Sleep Disorders: All you need to know

by cadabamshospital

03 June,2020 | 4 months read

Sleep disorders are conditions that affect the normal sleep patterns of a person, regularly. Whether it’s caused by health issues or excess stress, conditions like obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia are very common right now; especially in adults who are aged between 20 and 59.

The sleeping problems usually arise due to mental factors like stress, a hectic schedule, and external influences. But, when the sleep problems become consistent and begin to affect your everyday life that’s when you have to seek medical help.

People have a difficult time falling asleep and they may feel exhausted throughout the day depending on the type of sleep disorder. The sleep problems can go away once the cause is pointed out and the treatment plan is implemented.

When sleep disorders aren’t caused by a specific condition then the treatment will usually involve a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatments.

When problems like obstructive sleep apnea and hypersomnia become consistent, that’s when you have to seek treatment right away. If the symptoms are left untreated, then the negative side effects of the sleep orders can lead to health consequences in the long run. It will affect your performance at work, strain your relationships, and cause hardship when performing daily tasks.

What are the major symptoms of sleep disorders?

Some of the major insomnia symptoms and sleep apnea symptoms include the following-

  1. Staying asleep or experiencing difficulty falling asleep
  2. Fatigue during the daytime
  3. A strong urge to take a nap during the day
  4. Anxiety and irritability
  5. Lack of concentration
  6. Depression

The symptoms mentioned above are the general ones, they can vary according to the condition that the patient is diagnosed with.

What are the major causes of sleep disorders?

Many conditions, disorders, and diseases can lead to hypersomnia causes and sleep apnea symptoms. Usually, these sleep issues are developed due to an underlying health problem.

Respiratory issues and allergies:

Colds, allergies (dust and pollen), and upper respiratory infections can make it challenging to breathe during the night. This can lead to many sleep apnea symptoms and the inability to breathe through your nose, it can also cause sleeping difficulties.

Nocturia:

This condition involves frequent urination and it can disrupt peaceful sleep by causing you to wake up multiple times through the night. It’s caused due to hormonal imbalances and diseases that affect the urinary tract and contribute towards the development of the condition. Ensure you call your doctor as soon as possible if the urination also comes with pain and bleeding.

Chronic pain:

Constant pain can make it difficult for a patient to fall asleep, it can wake you up from deep sleep and some of the common causes will include-

  1. Arthritis
  2. Fibromyalgia
  3. Chronic fatigue syndrome
  4. Inflammatory bowel syndrome
  5. Consistent headaches
  6. Persistent lower back pain

Stress and Anxiety:

Anxiety and stress are mental health issues that have a huge issue on your sleep quality. It can be difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. The nightmares, sleep talking, sleepwalking, and so on, and can ruin your sleep patterns.

What are the various types of sleep disorders?

There are many different types of sleep disorders. They are as follows-

Insomnia:

Insomnia causes the inability to fall and stay asleep. The causes include jet lag, hormones, stress, and anxiety, as well as intense digestive problems. Insomnia symptoms can be problematic for the overall quality of life and health. If left untreated then insomnia can cause the following issues-

  1. Difficulty concentrating
  2. Depression
  3. Irritability
  4. Weight gain
  5. Impaired school or work performance

Insomnia is quite common in people across the globe, and almost every adult will have experienced it at least once in their lives. This sleep disorder is categorized into three parts-

Chronic- which takes place when the issue happens regularly

Intermittent- This is when the insomnia episodes occur periodically

Transient- This is when insomnia episodes are fleeting and takes place a few nights at a time.

Sleep apnea:

Sleep apnea is quite dangerous when it’s left untreated because it causes pauses in breathing during sleep. This is a serious medical condition and it can lead to less oxygen in the body. Due to the interrupted breathing, you will wake several times at night. If you experience sleep apnea symptoms you must visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Parasomnias- Parasomnias are a type of sleeping disorder that includes movements and behaviors during sleep cycles that are considered abnormal. Some of the major activities include-

  1. Sleep talking
  2. Sleepwalking
  3. Nightmares
  4. Groaning
  5. Bedwetting
  6. Jaw clenching
  7. Teeth grinding

Restless leg syndrome:

This condition is an overwhelming urge to move your legs. It’s accompanied by a tingling sensation that spreads to both legs. The symptoms occur during the day and they get worse at night. Resting Leg Syndrome is usually connected to certain underlying health conditions like ADHD and Parkinson’s disease, but the exact cause is not known yet.

