Physical Health

The Most Common Sleep Disorders

Sleep Disorder
Sleep Disorder

Every second person in the modern era is so busy earning bread and butter for their family that they ignore self-care. That is why some of them become the target of diseases such as sleep disorders, depression etcetera. People struggling with sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy have very low ability to perform their daily routine tasks.

They may have poor performance in school and at their workplace. Along with their mental health problems, they usually gain weight and are prone to develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Furthermore, the quality of your life can be negatively affected by not getting enough sleep.

What are sleep related disorders?

A sleep disorder is an impairment of sleep or a condition that occurs when you are not able to sleep well and, as a result, you become sleepy during the daytime Additionally, it also gives rise to some other physical and mental illnesses.  Oftentimes, people in the modern world have sleep-related issues. Some people experience this because of the stressful events they are going through in their life. There are, however, some signs that illustrate you may be suffering from a sleep disorder:

  • If a person’s sleep quality is inconsistent.
  • If despite sleeping at least seven hours the night before, one is usually tired during the day.
  • If there is an impairment in one’s ability to carry out regular daytime activities because of the reduction in the number of hours of sleep at night.

Studies have shown that Americans (of all age groups) aren’t getting enough sleep and plenty of them are suffering from sleep deprivation. Sleep helps in the proper functioning of the brain, keeps a check on a person’s emotional state, and reduces the risk of various diseases.

The importance of sleep cannot be overstated. In addition to negative effects on academic and work performance, and health, not getting enough sleep can also adversely affect one’s personal relations.

Is it necessary to sleep for a certain amount of time?

It is generally recommended by the experts that adults should sleep seven to nine hours each night. However, the amount of sleep time varies from person to person. Some people need more to re-energize themselves whereas others feel great with less amount of sleep only.

There are many other factors that influence how much sleep a person requires according to his/her age factor.

Nevertheless, the number of hours you need to sleep is affected not only by your age but also by other factors. The following are examples:

1. Qualitative sleep

The more frequently you are interrupted while sleeping, the less quality sleep you are getting. Therefore, there should be an equal amount of focus on the quality as well as the quantity of sleep, neither of them should be neglected.

2. Deprivation of sleep in the past

As a result of sleep deprivation, an individual needs more sleep.

3. The pregnant state

Sleep quality can be affected by hormonal changes and physical discomfort. Thus, a pregnant woman may require to sleep for more hours or take naps during the day.

4. The aging process 

The amount of sleep needed by older adults is about the same as that needed by younger adults. The sleeping patterns of the older person are likely to change as they age, however.  Due to this, they struggle with multiple awakenings during nighttime sleep. Moreover, as compared with younger adults, older adults sleep less deeply and for longer hours, and their sleep period is very short.

Children, who usually get to sleep properly for approximately 9-12 hours, which is an adequate amount of sleep for them are more likely to perform well in many areas of their lives. Apart from this, their behavior, learning, memory, emotional control, and quality of life are better than those who don’t get enough amount of sleep.

Studies show that adults who sleep less than 7 hours a night on a regular basis are more likely to gain weight, and develop the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression.

How does not getting enough sleep affect a person?

Getting insufficient or poor-quality sleep has a direct effect on more than just tiredness. Just assume a situation, a person not getting enough sleep of approximately 8-9 hours at night and during the day while doing his/her routine jobs or at work, he will feel restless. Apparently, that person won’t be having enough energy to perform his tasks and it can hinder his/her performance. Eventually, he will start feeling stressed and if the situation continues for a bit longer, a person can get depressed, and depression can lead to many other health issues.

Furthermore, children with the condition of sleepiness may display learning disabilities, and low interest in physical activities, while seniors with the condition may suffer from memory impairment, mood disorder (depression), and personality changes.

Sleep-deprived people face high-rate of difficulty levels in making any kind of decision, feel irritable, perform poorly, and react slowly, increasing their chances of having an accident at work, school, working in a kitchen, or while driving on the road. Other diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes can also be contributed by sleep deprivation.

Do sleep disorders affect more women than men?

Females are more likely than males to suffer from daytime sleepiness disorders.

Men and women with sleep disorders are affected differently, according to a new study. There is an increased likelihood of women having depression, sleep issues, and excessive daytime sleepiness than men. Also, sleepiness and tiredness make it harder for women to concentrate on various matters and remember things.

