There are a huge number of causes of sleep disturbance and most of these are not neurological in nature. For example snoring, waking up at night to pass urine, insomnia, leg pain due to orthopaedic or peripheral circulatory disturbance, poor sleep due to depression to name but a few.
There are however some neurological disorders that can cause excessive daytime sleepiness such as narcolepsy. There are other neurological disorders such as Restless Legs Syndrome that may cause leg pains and interrupt sleep by abnormal leg movements. Also seizures may occur during sleep and seizures need to be distinguished from sleep walking and other sleep related phenomenon known collectively as the parasomnias. Sleep problems are also not uncommonly seen in patients with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or Multiple Sclerosis.
It is important if you have a sleep disorder that you speak to your GP so that he/she can refer you to the most appropriate person (it may/may not be me). For example if obstructive sleep apnoea is suspected then the referral may be to a Respiratory Physician or an ENT Surgeon or even a Sleep Physician depending on your available local services.
At Hurstwood Park Neuroscience Centre I am able to organise some types of sleep studies. These include looking at nocturnal oxygenation and respiration, a sleep EEG and a multiple sleep latency test for narcolepsy. However for a few patients more specialist sleep investigations are needed and these would be performed in a dedicated sleep laboratory. In the past I have referred patients to the Regional Sleep Disorders Centre at St Thomas’ Hospital in London or to Dr Angus Nisbet, Consultant Neurologist at The Sleep Clinic, Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.
You can find further information on Restless Legs Syndrome and Narcolepsy from my Quick web Links page.