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Sleep medicine deals with the causes, diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. A sleep medicine physician treats problems such as sleep apnea and snoring, insomnia and narcolepsy. Sleep apnea is when a person actually stops breathing for a few seconds during sleep, and is usually accompanied by loud snoring. Narcolepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system, and is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, and a tendency to sleep at inappropriate times, even if the person gets adequate nighttime sleep. Also considered sleep disorders are periodic limb movements and restless legs. Treatment includes overnight study in a sleep center, where technicians observe, monitor, and analyze brain activity, respiratory function, muscle function and other variables that help diagnose complex sleep disorders. Sometimes a physician may fit a patient may with a device to measure a person's activity, their environmental temperature, light levels and mood state, all recorded by a computer the size of wrist watch. This allows the physician to get objective, accurate data on the patient's daily life, and help to assess sleep problems.
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