Sleep disorders: What causes them?

There are numerous factors that can contribute to issues related to sleep. While sleep disorders may have varying causes, their common result is a disruption of the natural cycle of the human body. Additionally, it also disturbs wakefulness during the day.

There are the following factors to consider:

  • Genetics (narcolepsy is genetic).
  • Psychiatric issues such as mood disorders and anxiety disorders.
  • Physical problems such as ulcers.
  • Medical issues like asthma.
  • Environmental factors include the consumption of alcohol.
  • Some medications make it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Getting older may cause a change in sleep patterns or may lead to fewer sleeping hours. The reason behind this can be the medicines consumed by people throughout their lifetime.

What signs or symptoms indicate a sleep disorder?

In case, if a person encounters one or more of the following signs, there is a possibility that he/she may have a sleep disorder. If a person is:

  • Having trouble focusing while performing the tasks of daily routine.
  • Feeling fatigued most of the time even while driving.
  • Feel a need to nap every day and maybe more than once a day.
  • Struggling for staying awake even while doing nothing, and just watching TV.
  • Facing issues like low performance at school or the workplace.
  • Sleepy all the time during the daytime.
  • Struggling to remember things most often.
  • Finding it difficult to control his emotions.

What type of sleep disorder exists?

Among the many types of sleep, the following are some of the most common:

  1. Insomnia.
  2. Restless legs syndrome.
  3. Narcolepsy.
  4. Sleep apnea.

Insomnia: Types & Symptoms

People with insomnia usually find it very difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep. Sometimes a person wakes up early and it troubles him/her to sleep again. One or more of the following signs or symptoms may be present in insomniacs:

  • Having trouble falling asleep during the night.
  • Frequent night-time awakenings and difficulty falling back asleep.
  • People suffering from insomnia have sleepless nights and usually wake up early in the morning.
  • Face issues during the daytime like being restless all the time, not able to perform usual activities, not being able to focus on things, and a dire need to sleep throughout the day.

Medical or psychiatric conditions may cause insomnia or insomnia can occur on its own. So, one must keep a check on each effect of each medicine consumed on the body. If possible, one must discuss it with the doctor. There are two types of insomnia:

  • Acute insomnia: People can also have periods of no sleep problems as well as periods when they do experience sleep problems. The duration of acute insomnia can range from one night to several weeks.

Various life stresses such as losing someone special, losing a job, changing a place, and moving to a new one can contribute to short-term or acute insomnia. Additional factors responsible for this type of ailment are noise, light, or temperature in your sleep area.

  • Chronic insomnia: An individual with chronic insomnia sleeps more than three hours a night for at least a month.

Several factors can contribute to chronic insomnia, such as long-term mood disorders, chronic stress conditions, and pain or uncomfortable situations during night-time. This type of insomnia stays for at least three nights a week for three months depending upon the situation.

Sleep Apnea: Types, Causes, & Symptoms

An individual who suffers from sleep apnea has an interruption of breathing while sleeping at night. The breathing stops repeatedly during sleep for people who suffer from sleep apnea if remains untreated. Consequently, seeking medical advice sooner rather than later is better. 

Types of sleep apnea:

  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain does not signal the body to breathe even though the airway is not blocked. When this type of situation persists continuously for a long time, it becomes dangerous and because of its relationship with the central nervous system, this type of apnea is known as central sleep apnea.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

This type of sleep apnea is a very common situation among people. It happens when the blockages of the airways occur during sleep during the collapsing of the soft tissues in the back of the throat. Sleep apnea can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, heavy snoring, and restlessness, due to which a person struggles to maintain his/her focus.

Restless Legs: Causes & Symptoms

Sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome (RLS) cause an intense, uncontrollable urge to move their legs during night sleep. Sitting for extended periods is the main cause behind the happening of RLS. For instance:

  1. Sitting for a long period of time while driving on long routes.
  2. Long-time sitting while watching a movie in the theatre.

People dealing with this type of ailment generally experience difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep at night. Sleepiness, feeling frustrated and concentration problems are some of the possible symptoms of this disorder. In addition to this, in order to alleviate the uncomfortable sensation, people with RLS often shake their legs or may start walking around for some time.

