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Being deprived of sleep for a continued period can rob you of your peace and good health. Sleep disorders are common problems that most people affected by stress or inherent health problems face. Hectic schedules coupled with mounting lifestyle problems and financial woes have often led many people to complain of irregular sleep patterns or inability to sleep for more than seven hours in a day. Besides, high school students also complain about their inability to sleep during the weekends.
For some people, sleeping problems may be temporary, while others may complain of persistent problems that may interfere with their daily schedules.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Disorders
People with sleep disorders often show common symptoms like feeling sleepy during the day, irregular breathing, or an increase in movement during sleep. Some other signs include an irregular sleep and wake cycle or staying awake for long hours even after going to the bed. General symptoms of sleep disorders include:
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Constant tiredness during daytime
- The tendency to fall asleep during the day
- Unusual breathing patterns
- Limb movements while asleep
- Inadvertent changes to the sleep cycle
- Unexplained anxiousness or irritable behavior
- Lack of focus
- A sudden increase in weight
- Poor performance at work or school
Common Types of Sleeping Disorders
Depending on the nature and extent of sleeping disorders and how they affect a person, psychologists classify sleeping disorders into different categories. Besides, the grouping of sleep disorders is also done based on behavioral problems due to sleep disorders, difficulties in natural sleep-wake cycles, breathing inabilities, irregularities in sleeping behavior, and constant drowsiness during the day.
Some common sleep disorder types include:
- Insomnia: This is the most common type of sleep disorder characterized by the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. The common reasons for insomnia may include indigestion, hormonal disorders, feeling of jet lag, anxiousness, and continued stress. Insomnia problems, if untreated, may result in:
- Difficulty in focusing
- Constant irritability
- Increased weight problems
- Impaired work performance
The National Medical Journal of India reveals that nearly 33 percent of Indian adults suffer from insomnia. Some people may show symptoms of insomnia at least three times every week that may last for up to three months. Psychologists refer to this as chronic insomnia whereas insomnia problems that last for less than three months are labeled as short-term insomnia problems. Those affected by periodic sleep disorder problems can seek treatment for intermittent insomnia.
- Sleep Apnea: Paused breathing while asleep can cause the body to take in less oxygen. Doctors regard this as a serious medical condition that causes many people to wake up during the night. Labeled as sleep apnea, this kind of problem disrupts quality sleep owing to obstructed airway space or when there is a disarray in the connection between the brain and the muscles responsible for breathing.
There are two types of sleep apnea – obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is when your breathing stops involuntarily for a period of time during sleep; this happens because the soft tissues in your throat temporarily relax, which leads to the narrowing or closing of the airway, resulting in the obstruction of breathing. On the other hand, central sleep apnea is when your breathing stops involuntarily for a period of time during sleep because your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that are responsible to control your breathing.
- Parasomnia: Some people exhibit abnormal movements and behaviors while sleeping. Classified as Parasomnia, this type of sleeping disorder is characterized by symptoms including:
- Talking in sleep
- Groaning while asleep
- Frequent nightmares
- Bedwetting problems
- Clenching of jaws or teeth grinding during sleep
- Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Some people have an uncommon tendency to move legs while sleeping that keeps them from a restful sleep. This is RSL, it is also called Willis-Ekbom disease. Affected people feel a tingling sensation in their legs along with an overwhelming need to move their legs. People suffering from this disorder experience symptoms mostly during the day.
Though no scientific study has been able to ascertain the root cause of this disorder, doctors suggest that this disorder is possibly associated with mental health problems inclusive of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Parkinson’s disease. The probability of suffering from this disease increases with age. If not treated, the symptoms of this disorder can deteriorate and can lead to depression and anxiety.
- Narcolepsy: Characterized by excessive sleepiness during the day, people suffering from this condition tend to fall asleep suddenly during the day. Extreme stress and tiredness trigger sudden sleep sans warning in people suffering from narcolepsy. They also tend to suffer from sleep paralysis, thus, disabling them from being able to walk even after waking up. Though no particular health problem has been attributed to this disorder, the grievousness of this disease is also associated with serious nerve disorders like multiple sclerosis.
