At one point or another, we have experienced trouble when sleeping. There are several factors that can lead to these problems. You may be going through stress, illness, or any other temporary conditions that interfere with your normal routine. An individual is termed as suffering from a sleep disorder when the problems interfere with your daily life as a regular occurrence. Besides the daytime sleepiness, sleep disorders can also result in other complicated situations.
They are likely to lead to problems such as memory loss or weight gain by taking a serious toll on your physical and mental health. It also impacts negatively on your energy and mood. You can take various measures to improve your health and have a good night’s sleep. You no longer have to live with the sleeping problem throughout your life.
An overview of Sleep disorder
A sleep disorder is a condition that influences your ability to get adequate sleep. It is usual for an individual to experience occasional sleeping differences. However, feeling sleepy during the day or having problems sleeping during the night on a regular basis is termed as abnormal. This means that your body responses are different from the normal person and that you need medical attention.
It is possible to become exhausted or frustrated when you are experiencing troubles sleeping. You feel very tired in the morning when you fail to have enough sleep during the night. All your little energy becomes worn out during the day regardless of your attempts to remain strong. With sleeping disorders, you may have trouble sleeping regardless of how exhausted you feel at night. After some time is when you notice that the cycle continues on a daily basis, influencing your efficiency, mood, energy and the ability to handle stress.
There are many side effects of ignoring sleep disorders as it can interfere with your physical health. It leads to impaired job performance, memory loss, accidents, weight gain and a strain on your relationship. Any person who has ever wanted to be successful in life made sure that quality sleep was a necessity and they remained healthy to feel at their best. Having a quality sleep will also help you to perform to your potential and achieve your desired objectives.
You can still learn to sleep better even if the sleeping disorders seem normal after struggling with it for a long time. You can always begin by trailing your sleep patterns and symptoms. Afterward, foster healthy changes in your bedtime routine and daytime habits. If you are finding difficulties following the self-help, you can always seek advice from the sleep specialists. They have undergone intensive training in sleep medicine and can give appropriate solutions to your condition. It is possible to identify the underlying issues together and find the essential ways to enhance your sleep. It will not only be useful in fixing your sleep disorders but also improve your quality of life. It is important to treat the condition at the early stages to avoid extensive damage to your mental and physical health.
Signs and Symptoms of sleep disorders
Most individuals often experience occasional sleeping problems. How can you identify that your sleeping patterns are not normal? Your condition might either be a passing annoyance, a minor or an underlying medical condition. It is always important to get to know the symptoms of sleep disorders so that you can get start early treatment.
The symptoms of sleeping disorders may vary depending on the severity of your condition. There are several circumstances that might give a signal when an individual is suffering from a sleeping disorder. They include;
- Difficulties when concentrating
- Feeling sleepy or irritable during the day
- Experiencing problems to stay awake when reading, sitting still or watching television.
- Feeling tired or can’t falling asleep fast when driving
- Your colleagues at work keep telling you that you look tired
- Taking caffeinated beverages to keep yourself awake
- Difficulties to control your emotions
- Feeling like you want to take a nap the whole day
You may be having sleeping disorders when you are experiencing any of these symptoms regularly or on a daily basis. If it usually appears once in a while you won’t have a problem with that. The condition only becomes worse when you keep ignoring the symptoms yet they are occurring every day. It is important to consult a medical expert to diagnose and provide the right treatment for your sleeping disorder.
Types of Common Sleep Disorders
It is one of the common sleeping disorders where your breathing stops temporarily during sleep and makes you wake up frequently. People who experience sleep apnea may not recall waking up at intervals during their sleep. They tend to feel irritable or depressed during the day and you will see them experiencing a decrease in productivity because of exhaustion. It is important to see a doctor straight away if an individual is suffering from this condition. Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder that can interfere with your normal routine. Seeking help from a doctor will help you to learn what you can do to get rid of the condition.
This is a condition where a person does not get enough sleep during the night and can be caused by a jet lag, stress or a serious health condition. Insomnia can also be brought about by the amount of coffee you take or some of your medication. Anxiety and depression are other causes that may lead to insomnia. It is a sleep disorder that needs to be treated immediately to avoid other damages to your mental or physical health.