Narcolepsy: Causes & Symptoms

It is a neurological disorder of sleep regulation that targets an individual’s sleep and wakefulness too. Narcolepsy is characterized by excessive sleepiness during the daytime and falling asleep but for irregular intervals of time and without warning (uncontrollable sleep episodes).

These sudden fits of sleep may occur at any time of the day, no matter what activities you are engaged in. Sudden muscle weakness can strike a narcoleptic patient even when they are laughing or feeling any other emotion.

Sleep Disorder: Diagnoses

The very initial step a person should take in case he/she noticed anything unusual in his/her sleep pattern will be:

  • Discuss the symptoms with a healthcare provider if one suspects that he/she may be suffering from any sort of sleep problem.
  • Further, the healthcare provider may perform a physical exam, which will help to determine the cause of any sleep difficulties a person is experiencing.
  • After identifying the cause and depending on the severity of the sleep disorder, your healthcare provider may start the treatment process.

How can sleep disorder sufferers assist their doctors in diagnosing their condition?

Patients can maintain a sleep diary enlisting their sleep patterns and can further describe them to their healthcare provider. In this way, it will become easy for healthcare professionals to perform the diagnosis.

Moreover, an increased focus on an adequate level of sleep hygiene can effectively treat many common sleep-related issues. Additionally, when a person is concerned about his/her sleep patterns, ask your healthcare provider for advice.

When diagnosing a sleep disorder, what questions may my healthcare provider ask?

  • Sleeping takes how long for you?
  • What is the average amount of sleep you get at night?
  • Is it common for you to wake up during the night?
  • Sleeping tossing and turning?
  • Take naps?
  • What is your daytime sleepiness level?

How are sleep disorders treated?

Healthcare providers recommend numerous treatments, including:

  1. Exercise: Keep yourself active by doing regular exercise.
  2. Mind the Sleep Timing: Maintain a regular sleeping schedule as part of good sleep hygiene.
  3. No Noise in the sleeping area: Noise should be minimized in the bedroom.
  4. No Lights in the Room: Keep your room as dark as possible.
  5. Room Temperature: Make sure the temperature is right for you.
  6. Counseling: Cognitive behavior therapy is recommended by some sleep specialists. Through such counseling, you can learn to recognize, challenge, and change stress-inducing thoughts that may keep you up at night.
  7. Medication or a dietary supplement: Take proper medication or dietary supplements as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

Treatments will be recommended based on your unique circumstances by your healthcare provider.

Sleeping tips: Choose what works for you

  1. Environment: The best environment for sleeping is a room that is comfortable, cool, quiet, and dark. 
  2. Clear your Brain: Before going to bed try to meditate for 5-10 minutes which will help you create a positive environment and thinking. This technique is the best way to sleep faster by wiping out the negative thoughts from your brain. 
  3. Use Bedroom for Sleep Only: People suffering from sleep issues must not do any other activity in their bedroom like watching television late at night, eating food in the bedroom, performing work-related tasks at night sitting in bed, and using the phone before sleep.
  4. Create a Sleep Routine: One must create a regular sleep routine and follow it on a daily basis like taking a hot water bath or reading a book or novel before bed. These activities result in enhancing one’s sleep.
  5. Stop bothering about the Clock: Try not to look toward the clock again and again before sleeping. In fact, turn the clock to another side. A clock should only be used as an alarm to wake you up in the morning.
  6. Avoid Napping During Daytime: If no sleep at night is troubling you consistently, then avoid sleeping or taking naps during the day. 
  7. Say no to Caffeine Intake: Avoid taking tea, coffee, cocoa, chocolates, and alcohol at least 3 hours before sleep time. Instead, consuming milk or yogurt will help you sleep more easily and quickly. 
  8. Exercise or Workout: Maintain a schedule for exercising regularly. It will keep you fit from the inside and may assist with sleep issues too. 

What do Healthierfolks want to say?

Sleep is of the utmost importance in one’s life. Despite not being deadly, sleep disorders have a profound impact on your quality of life. It tears apart the proper functioning of the body and the brain of a person while interfering with routine tasks such as school or work performance. These issues related to sleep can prevent a person from getting the long, deep sleep that is required indeed, for optimal performance.

Seeing your physician if you’re having trouble sleeping is a good idea and is highly recommended. Always mark the words that getting enough sleep is actually crucial to proper health and for the improvement of quality of life. 

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