What do you mean by sleep disorders?
Sleep disorders is a group of conditions that may affect your ability to sleep well regularly. This condition is becoming increasingly common in the USA, whether it is caused by a health condition or by too much stress or worry.
In fact, approx. one-third of adults in the USA report getting fewer than 7 hours of sleep in a cycle of 24 hours period. More than 70% of high school students report getting less than 8 hours of sleep on weeknights. Many people occasionally experience sleeping difficulties due to hectic work schedules, stress, or other influences. However, when these conditions begin to occur regularly and begin to interfere with daily routine, it is a sign of sleep disorder.
Depending on the type of disorder, an individual may face a difficult time falling asleep and may feel extremely tired throughout the day. Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on health, energy, concentration, and mood. In many cases, sleep disorders can be a symptom of another mental or physical health condition. These sleeping difficulties may eventually go away once treatment is obtained for the underlying condition.
When a sleep disorder is not a cause of another condition, treatment generally involves a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes. It is necessary to receive a diagnosis and treatment right away if you suspect sleeping difficulties.
When it is left untreated, its negative aspect can result in further health consequences. It can also affect your performance at school and work and can impair your ability to perform daily tasks.
Common problem in adults
If you have experienced waking up in a bad mood, you know how it will ruin your day. However, when you talk about something more long-term and severe such as sleep disorders, it affects a person’s life. Proper sleep is a crucial part of the well-being of every person.
An individual who suffers from difficulty in sleeping at night knows that it is a frustrating struggle. Lack of rest or sleep can also have detrimental effects on your mood, overall health, or brain function. Yet it is a common problem in adults, especially in females.
According to a survey, about 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by sleep disorders. Any condition that prevents an individual from getting enough sleep may cause tiredness and host other mental and physical conditions.
Common sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, or restless legs syndrome can affect every aspect of an individual’s life, such as relationships, safety, performance at work and school, or diabetes and heart disease development. Not getting enough sleep may hurt your quality of life.
What are the symptoms of sleep disorders?
Sleep disorder symptoms differ depending on the type and severity of the sleeping disorder. It may also vary when it results in another condition. However, general symptoms may include:
- strong urge to take naps during the day
- difficulty falling or staying asleep
- unusual breathing problem
- daytime fatigue
- unusual movement or other experiences while asleep
- unpleasant desire to move while falling asleep
- lack of concentration
- irritability or anxiety
- impaired performance at school and work
- weight gain and depression
Many people may fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as while driving. Unusual movements or experiences while sleeping are also possible. So, having an irregular sleep and wake cycle is another symptom of a sleep disorder.
What are the common causes of sleep disorders?
Sleeping difficulties can be caused due to various factors. Although these causes may differ, the end result of all sleep disorders is that your body’s natural cycle of slumber and daytime wakefulness is exaggerated or disrupted. These factors may include:
- mental and physical
- psychiatric and environmental
- genetics and medications
- working on night shifts
- Aging (approx half of the adult population above age 65 have some sort of sleep disorder)
Diagnosis of sleep disorder?
Your health care professional may first perform a physical test and gather some information about your medical history and symptoms. They may also order various tests, such as:
- Electroencephalogram: It is a test that assesses the electrical activity in the brain and detects any potential difficulties associated with this activity. It is a part of polysomnography.
- Multiple sleep latency tests: The daytime napping study is used in conjunction with a PSG at night to help diagnose narcolepsy.
- Polysomnography: It is a lab sleep analysis that evaluates oxygen levels, brain waves, and body movement to determine how they disrupt sleep vs. a home sleep study performed on your own and used to diagnose sleep apnea.
These physical tests can be crucial in determining the right course of treatment for sleep disorders.
How can I fix my sleep disorder?
Treatment of sleep disorder varies depending n the underlying and type of cause. However, it usually includes a combination of medical treatment and several lifestyle changes.
Medical cures for sleeping issues may include any of these:
- melatonin supplements
- sleeping pills
- medications for any health issues
- allergy and cold drugs
- dental guard
- breathing device or surgery
Non-medical treatment or lifestyle changes
Lifestyle changes can efficiently improve your quality of sleep, especially when you are done with a combination of medical treatment. You may want to consider:
- reducing anxiety and stress by exercising and stretching
- incorporating more veggies and fish into your meals and reducing the intake of sugars
- drinking less water before bedtime
- creating and sticking to a regular sleeping schedule
- limiting the intake of caffeine
- maintaining a healthy weight based on the expert’s recommendation
- eating low carb meals
Going to sleep or waking up on the same schedule every day can also improve your sleep quality. While you may be tempted to sleep on weekends, this can make it more challenging to wake up or sleep during the work weeks.
Sleep disorders may not be treated, but they may affect your quality of life so often or so seriously that they can disrupt your weight performance at work and school, general physical health, mental health, or thinking. Common ones such as insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome prevent you from getting the deep and long sleep you need to function at your best.
If you are experiencing a sleep disorder, do not hesitate to consult your medical professional. Your health and quality of life depend on your sound and quality sleep. So, practice sleep hygiene and follow the instruction of the professional. The effects of this condition are so disruptive that you may likely want immediate relief. Unfortunately, prolonged cases can take some time to resolve.