Sleep disorders are conditions that impact your ability to sleep well regularly. These conditions are becoming very common in the US. Sleeping is a vital part of life, and failure to get sufficient sleep can quickly make you irritable and fatigued. Besides, sleep disorders can culminate into serious personal, medical, and social problems that could persist for long after the disruption of sleep is over, particularly if you don’t seek treatment quickly.
There are various causes for sleep disorders, including:
- Mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety
- Underlying health conditions such as nerve disorders, heart disease, lung disease, and pain
Sometimes the exact cause of a sleeping disorder may be unknown.
Many factors can also contribute to sleeping problems, including:
- Alcohol and caffeine consumption.
- An irregular schedule such as working night shifts.
- Aging–as people grow older, they often get insufficient sleep or don’t achieve a deep, restful sleep stage. They are awakened more easily as well.
Here are five sleep disorders that people might experience and how they can be treated.
Obstructive sleep apnea ensues when something blocks all or part of your upper airway when you are asleep. Your chest and diaphragm muscles have to struggle to open your airway and draw air into your lungs. Your breath may become shallow or even stop for a moment. Usually, you start breathing again with a body jerk, snort, or loud gasp. Sometimes you may not sleep well, but you won’t notice what is happening. This condition can cause uneven heart rhythms and reduce the flow of oxygen into your body organs.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder whereby a person experiences frustration falling or staying asleep. A person suffering from insomnia shows several characteristics:
- Inability to attain restful sleep.
- Problems in falling asleep.
- Waking up several times at night and being incapable of going back to sleep.
- Rising very early in the morning due to lack of sleep.
- Having daytime problems such as sleepiness and fatigue, and problems with concentration, mood, or accidents while driving or at work because of poor sleep.
How often insomnia occurs, and how long it lasts varies depending on the individual. About half the population of adults experience occasional insomnia bouts and 10 percent of them suffer from chronic insomnia.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is an uncontrollable desire or push to move your legs when you’re resting. You can also experience unpleasant burning, aching or tingling, or the uncomfortable feeling that something is crawling in your calves. These sensations may also occur in other parts of your body. Below are signs of restless leg syndrome.
- You feel a powerful compulsion to move your legs.
- You experience an ache or crawling sensations in your legs.
- Symptoms get worse during the night
- The symptoms are worse when you are inactive
- You get relief from the symptoms when you walk, move or stretch.
Narcolepsy is a sleep affliction that is characterized by excessive sleepiness in the daytime. It can be severe and may cause you to fall asleep in inappropriate circumstances, such as while driving a car or working.
Narcolepsy causes cataplexy, which is an instant loss of muscle tone. Cataplexy makes an individual collapse, usually when they laugh, are startled or excited, or experience a powerful emotion. If you are standing, your knees may give in, and you may fall to the ground and remain immobile for a few minutes.
Narcolepsy also causes an inability to move while you are falling asleep or waking, and during this time, you are fully alert. It is also characterized by hypnagogic hallucinations, which are hallucinations that occur when you are trying to fall asleep.
Hypersomnia is a condition characterized by excessive sleepiness. It can occur as excessive sleep in the daytime, narcolepsy, or other sleep disorder. Excessive sleep can be just as harmful as sleep deficiency.
TMJ Treatment Raleigh NC specialists say that treatments for sleep disorders vary depending on the type of disorder you have. They may include:
- Practicing good sleeping habits, and introducing other lifestyle changes such as exercise and a healthy diet.
- Quitting alcohol and smoking.
- Relaxation techniques and cognitive-behavioral therapy to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Morning “bright light” therapy
- Medications, including sleeping pills. Most often, your doctor will endorse you to use sleeping pills for only short periods.
- Natural products such as melatonin. These are for short-term use, and many people will find them helpful. However, make sure you consult your healthcare provider before taking any of these natural products.
The effect of sleep disorders can be quite discomforting, and most probably you will want instant relief. But, it can take a longer duration to treat long-term cases. However, sticking to your treatment plan coupled with regular communication with your doctor is a sure way towards better sleep.
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