When you experience trouble getting to sleep, sleeping through the night, waking up too early, having a hard time waking up at all or if you are overly tired during the day, you may have one of the following sleep problems:
- Sleep apnea
- Sleep deprivation
- Restless legs syndrome
Getting good sleep is necessary for optimal health and can affect hormone levels, mood and weight.
Sleep disorders affect the ability to sleep well on a regular basis. They could be caused by a health problem or by too much stress. Most of the time, people may occasionally experience sleeping problems due to stress, hectic schedules and other outside influences. When the problems start to occur on a regular basis and interfere with daily life, they may indicate a sleeping disorder.Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on energy, mood, concentration, and overall health.
Sleep disorders may be a symptom of other medical or mental health condition in some cases. These sleeping problems may eventually recover once treatment is obtained for the underlying cause. Treatment normally involves a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes when sleep disorders aren’t caused by another condition.
Diagnosis and immediate treatment are important if you suspect you might have a sleep disorder. If left untreated, the negative effects of sleep disorders may lead to further health consequences. They may even affect your performance at work, cause strain in relationships and impair your ability to perform daily activities.
What Are the Different Types of Sleep Disorders?
There are multiple types of sleep disorders. Some sleep disorders may be caused by other underlying health conditions.
This conditions refers to the inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep. The causes may be from jet lag, stress, anxiety, hormones or digestive problems. Sometimes, it may also be a symptom of another condition. It problematic and affect your overall health and quality of life, potentially causing:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Weight gain
- Impaired work or school performance
Insomnia is extremely common especially in countries like the United States. About 50% of American adults experience it at some point. This disorder is most common among older adults and women. Insomnia can be classified into 3 different groups:
- Chronic: Occurs on a regular basis for at least 1 month
- Intermittent: Occurs periodically
- Transient: Lasts for just a few nights at a time
This condition is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can cause the body to take in less oxygen. It can also cause you to wake up during the night.
This is a class of sleep disorders that cause abnormal movements and behaviors during sleep. They are:
- Sleep talking
- Teeth grinding or jaw clenching
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
This is a condition where you feel an overwhelming need to move your legs. This urge may sometimes be accompanied by a tingling sensation in the legs. While the symptoms can occur during the day, they are most prevalent at night. RLS is commonly associated with certain health conditions, including ADHD and Parkinson’s disease. However, the exact cause isn’t always known.
This condition is classified as “sleep attacks” that happen during the day. You will extremely tired suddenly and fall asleep without warning. This disorder may cause sleep paralysis (makes physically unable to move right after waking up). Even though narcolepsy may occur on its own, it’s also been associated with certain neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis.
SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP DISORDERS
Depending on the severity and type of sleeping disorder, the symptoms may vary. Symptoms may also vary when sleep disorders are a result of another condition. Nonetheless, general symptoms of sleep disorders include:
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Daytime fatigue
- Strong urge to take naps during the day
- Irritability or anxiety
- Lack of concentration
TREATMENT OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR SLEEP DISORDERS
Depending on the type and underlying cause, the treatment method used may vary. Having that said, a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes are generally used.
Medical treatment for sleep disturbances might include any of the following:
- Sleeping pills
- Melatonin supplements
- Allergy or cold medication
- Medications for any underlying health issues
- Breathing device or surgery (usually for sleep apnea)
- Dental guard (usually for teeth grinding)
Making adjustments to your lifestyle can greatly improve your quality of sleep, especially when they’re done alongside medical treatments. You may consider:
- Incorporating more vegetables and fish into your diet, and reducing sugar intake
- Reducing stress and anxiety by working out
- Creating and sticking to a regular sleeping schedule
- Drinking less water before bedtime
- Limiting your caffeine intake (especially in the late afternoon or evening)
- Decreasing usage of tobacco and alcohol
- Eating smaller low carbohydrate meals before bedtime
Having consistency like going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can also significantly improve your sleep quality. While you might be tempted to sleep in on the weekends, this can make it difficult to wake up and fall asleep during the week.
DIAGNOSING SLEEP DISORDERS
- Consult with the doctor & physical examination: A physical examination will first be performed and your doctor will gather information about your symptoms and medical history.
- Polysomnography: This is a sleep study that evaluates oxygen levels, body movements and brain waves to determine how they disrupt sleep
- Electroencephalogram: This is a test that assesses electrical activity in the brain and detects potential problems associated with this activity.
- Genetic blood testing: A blood test commonly used to diagnose narcolepsy and other underlying conditions that might be causing sleeping problems.These tests are crucial when it comes to determining the right course of treatment for sleep disorders.