What is a sleep disorder?
What is a sleep disorder?Why sleeping on time and taking a proper nap is very important for your health?
Symptoms can differ depending on the severity and type of sleeping disorder. They may also vary when sleep disorders are a result of another condition. However, 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
Sleep problems, including snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, sleep deprivation, and restless legs syndrome, are common. Good sleep is necessary for optimal health and can affect hormone levels, mood and weight.
Whether you have occasional trouble sleeping or you’re living with a sleep disorder, you can get quality sleep and learn to manage your condition better.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Central Sleep Apnea
An Overview of Insomnia
- Hypersomnia (Daytime Sleepiness)
- What Are Parasomnias?
- REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
- Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders
- Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder
- Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
- Shift Work Sleep Disorder
What Causes Sleep Disorders?
There are many conditions, diseases, and disorders that can cause sleep disturbances. In many cases, sleep disorders develop as a result of an underlying health problem.
Allergies and Respiratory Problems
Allergies, colds, and upper respiratory infections can make it challenging to breathe at night. The inability to breathe through your nose can also cause sleeping difficulties.
Nocturia, or frequent urination, may disrupt your sleep by causing you to wake up during the night. Hormonal imbalances and diseases of the urinary tract may contribute to the development of this condition. (Be sure to call your doctor right away if frequent urination is accompanied by bleeding or pain.)
Constant pain can make it difficult to fall asleep. It might even wake you up after you fall asleep. Some of the most common causes of chronic pain include:
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- inflammatory bowel disease
- persistent headaches
- continuous lower back pain
In some cases, chronic pain may even be exacerbated by sleep disorders. For instance, doctors believe the development of fibromyalgia might be linked to sleeping problems.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety often have a negative impact on sleep quality. It can be difficult for you to fall asleep or to stay asleep. Nightmares sleep talking, or sleepwalking may also disrupt your sleep.
What Are the Different Types of Sleep Disorders?
There are numerous different types of sleep disorders. Some may be caused by other underlying health conditions.
Insomnia refers to the inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep. It can be caused by jet lag, stress and anxiety, hormones, or digestive problems. It may also be a symptom of another condition. Insomnia can be very problematic for your overall health and quality of life, potentially causing:
- difficulty concentrating
- weight gain
- impaired work or school performance
Unfortunately, insomnia is prevalent in the United States. Approximately 50 percent of American adults experience it at some point in their lives. The disorder is most prevalent among older adults and women.
Insomnia is usually classified as one of three types:
- chronic, which is when insomnia happens on a regular basis for at least one month
- intermittent, which is when insomnia occurs periodically
- transient, which is when insomnia lasts for just a few nights at a time
Sleep apnea is characterised by pauses in breathing during sleep. This is a serious medical condition that causes the body to take in less oxygen. It can also cause you to wake up during the night.
Parasomnias are a class of sleep disorders that cause abnormal movements and behaviours during sleep. They include:
- sleep talking
- teeth grinding or jaw clenching
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is an overwhelming need to move the legs. This urge is sometimes accompanied by a tingling sensation in the legs. While these symptoms can occur during the day, they are most prevalent at night. RLS is often associated with certain health conditions, including ADHD and Parkinson’s disease, but the exact cause isn’t always known.
How Are Sleep Disorders Diagnosed?
Your doctor will first perform a physical exam and gather information about your symptoms and medical history. They will also order various tests, including:
- polysomnography: a sleep study that evaluates oxygen levels, body movements, and brain waves to determine how they disrupt sleep
- electroencephalogram: a test that assesses electrical activity in the brain and detects any potential problems associated with this activity
- genetic blood testing: a blood test commonly used to diagnose narcolepsy and other underlying health conditions that might be causing sleeping problems
These tests can be crucial in determining the right course of treatment for sleep disorders.
How Are Sleep Disorders Treated?
Treatment for sleep disorders can vary depending on the type and underlying cause. However, it generally includes a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes.
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)
- a dental guard (usually for teeth grinding)
Find the Best Medications for Insomnia
Lifestyle adjustments can greatly improve your quality of sleep, especially when they’re done along with medical treatments. You may want to consider:
- incorporating more vegetables and fish into your diet, and reducing sugar intake
- reducing stress and anxiety by exercising
- 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 tobacco and alcohol use
- eating smaller low carbohydrate meals before bedtime
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 more difficult to wake up and fall asleep during the workweek.
Warning! Better check yourself, you’re not looking too good. Sleep disorders can be serious — affecting your daily life, driving ability and your health. Take our quiz and find out if you should consult a doctor about your sleep disorder. www.talkaboutsleep.com/sleep-self-assessment-quiz/