Causes of Sleep Disorders
The different types of sleeping disorders have one thing in common – frequent sleep disturbances. While there may be myriad reasons for suffering from sleep disorders, most of them are caused due to underlying health problems. Some of them are:
- Common cold, allergies, and breathing problems
- Hormonal imbalances and urinary tract diseases
- Extreme pain due to constant headaches, arthritis, persistent lower back pain, etc.
- Sudden stress and unexplained anxiety
- Sleepwalking or sleep talking habits
Treating Sleep Disorders
There is no one-stop solution when it comes to treating various types of sleep disorders that affect more than 30 percent of Indian adults. Doctors recommend lifestyle changes coupled with medical treatment options for complete relief from these disorders.
The possible medical treatment options to treat sleep disturbances may include:
- Prescription of sleeping pills
- Advising melatonin supplements
- Recommending medicines to treat the common cold
- Prescribing medicines for possible health issues
- Instructing patients to undergo surgery for sleep apnea treatment
- Apprising patients to use a dental guard to treat teeth grinding problems
However, medical treatments are futile without making some necessary lifestyle changes. These may include:
- Reducing daily sugar intake
- Adding more vegetables and fishes to the daily diet
- Regular exercising and stretching to reduce anxiety levels
- Drinking less water before going to bed
- Limiting caffeine intake by drinking less coffee or tea during late afternoon or evening
- Lowering alcohol or tobacco use
- Eating small meals before bedtime
- Controlling weight gain by jogging and running regularly
Path to Recovery
At the initial stage, sleep disorder might look like any other minor health issue. However, if left untreated, these disorders can deteriorate into serious mental health issues.
Though all cannot read the signs and symptoms of sleep disorders, sudden changes in the life cycle or sleep patterns must not be ignored. If you or your loved one is finding it difficult to benefit from a sound sleep, it is time to consult an expert. Early diagnosis can mitigate the long-term effects of the disorder. Moreover, in addition to improving sleep, the benefits can trickle down to other aspects of life as well, improving one’s performance, productivity, and general well-being.
Beat Your Sleep Disorders: Why Cadabam’s Hospitals
At Cadabam’s Hospital, we have a multi-specialty team of experts who specialize in treating sleep disorders. Over the past three decades, we have helped countless people improve their lifestyles. We opt for a personalized and evidence-based approach that enables us to deliver effective diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment to the patients. Get in touch with us today.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is sleep disorder?
Sleep disorders are various conditions that affect one’s ability to sleep well. Subsequently, these conditions can lead to sleep deprivation, affecting virtually every aspect of your life and increasing the risks of other health problems. For instance, if you’re not getting adequate sleep, it can result in poor performance and productivity at work. It can also lead to problems like obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
2. What causes sleep disorder?
There are numerous causes that can lead to sleep problems and disorders. Depending on the disorder, the causes may vary. A lot of people who struggle with mental health problems – like depression, anxiety, phobias, bipolar, and schizophrenia – find it difficult to get proper sleep. Genetics, medications, and aging are also common causes of sleep disorders.
3. How sleep disorders are diagnosed?
A doctor will do a physical examination and ask for your symptoms. They will look at your medical history and overall lifestyle. They may also order a few tests like the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) and Electroencephalogram (EEG), which will help them outline an effective course of treatment.
4. Are sleep disorders life-threatening?
Depending on the kind of sleep disorder you have, it can be life-threatening. However, this happens only in extreme cases. If you have any sleep problems, do consult a doctor before things get worse and leave a long-term effect.
5. What are the 5 major sleep disorders?
There are numerous sleep disorders. Some of the common ones include sleep apnea, insomnia, snoring, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome.
If you are searching for the best sleep disorder treatment, visit Cadabam's Hospitals or call us @ +91 97414 76476.