Sleep disorders are conditions that affect your sleep over a long period. Sleep disorders are now increasing due to hectic work schedules, too much stress, overworking on regular basis, and an unhealthy way of life.
Sleep disorder can affect your mental and physical health, safety, performance at work, relationships, and quality of your life. Sleep deprivation is dangerous for your health, as it can affect your ability to drive and other health problems.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, almost one-third of adults get less than 7 hours of sleep daily and almost seventy percent of students get less than eight hours of sleep on weeknights.
Symptoms of sleep disorders include breathing problems, daytime sleepiness, feel extremely tired, or increase movement while sleeping. Sometimes people also experience difficulty sleeping or irregular sleep patterns.
The lack of sleep hurts your mood, overall health status, and concentration on your work. Most people experience these disorders due to stress-related issues. However, if you have a sleep problem for a long time and it interferes with your daily life, then it is a sleep disorder that needs medical attention.
Sometimes sleep disorders can be a result of some other disease or health condition. These problems usually go away after treatment of the underlying causes is completed.
If you suspect that you have a sleep disorder, you should get a diagnosis and treatment immediately. If sleep disorders are not from some other diseases, then a combination of medicine and lifestyle changes is recommended.
Different Symptoms of Sleep Disorders
Symptoms of sleep disorders usually vary depending upon the severity of the particular sleep disorder. It also varies if some underlying disease condition is involved. Generally, sleep disorders are associated with the following disease conditions:
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Fatigue that may last 24 hours
- Daytime sleepiness
- Unusual breathing problems
- Unusual movement while sleeping
- Disturbance in sleep/wake timings
- Loss of focus
- Poor performance in school
Types of Sleep Disorders
There are many types of sleep disorders, some may even be caused by medical conditions.
- Sleep Apneas
- Restless leg syndrome
Insomnia is a condition in which a person has difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep. Insomnia may be caused by some other medical condition or due to hormones, digestive issues, stress, and anxiety.
Insomnia can cause problems for the health of a person, other problems related to insomnia include:
- Difficulty in focusing on education
- Lack of concentration
- Obesity or unintended weight gain
- Poor performance in school
Insomnia is very common in adults, almost 50 percent of Americans experience insomnia at some point in their lives. It is usually prevalent in older people and women. There are many causes of insomnia including:
- Drinking too much caffeine throughout the day
- Drinking alcohol before bedtime
- Excessive napping during the day
- Changes in your surroundings and sleep schedule
- Jet lag
- Certain medications
- Pain from medical problems, such as arthritis
Insomnia is generally classified into three types
- A chronic form that continues for one month
- The intermittent form that occurs periodically
- The transient form lasts for a few days
Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by breathing pauses during your sleep. This is a very serious problem as it causes a lack of oxygen provided to the body. Due to pauses in breathing, a person wakes up suddenly from sleep. There are two types,
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea – the passage of air is obstructed in this condition
- Central Sleep Apnea – problem between brain and muscle connection for breathing
A parasomnia is a condition that causes abnormal behavior by a person while sleeping. If you have this condition you will talk, walk around, and unusual activity during sleep. Such behavior can occur at any stage of sleep. You won’t remember this experience as you are unconscious during parasomnia. It can cause different changes in your behavior that include:
- Teeth Grinding
- Sleep Talking
- Jaw Clenching
Restless Leg Syndrome
RLS is a condition that is related to an overwhelming need to move your leg. This urge can be seen during the day-time but it is usually prevalent at night time.
Restless Leg Syndrome is often related to some health problem, which might include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or Parkinson’s disease. The exact cause of this problem is not always known.
Narcolepsy is a condition which is characterized as “sudden sleep attacks” while being awake. In this condition, a person will feel tired and will suddenly fall asleep.
Narcolepsy is associated with certain neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, but it can also occur on its own. This disorder is very dangerous as it can cause paralysis, which can make you physically unable to move.
Remedies for Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders can impact a person’s life and health negatively. Most people experience these problems in some part of their lives. So, with help of a few lifestyle changes, a person can overcome these problems. Following are the best practices to avoid sleep problems.
Yoga has been found to help alleviate stress, boost your mental strength, and improve physical health. It also has a positive effect on the sleep of a person. Slow movements allow you to be more focused and sharp. You should choose a style that involves more breathing exercise and less physical work.
You should try to perform different postures before your bed to keep yourself relax. You can also try 20 minutes of yoga exercises daily, and a longer session on weekends. Yoga exercises may vary from person to person, you have to choose what is best for you and your body.
Exercise brings out positive energy in you. It enhances your mood, energy, weight loss, and helps you with better sleep. Every person should at least have 20 minutes of exercise daily. You can also have a vigorous exercise for a few days of a week.
You must find the best time of the day for your exercise like morning which will have the most positive effect on your sleep. Never overwork your body as it can cause injury. You should keep into consideration your physical health and exercise accordingly.
Body massage has a positive effect on sleep quality and stress alleviation. It also improves daytime functioning and reduces the feeling of pain, depression, and anxiety.
You can ask your friend or partner to massage you if a professional massage is not possible. During massage allow your mind to feel the sensation of touch. You can also research online for useful tips.
Mindful meditation is slow and steady breathing while you are sitting in a quiet place. You observe your sensations, thoughts, feelings, and breathing as they come and go.
Mindfulness meditation can provide many benefits to your health and also promotes better sleep. It also boosts your immunity, reduces stress and depression, and improve focus on work.
Different researchers have found out the positive effects of meditation on insomnia and sleeping behavior. You should at least meditate for 15 minutes every day in the morning or evening.
You can also join a meditation group for your motivation. You can even attend one monthly class and practice later on at home. Meditation can cause emotional turmoil or anger in you, if so discontinue meditation.
Lavender oil can help to reduce pain, improve health, and promote sleep. The use of lavender oil orally gives better results. Lavender oil capsules with antidepressants can help with coping with depression.
A dose of 20 to 80 mg of lavender should be taken orally daily. You can also make lavender tea. It can lower the level of anxiety, which would allow you to have better sleep.
Melatonin can help in sleeping quickly and even enhances the quality of sleep. Melatonin improves sleep patterns in insomnia and cancer patients. You should take around 1 to 5 mg of melatonin two hours before sleep. It has certain side effects which include:
- Digestive problems
- Wakefulness at night
General Guidelines for Sleep Disorders
- Avoid nicotine, alcohol, and other chemicals that disturb sleep
- Take hot showers after work
- Keep your room dark and cool
- Get out of bed if you are not asleep after 20 minutes
- Avoid overeating
- Stay active, but exercise earlier in the day
- Take a hot shower or bath at the end of your day.
- Avoid screens one to two hours before bed.
Sleep disorders are conditions that affect your ability to fall asleep or have good sleep regularly. These conditions can be related to certain lifestyle choices or due to certain diseases. People suffering from these conditions usually experience fatigue, stress, depression, poor work efficiency, and unintended weight gain. Certain remedies including yoga, meditation, daily exercise, melatonin, and lavender oil can help restore sleep. Some lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, avoiding screen time before bed, and avoiding overeating can also improve your sleep quality.