Narcolepsy:

It’s usually categorized as “sleep attacks” and they happen during the day. If you have this condition then you will suffer from sudden episodes of fatigue and you will fall asleep suddenly without any warning. The disorder can also cause sleep paralysis, and it can make you unable to move physically especially right after waking up. Sometimes narcolepsy can appear on its own, while other times it can be caused due to neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis.

How are sleep orders diagnosed?

Firstly, if you experience any hypersomnia symptoms or insomnia symptoms you will have to visit your doctor as soon as possible. They will perform a series of tests that depend on your diagnosis.

Polysomnography: This is a sleep study that examines and evaluated the oxygen levels, brain waves, and body movements which will determine how they disrupt sleep

Electroencephalogram: This test makes note of the electrical activity that takes place in the brain, along with any potential problems associated with the brain’s activity.

Genetic blood testing: Here a blood test is used to diagnose conditions like narcolepsy as well as other underlying health conditions that can cause sleeping problems.

These tests are extremely vital if you want to determine the right course of treatment for any sleep disorders.

Treatment of sleep disorders:

The treatment for sleep disorders is different and they depend on the conditions and their underlying cause. It usually includes a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes.

Medical treatments:

The medical treatments for sleep disturbances include the following-

  1. Sleeping pills
  2. Melatonin supplements
  3. Cold and allergy medication
  4. Medication for other health issues
  5. Breathing surgery or device (for sleep apnea symptoms)
  6. Dental guards (for jaw clenching and teeth grinding)

Lifestyle changes:

Once you make proper lifestyle adjustments, you will be surprised at the quality and quantity of sleep you will receive, especially when they are done with medical treatments. 

You may want to consider the following adjustments to your daily routine-

  1. Including fresh vegetables and fish in your diet
  2. Reducing the sugar intake
  3. Consistent exercise can help reduce anxiety and stress
  4. Sticking to a regular sleeping schedule
  5. Drink less water before your bedtime
  6. Limit your caffeine intake during the latter part of the day
  7. Decreasing tobacco and alcohol use
  8. Eating meals that have fewer carbohydrates

Going to bed and waking up at the same time, daily, can improve your sleep cycle. You may be tempted to sleep in during the weekends, but that will make it more difficult to fall asleep during the workweek.

Sleep apnea treatment options

There are many ways you can treat sleep apnea, some of the common methods include-

CPAP Therapy- A CPAP, also known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy machine, is used to keep your airways open when you’re sleeping. The machines will make use of the mild air pressure and it’s attached to prongs or a mask that fits your nose.

If you don’t like the idea of wearing a mask to bed, then here are some alternatives you can follow:

  1. Wearing an oral or dental appliance
  2. Going through surgery
  3. Losing weight
  4. Trying positional therapy

Insomnia treatment options

The treatment plans for insomnia include medication that’s prescribed to suit your condition. For example, if you suffer from depression or anxiety, the physician will prescribe you anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicines. The medication for sleep can be used and they are usually prescribed on a short term basis

The non-medical methods include cognitive behavior therapy, sleep restriction, hypnosis, stimulus control, and relaxation techniques that are designed to get rid of insomnia. It’s highly advised that you avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Get help now

You have to seek professional help if you are experiencing sleep problems and feel that you recognize the symptoms. Here are some of the main points you have to keep in mind about sleep disorders

  1. Sleep disorders are quite common
  2. Insomnia attacks are when an individual can’t sleep or stay asleep, they will experience unstable sleeping patterns
  3. It’s treated with medication and cognitive-behavioral changes, along with lifestyle changes
  4. Sleep apnea can be treated in many ways like CPAP surgery, medication, weight loss, and so on
  5. Narcolepsy is treated in many ways like with medication and scheduled naps

It can be pretty scary and surprising when you or your loved one is suffering from a sleep disorder. It can make them feel irritable, alone, and exhausted. The bed partner can get angry, especially if they don’t understand what’s happening to them. Sleep disorders can affect your home, work, and social life if they are not treated in time. 

However, the good news is that help and treatment are available. The best cure is to seek help from a specialist physician. They will help you understand the latest treatment plans, which will help in rapid recovery and drastically improve your quality of life. 

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