A lot of us experience difficulty falling or staying asleep and we are all too familiar with the repercussions of not getting the right amount of sleep.
Headaches, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating are usually experienced the following day. And if this keeps up, you might even suffer from chronic pain, heart disorders, depression, or premature aging in the long run.
Sleep disorders do not only lead to a feeling of tiredness. It brings unwanted effects on the physical and mental state of an individual who is suffering from such issues. Sleeping troubles tend to become more problematic if left unaddressed. This is why it pays to be knowledgeable about things like this.
First, What Is A Definition Of A Sleep Disorder?
A sleep disorder impairs your ability to get some sleep. But, as mentioned earlier, it should not be a cause for alarm if you happen to experience the difficulty of sleeping in just one night. It may only be an isolated event. But, if it happens regularly, you might need to get yourself checked by a doctor.
People who suffer from sleep problems complain that no matter how tired they are with their daily activities, going to sleep just seems impossible. Catching the much-needed sleep proves to be more challenging than learning how to play frisbee. If the loop of sleepless night begins, the changes your body and mind will experience are definitely not something you should be excited about.
If you are having a hard time pinpointing if you have sleep problems or not, ask yourself the following questions:
“Do You Have A Sleep Disorder?” Test
- Do you get easily irritated and tired the rest of the day?
- Do you get sleepy while watching, reading, driving or any activity that does not require minimal motion?
- Do you get easily distracted or have problems concentrating?
- Do people always come up to you, commenting about how tired you look?
- Is your reaction time relatively slow?
- Is it easy for you to get emotional even on minor issues?
- Is there a need for you to take naps daily?
- Do you depend on caffeine to feel energized and alive the entire day?
If your answer is yes, you need to keep on reading to identify which type of sleep disorder is pestering you.
What Are The Different Types Of Sleep Disorders?
Majority of adults complain about not getting enough sleep. They may be suffering from the from one of the most common sleep disorders in this list:
You might have heard of this one a lot of times. Most people exaggerate the term, referring to one night of difficulty sleeping as insomnia.
More than just having difficulty sleeping at night, staying asleep also can be challenging for those who are constantly stressed, have an underlying health condition, or taking specific medications. Anxiety and depression can also cause this sleep problem.
TREATMENT: While there is no single reason for insomnia, you can improve your sleep hygiene by fixing your schedule. Try revising your planned activities during the day. In times of anxiety and depressive attacks, calm yourself. Learn meditation techniques without having to resort to going to sleep specialists. If your insomnia is left unresolved, try cognitive behavioral therapy or some medications.
This is a pretty normal sleep disorder and can be treatable. Sleep apnea is when your breathing pattern goes off while asleep. When this happens, your breathing stops temporarily and your sleep gets disrupted. Most people with sleep apnea do not remember waking up a few times during the night, but always end up feeling tired and groggy the following day. Irritability and depression are often experienced due to lack of sleep. Expect an ongoing decrease in productivity, if you do not attend to the problem right away.
TREATMENT: Sleep apnea is not something to be ignored because it is a serious condition. It is considered a life-threatening sleep problem and must be checked by a physician right away. One of the most common ways to treat sleep apnea is to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. It works by stabilizing a sufficient stream of air to pass through the throat.
Ever wonder if there is a term for a sleep disorder when you can’t wake up? That would have to be narcolepsy. It is characterized by difficulty feeling awake at daytime. The excessive need to sleep is caused by an inhibition of the brain dynamic responsible in controlling the sleep-wake cycle. Sleep attacks occur even when you are mobile. Oddly enough, it can even happen when you are in a middle of a sentence!
TREATMENT: There has not been a direct cure for narcolepsy, but a series of treatments are required to at least manage the symptoms and allow you to resume normal activities. This sleep disorder is hard to ignore because imagine falling asleep while driving. Will, you put off a visit to a doctor with your life at stake like that?
Restless legs Syndrome (RLS)
Restless legs syndrome is a manageable sleep condition. Due to an irrepressible need to move either your legs at arms at night, your sleep gets compromised. The movement usually comes when lying down. This is because of the uncomfortable, achy, and bothersome feeling that feels like pins and needles on the limbs.
TREATMENT: Symptom relief is feasible even when done at home. There are many ways to cure this sleep disorder naturally, such as exercising regularly and lessening caffeine and alcohol intake.
This condition does not really last long and is commonly experienced by travelers who cross time zones. Due to a slight interruption in the sleep and wake cycle, falling asleep will not come by as easy as pie. The longer the flight, the more intense the symptoms will be. Also, be more prepared in flights towards a destination on the east. The jet lag is a lot worse than flying towards the west.
TREATMENT: Once you have landed at your destination, try to keep yourself awake until bedtime. This may be very tiring, but it will normalize your sleep pattern. In the meantime, expose yourself to natural sunlight. Take a natural sleeping aid like melatonin, if you really need to get some rest.
This sleep problem can be caused by insufficient sleep and some medications. It is characterized by, as the name implies, sleepwalking. More prevalent on kids than adults, sleepwalking is considered to have something to do with brain development. The theory is that there seems to be trouble when transitioning from deep sleep to a lighter level of sleep.
TREATMENT: Try reducing liquid intake before bedtime. Also, making sure that your surroundings, or the nature of your bedroom, is quiet and not easily disturbed can help smoothen the transition of sleep phases.
If you experience the need to scream violently and move abruptly while asleep, you might be suffering from night terrors. The difference between sleep terrors and nightmares is significant. Nightmares have more to do with the emotional aspect, while sleep terrors simply cast a shadow of fear and a feeling of danger from an unknown source. A person who experiences sleep terrors often finds it hard to feel calm down even when they are already awake.
The symptoms of sleep terrors are often seen in children. Most adults who have issues with sleep terrors are also possibly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders.
TREATMENT: Work on the sleep environment. Try to find ways to make it more calming, especially if it is a kid’s bedroom. Think like a child. Figure out what would put you at ease. For extreme conditions, medication should be given.
Teeth Grinding (BRUXISM)
One major reason for teeth grinding is too much stress or anxiety. People often experience painful jaw and headache upon waking up. It can be an annoyance to your partner who is sleeping right next to you but does not worry. This is fairly common. Almost 50 million Americans suffer from this condition.
Treatment: Do not chew stuff other than food. Avoid chewing gum to train your jaw to remain clenched. Mouth guards from the dentist are also very helpful. To get rid of stress, doing night time yoga for the sleep disorder is a good way to cap off the night.
REM Sleep Disorder.
This is probably the rarest sleep disorder on the list. It restricts the part of the brain that prevents movement of the body when sleeping. As a result, jerking movements can wake you up as you are trying to get your beauty sleep. Some people who have REM sleep disorders often jump out of bed. Sometimes, even thrashing it completely.
TREATMENT: Medical supervision should be sought. Medicines are often provided.
Why should we be concerned about sleep disorders? Our bodies need rest after being on the move for an entire day. Without it, our entire well-being will suffer. Continuous sleep deprivation can lead to physical damages, but it can also affect our moods, judgment, adapting capability, and the ability to effectively handle social situations. That being said, attending to your sleep problems will do you a world of good.