Sleep disorders are difficulties with quality sleep, timing, and quantity that cause daily discomfort and impairment in functioning. Everyone might have sleep issues from time to time. But you may have a sleep problem if you experience any of the following signs:
- You frequently have trouble sleeping
- You are frequently fatigued during the day even if you have slept adequately at the night
- You have a reduced power to engage in routine everyday activities
Sleep-wake disturbances are frequently associated with other physical or psychological health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or cognitive difficulties. In other words, sleep issues may both contribute to or worsen mental health problems, as well as be a sign of other mental health issues. Sleep problems affect around 70 million people in the United States.
How many Types of Sleep Disorders are there?
Many people suffer from sleep problems. The following is an overview of some of the most common sleep problems. If you or someone you know is suffering any of the following symptoms, it is essential to get treatment from a healthcare physician. There are around 80 distinct kinds of sleep disorders. The top ones are:
- Sleep apnea
- Restless legs syndrome
- Insomnia. Insomnia is one of the sleep conditions in which people struggle to fall or remain asleep. It is distinguished by the inability to initiate or sustain sleep. It can also take the form of early morning waking, in which the individual wakes up several hours earlier than usual and is difficult to fall back asleep. People suffering from insomnia show one or more of the following symptoms:
- Having trouble falling asleep
- Waking up through the night
- Waking up too early
- Sleeping is not refreshing
- Having trouble going back to sleep
Insomnia can be short-term (called acute or adjustment insomnia) or can last a long time (called chronic insomnia). Acute or adjustment insomnia can last anywhere from a single night to several weeks. Life pressures, disease, or environmental factors, for instance, severe temperatures or even noise, can all contribute to short-term or acute sleeplessness. In chronic insomnia, a person experiences insomnia at least three nights per week for a month or more. Depression, persistent stress, and nighttime pain or discomfort can all contribute to long-term or chronic insomnia.
A combination may treat chronic insomnia of sedative-hypnotic or sedating antidepressant drugs, as well as behavioral therapy to encourage regular sleep.
- Narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a condition that impairs the control of sleep and awakeness. Narcolepsy is defined by excessive daytime sleepiness (including periods of uncontrollable sleepiness) accompanied by abrupt muscular weakness. Strong emotion or surprise can cause rapid muscular weakness in narcolepsy.
These unforeseen sleep episodes can occur at any hour of the day and while engaging in any activity. Narcolepsy episodes have been referred to as “sleep attacks,” and they can occur in unexpected situations, such as walking or other types of physical activities.
- Restless legs syndrome (RLS). RLS is characterized by an uncomfortable “creeping” sensation that appears to originate in the lower legs but is frequently linked with aches and pains throughout the legs. RLS is a sleep condition distinguished by an acute, often irresistible need to move one’s legs. This sensation is caused by inactivity, such as lying down or sitting for a long time.
This sometimes causes trouble falling asleep and is helped by leg movements, such as walking around and shaking their legs or kicking. It can be associated with issues with daytime drowsiness, irritability, and concentration.
- Sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can significantly affect one’s breathing while asleep. It can go untreated for a long time, and people who have it can experience frequent breathing disruptions during the night. There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central.
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is the result of an airway obstruction, which often occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat compress while sleeping. Some common symptoms of OSA include snoring, fatigue, restlessness during sleep, gasping for breath while sleeping, and difficulty concentrating.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA). Although the airway does not close in central sleep apnea (CSA), the brain fails to signal the body to breathe, which is why this form is also known as central apnea. Since it affects the central nervous system, individuals with CSA may gasp for oxygen, but the majority report experiencing recurrent awakenings during the night.
The treatment of sleep apnea is determined by the cause. If other medical issues, such as congestive heart failure or nasal blockage, are present, sleep apnea may improve with the treatment of these conditions. Gentle air pressure (usually in the form of a nasal continuous positive airway pressure device) delivered during sleep may also be beneficial in the treatment of sleep apnea. Because irregular breathing or blockage of the airway during sleep can lead to major health consequences, sleep apnea symptoms should be handled carefully. A healthcare practitioner should be consulted for treatment.
