Sleep Disorder

Overview

Sleep disorder is a condition that affects the ability to get enough quality sleep. Though it’s normal to experience problem sleeping due to stress or hectic lifestyle but issues occur when it happens on a regular basis. Sleeping difficulties interfere with daily life and can have a negative impact on energy, mood, concentration and overall health.

Due to sleep disorders, people feel difficulty falling asleep and may feel tired throughout the day. Medical treatment and lifestyle changes for the underlying cause can help sleeping issues go away. However, if left untreated it can can lead to other complex health disorders.

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Disorders?

The symptoms of sleep disorders vary depending on the type of condition. Some common symptoms are:

  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • extreme fatigue
  • Feeling of drowsiness or feel sleepy throughout the day
  • anxiety
  • lack of concentration
  • depression

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What Causes Sleep Disorders?

Sleeping problems can be caused due to many conditions, diseases and disorders or underlying health problem.

Allergies and Respiratory Problems

People with asthma, cold or other respiratory infections may face difficulty in breathing at night. As a result, the individuals are unable to breathe through the nose. This causes sleeping problems and keeps them awake during night.

Frequent urination or Nocturia

The urge to pass out urine at more frequent intervals disrupt the sleep during the night. It is caused by the hormonal imbalances that affect the sleep by making you wake up during night.

Pain

Due to chronic pain, people face sleeping problems. It causes disruption in sleep or wake you up once you fall asleep. Chronic pain may occur due to arthritis, fibromyalgia, headache or low back pain. The deep pain can cause disturbance in sleep and thus exacerbate sleep disorders.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety affects the quality of sleep and causes difficulty in sleeping. Talking or walking during sleep, nightmares may also affect the sleep.

Types of Sleep Disorders

Insomnia
It is one of the common sleep disorder in which the individual face problem in getting sleep during night. As a result, it affect your overall health and impacts the quality of life. Insomnia causes include stress, anxiety, health disorder, jet lag, medications etc.

Types of Insomnia

  • Chronic that occurs on a regular basis in a month
  • Intermittent occurs periodically
  • Transient usually lasts only for few nights at a time

How to Cure Insomnia?

There is no need to consult sleep specialist or to take sleeping pills for insomnia treatment. Through improving the sleep hygiene, making lifestyle changes and relaxing can cure it.

Sleep Apnea

The sleep disorder in which the breathing stops temporarily while sleeping and make you awake frequently is known as Sleep Apnea. It is a serious medical condition that causes pauses in breathing during sleep. The disorder keeps you awake whole night and you feel exhausted all day long. Thus, it makes you feel depressed and irritated as well.

Types of Sleep Apnea
  • Obstructive sleep apnea occurs due to relaxation of throat muscles
  • Central sleep apnea is when brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles which control breathing
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome is combination of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea

Symptoms

Some of the common sleep apnea symptoms are: 

  • Deep snoring
  • Intervals of pause breathing during sleep
  • Gasping during sleep
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
If you feel the above sleep apnea symptoms, see your doctor. Proper treatment can help ease the health complications.

Diagnosis & Sleep apnea treatment

Diagnosis & sleep apnea treatment:
Based on the signs and symptoms and sleep history, the doctor can make an evaluation.

Sleep apnea test include:- 

  • Nocturnal polysomnography
  • Home sleep tests

If the results are abnormal, the doctor may recommend for a therapy. For obstructive sleep apnea, the doctor might check for the blockage in the nose or throat.

Treatment

Depending on the severity of sleep apnea, doctor recommends the treatment. The mild cases of sleep apnea can be improved through lifestyle changes. But for moderate to severe cases, the doctor will recommend for CPAP. This machine delivers air pressure through a mask while you sleep and prevents apnea and snoring.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS)

The urge to move legs at night during sleep is known as Restless legs syndrome. The deep tingling and creeping sensation makes you feel uncomfortable and keeps you awake during night. Through proper management of symptoms, you can get relieve from it.

Narcolepsy

The excessive, uncontrollable sleep during daytime caused due to dysfunction of the brain is known as Narcolepsy. In this type of sleep disorder, you may get “sleep attacks” in the middle of talking, working or other activities. Though there is no cure for it but the treatment can help control symptoms.

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders

The biological clock which regulates the 24-hour sleep-wake cycle is known as circadian rhythm. It works according to hormonal activity passed to brain. Accordingly, at night it makes you feel sleepy and in the morning, it wakes you up. When the circadian rhythms gets disturbed, you may feel sleepy anytime. This type of sleeping disorder can cause depression, bipolar disorder and other seasonal disorder.

Shift work sleep disorder

This disorder occurs when the daily work schedule and biological clock get disrupted. With 24*7 working environments, people have to work in shifts. It may include night or early morning or rotating shifts. According to work timings, one need to force the body to work but the body regulates as per biological clock. There are some people who can adjust themselves according to shift timings but others can’t. This cause sleep deprivation and makes you to struggle with sleepiness and fatigue all day long. As a result, it reduces your productivity and enhances the risk of injury.

Delayed sleep phase disorder

In this type of sleep disorder, the biological clock gets delayed. It can cause you to sleep and wakes you up much later than others. It is like being a night owl as the disorder makes it difficult to keep you awake during normal daytime.

Jet lag

Due to different time zones experienced while travelling, the disruption in circadian rhythms is Jet Lag. Some of the symptoms are feeling sleeping during daytime, fatigue, headache, stomach problems and insomnia. Since it takes some time to adjust to the time zone in the particular country and hence it causes sleeping problems.

How Are Sleep Disorders Diagnosed?

Doctor can diagnose the sleep disorder doing physical exam to know about the symptoms and medical history. The physician can also suggest for various tests:
  • polysomnography
  • electroencephalogram
  • genetic blood testing
Through these tests, the right treatment for sleep disorder can be done.

How Are Sleep Disorders Treated?

Sleep disorders can be treated according to the type and underlying cause. Through medical treatments and lifestyle changes, the disorder can be improved.

Medical Treatments

Medical sleep disorders treatment includes:
  • Taking sleeping pills
  • Melatonin supplement
  • Cold or Allergy Medication
  • Medications for health issues
  • Breathing device for sleep apnea

Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes along with medical treatment can improve the quality of sleep drastically. You can follow the below mentioned steps and treat sleep disorder:
  • Try to have healthy diet that includes more vegetables and fruits and reduce the sugar intake
  • Exercise well to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Stick to regular normal sleeping schedule
  • Drink less water before taking nap
  • Limit your caffeine intake during the evening
  • Reduce tobacco and alcohol use
Along with all this, try to go to bed and wake up at same time daily to improve the quality of sleep quality.

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