
Carlisle, PA 17015

Phone: 717-245-5838
Fax: 717-245-5836

PinnacleHealth Sleep Center
Located at UPMC Outpatient Services
Formerly known as Bloom Outpatient Center
4310 Londonderry Road
Suite 202
Harrisburg, PA 17109

Phone: 717-920-4325
Fax: 717-920-4323

PinnacleHealth Sleep Center
Located at UPMC Outpatient Services
Formerly known as UPMC Fredricksen Outpatient Center
2015 Technology Parkway
Second Floor
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Phone: 717-791-2420
Fax: 717-791-2423

Sleep Lab at UPMC Hanover
300 Highland Avenue
Hanover, PA 17331

Phone: 717-316-2229
Fax: 717-316-6898

UPMC Memorial Sleep Center
Located at Outpatient Services at UPMC Memorial
1703 Innovation Drive
Suite 4300
York, PA 17408

Phone: 717-849-5317
Fax: 717-815-2341

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