This is a sleep disorder that is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness that is beyond the control of the patient. It is usually brought about by a dysfunction in the part of your brain mechanism that controls the time you sleep or wake. Individuals who experience this condition usually have ‘sleep attacks’ in the middle of working, driving or even talking. It is a serious sleeping disorder that can lead to accidents or injuries to the patient. Medical researchers have not found a cure for Narcolepsy but prove that a combination of treatments can help control the symptoms. Using these treatments regularly will allow you to enjoy your normal activities.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
It is a sleeping disorder that makes you move your legs uncontrollably at night. Others tend to move their arms too as they feel an irresistible urge to do so. This urge to keep your legs in motion usually occurs when lying down or resting. It is caused by creeping, aching, tingly and uncomfortable sensations that surge through your body. There are several ways in which you can manage and relieve the symptoms of RLS. Other medical experts have also come up with effective self-help remedies that you can employ while at home.
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders
The Circadian rhythm is a biological clock in every human being that regulates the sleep- wake cycle within 24 hours. This cycle is mostly influenced by light which is the primary cue. Your brain usually triggers the melatonin hormone at night when there is less light. This, in turn, makes you drowsy and you end up sleeping the whole night. When the sun rises in the morning, the light from your window or surroundings initiates a response to the brain which allows you to wake up. You tend to feel disoriented or groggy when your circadian rhythms are disrupted. They have been associated with several sleep disorders as well as the winter blues and depression. There are several types of Circadian rhythm sleep disorders.
It is a temporary interference in the circadian rhythms that usually occurs when you are traveling across different time zones. Some of the symptoms of jet lag include a headache, fatigue, insomnia, stomach problems, and sleepiness. They become more pronounced depending on the length of the flight. It has been proved that flying to the west leads to lesser jet lag compared to flying in the east. Your jet lag should be over within three days when you cross three time zones.
How can I reduce the Jet lag?
There are several tips that can help you adjust to this condition. You can adjust your sleeping time gradually if you intend to travel through several time zones. A few days before your flight, you can decide to go to bed a half an hour earlier and wake up in the morning a half an hour earlier than usual. Alternating the sleeping time by going to bed earlier and waking up earlier changes the effect of the jet lag once you begin your flight.
You can also spend more time outdoors once during the first two days after your arrival. Daylight will be able to reset your internal biological clock. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids but not alcohol or caffeine. You need better sleep once you arrive at the new region and remember to observe the sleeping and waking times.
Shift work sleep disorder
It usually occurs when your biological clock and work schedule are out of sync. Most people tend to work for early morning shifts, night shifts or rotating shifts. The shifts force your body to go to work when it needs some rest. The opposite is also true since you will be going to sleep when your body initiates a response to keep you awake. Other employees will find it easier to adjust compared to others. Most of them usually have less quality sleep because they do not follow the biological clock.
To ensure that you have enough sleep and time to work, it is important to minimize the frequency of the shifts. Take regular breaks and monitor your sleep-wake cycle by increasing the light exposure at work. Also, minimize the exposure to light when it is time to get some sleep. Use heavy curtains or blackout shades to keep off any daylight in your bedroom.
Delayed sleep phase disorder
This is a condition where there is a lag in your biological clock. This means that you go to sleep the usual time but wake up later than most individuals. This disorder gives you difficulties in maintaining the normal hours of carrying out your duties. You may end up missing your morning classes or turning up late for work. It is most common in teenagers and some of them tend to grow out of it eventually. Treatments such as chronotherapy and light therapy will be useful for those who are still struggling with this condition. It is important to schedule an appointment with your local sleep clinic or a medical expert to learn how you can control the delayed sleep phase disorder.
Self-help for sleep disorders
There are other sleeping disorders that can be treated right at home without seeking medical help. This involves improving your daytime habits such as sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, limiting alcohol or caffeine intake, regular exercises and managing stress. You can also develop a relaxing bedtime routine that will prepare your body and mind for sleep. When you wake up at midnight, try to go back to sleep so that it cannot interfere with your biological clock. Focus on your breathing, meditating or any other relaxation technique.
When should I see a doctor?
You can schedule an appointment with your doctor if you experience choking, gasps or a stopped breathing during sleep. If you tend to fall asleep during inappropriate times such as when talking, eating or walking, you also need extensive medical care. You might have also tried some self-help solutions which never worked. That is the right time to call a doctor.
A specialist will observe various changes in your body such as sleep patterns, heart rate, brain waves, and other monitoring devices. The sleep specialist will then design a treatment program that will help monitor your progress while at home. It is important to follow the schedule with commitment and dedication so that you can solve the sleep disorders.