Good quality sleep is essential for the human body to function optimally, but some people have never experienced that. You may be one of those that struggle to catch a decent night’s rest. Others sleep well at night but still wake up feeling tired or fall in and out of sleep during the day. All these are indications of sleep disorders, which range on a broad scale.
Some types of sleep disorders are common such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy. A sleep ailment can be self-standing or a symptom of an underlying condition. Whatever kind of disorder you are suffering from, it is necessary to get proper medical treatment because it can disrupt your physical and emotional health.
What Are Sleep Disorders?
Sleep disorders cover numerous conditions that interfere with healthy sleeping habits in different ways. Some conditions involve unusual behaviors during sleep like acting out dreams (RBD), walking, and talking. Other diseases fall into the sleep-related movement disorders such as restless legs syndrome, teeth grinding, and periodic limb movement. Sleep disorders don’t just cause lack of sleep, others like narcolepsy result in excessive sleepiness. Besides these self-standing ailments, a sleep disorder may be triggered by a more serious health condition.
Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and musculoskeletal disorders are just a few that may cause restlessness at night and effectively, sleep deficiency. Various body changes such as pregnancy and menopause can also lead to sleep problems. Most sleeping disorders have treatments that differ from medication to behavioral therapy. Individuals with any irregular sleeping patterns or habits should seek a proper diagnosis and subsequent treatment from a professional.
Symptoms of Sleep Disorders
The signs of a sleep disease vary from one standalone condition to another. In day time or excessive sleepiness, individuals experience sleep paralysis, hallucinations and partial, loss of muscle control while awake. It is because the distinction between sleep and wakefulness is not clear. In movement disorders, individuals move their limbs, particularly the legs during the night with a partial flexing of the hips, knees, or ankles. The movement in this circumstance is not the same as the normal spasms everyone experiences when falling asleep.
Insomnia is easy to detect because someone with the condition takes a long time to fall asleep. Parasomnias such as night terrors, teeth grinding, and confessional arousals are other symptoms of sleep disorders. Paralysis during sleep can also be an indication of a much bigger problem. Sleep apnea is characterized by breathing interruptions.
Causes of Sleep Disorders
Lack of or too much sleep can be a result of various psychological and physiological triggers. Stress is a leading trigger of sleep disorders, especially insomnia because a preoccupied mind has trouble turning off. Mental conditions such as depression and anxiety can be the reason for interrupted sleep habits. The neurological disorder, narcolepsy has some genetic factor in play, which make it hard for an individual to control wakefulness and sleep.
A person on medications such as antidepressants may have trouble falling asleep due to the impact the substances have on the system. The environment can also make sleeping a problem. For instance, too much noise or jet lag can distort sleep patterns. Interference with the circadian rhythms (human sleep-wake cycle) such as working at night may result in a sleep condition.
Other Issues that Related to Sleep Disorders
Besides a lack of sleep or excessive sleeping, these disorders can have other effects in patient’s life. Irritability is a common reaction for someone who goes several days without a good night’s rest. Overdependence on coffee and other caffeinated beverages is another problem associated with sleep disorders. An individual who experiences sleep deficiency or has to take naps during the day will have poor concentration, which may impact work or study negatively. Additionally, sleep disorders can interfere with the reaction time, which is dangerous particularly when operating machinery.
Sleep Disorders Treatment Options
A majority of sleep disorders have useful treatment techniques. One mistake people with sleep deficiency make is turning to sedatives before getting proper diagnoses. This can cause an addiction problem. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most popular method in treating many sleep disorders such as insomnia. The therapy option is effective if behavioral or psychological issues are the cause of a patient’s sleep problems. With CBT, patients learn to alter their negative thoughts or habits for better sleep.
In instances where a sleep deficiency is a result of the surroundings, the patient has to identify and change them. One should ensure that the environment is conducive to sleep at all times. Avoiding substances that disrupt sleep such as caffeinated beverage helps. For a traveler, a shift in time zones will most likely cause a different sleep pattern, but this is short-term, and a bit of patience can solve that.
In the case of sleep challenges caused by underlying health issues such as heart and thyroid disease, and breathing problems, a patient should get treatment for the primary condition. Doctors can also prescribe medications, notably hypnotics to promote sleep. Diuretics are suitable for persons who lose sleep due to constant urination at night. A change of diet is another option that a sleep specialist may advise because some foods can mess with sleep patterns.
Sleep Disorders Example
In America, about 30-40 million people can’t fall asleep when they want to or wake up earlier than intended due to insomnia. Sleep disorders are every common, and some people fail to realize their implications. You often hear of accidents that occur because the driver “fell asleep at the wheel,” and this is caused by some form of sleep problem.
An example is the 2015 crash that left famous comedian Tracy Morgan with serious brain trauma among other injuries when the limo he was traveling in got hit by a truck. It was reported that the driver was suffering from lack of sleep as he had been on the road for 28 hours.
Sleep disorders can interrupt an individual’s life as well as pose various risks, especially when you have to drive. People suffering from some form of sleep disease should consult experts for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
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