What are the symptoms of sleep disorders?
If you encounter one or more of the following signs, you may have a sleep disorder. Do you:
- Face problems staying awake while doing nothing, such as watching TV or reading?
- Excessive sleep during the daytime?
- Have trouble falling asleep at night?
- Have an irregular sleep and wake cycle?
- Have issues with performance at work or school?
- Fall asleep while driving?
- Have trouble focusing at work, school, or home?
- Frequently hear from people that you appear sleepy?
- Face difficulty remembering things?
- Want to nap nearly every day?
- Have trouble controlling your emotions?
- Slowed responses?
Symptoms of insomnia can be:
- Episodic (with an episode of signs lasting one to three months)
- Persistent (having symptoms last several months or more)
- Recurrent (with two or more incidents within a year)
What causes sleep disorders?
Several things can contribute to sleep disorders. Although their underlying causes may vary, all sleep disorders have as their common factor a disruption or exaggeration of the body’s normal cycle of sleep and daytime wakefulness. The following could be the cause of sleep disorder
- Physical (such as chronic pain)
- Medical (such as asthma)
- Psychiatric (such as Alzheimer’s and anxiety disorders)
- Environmental (such as alcohol, noise)
- Working the night shift (biological clocks are being affected)
- Genetics (narcolepsy is genetic)
- Medications (such as anticonvulsants, prozac)
- Growing old (approximately half of all persons over 65 have a sleep issue)
- Allergies and respiratory problems
- Frequent urination
How can sleep disorders be diagnosed?
To be diagnosed with insomnia disorder, the lack of sleep must interfere with everyday functioning and occur at least three evenings per week for at least three months.
A thorough evaluation for insomnia or other sleep issues could include a patient history, physical examination, and clinical testing (a sleep study).
sleep diary: In a sleep diary, you can note your bedtime, waking up during the night, and morning awakenings. You’ll be better able to assess your sleep quality and pattern as a result. It will also display how frequently your sleep has been disturbed.
Polysomnography (PSG): A sleep study is a test that electronically transmits and records particular physical activity that occurs while you are asleep. This lab sleep study analyzes oxygen levels, body movements, and brain waves to discover how they affect sleep.
Electroencephalogram (EEG): The EEG test is designed to evaluate the electrical activity in the brain and identify any potential issues related to it. This test is usually conducted as part of a polysomnogram, which is a diagnostic test used to measure different physiological functions during sleep.
How are sleep disorders treated?
Regular sleeping habits can often help with sleep issues. You should seek evaluation and treatment from a doctor if your sleep issues prolong or if they affect how you feel or act during the day. The following are a variety of treatments recommended by healthcare providers:
- Cognitive behavior therapy is advised by certain sleep specialists. You can identify, challenge and transform stress-inducing thoughts with the help of this counseling, which can help you avoid sleeping through the night.
- Medications and/or dietary supplements
- Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
- Don’t take a daytime sleep
- Reduce noise
- Lessen the light
- Get regular exercise.
- Avoid eating a lot right before bed.
- Take away electronics
- Limiting your caffeine intake
What medicines may help with sleep disorders?
The following medicines and supplements may be suggested by a doctor:
For insomnia, sleep medications such as melatonin, zolpidem, zaleplon, eszopiclone, ramelteon, suvorexant, lemborexant, or doxepin may be beneficial.
Pregabalin, gabapentin, and gabapentin enacarbil are among the medications that can be used to treat restless legs syndrome.
Numerous stimulants or wake-promoting medications, including modafinil, armodafinil, pitolisant, and solriamfetol, may be used to treat narcolepsy.
What are some recommendations for a restful night’s sleep?
- Make your bedroom comfortable, cool, quiet, and dark to create the perfect sleeping environment
- Avoid thinking negatively before sleeping
- Remove electronic gadgets, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones
- Establish a normal sleep and relaxation routine
- Be consistent in going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning
- Limit nap time
- Limit your intake of coffee and alcohol
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