Sleep Disorders: Know the Enemy Faces

Are you suffering from sleep disorders? Know that enemy and its allies and see how to tackle insomnia or sleep deprivation problems.

Sleep is a vital part and parcel of human life. Humans are strongly recommended to sleep for no less than eight hours a day.

Sleeping for a sufficient duration of time is a sure way of mitigating many of the physical, emotional, and psychological problems that arise from time to time.

As with any other physiological process, sleep, too, does experience some disorders and other relevant issues.

A sleep disorder is a condition that comes about as a result of the changes in your sleep patterns. We take a look at this subject matter in these discussions.

Types of Sleep Disorders: Know Thy Enemy

Sleep disorders come in various shades and forms.

These variations are mainly determined by the environment where you sleep, the severity of the root-cause, and any underlying health issues. To stay healthy when you travel, read this.

In the proceeding segments of our discussions, we shall examine the various types and how to treat them:

Insomnia

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep. In this sense, your eyes simply refuse to close and fall in a deep sleep.

Instead, you spend too much of your time daydreaming and recollecting your daily events. Though not really deadly, this condition may bring along devastating consequences if not mitigated properly and in time.

There are a number of strategies you may use to treat this condition. These include:

  • Making your bedroom cool, comfortable and dark
  • Relaxing appropriately way before getting to bed
  • Eliminating all electronics in the bedroom
  • Staying away from caffeine or hot beverages at night
  • To seek professional medical intervention if the symptoms persist.

Exploding Head Syndrome

This condition is characterized by experiencing a loud sound in the head while asleep.

This loud sound may take the stature of a bomb going off or some cymbals being crashed together.

The experiences are no doubt frightening though they are not as dangerous as they seem from face value.

The interventions below may be used to mitigate the condition:

  • Avoid potential triggers like alcohol and drug
  • Develop a regular sleep-wake cycle
  • Tone down on violent movies and video games
  • Take time to relax before retiring to bed
  • Purchase the relevant over-the-counter medications

Sleep Paralysis

In this sense, your body simply becomes numb when asleep. You simply cannot move, fidget, talk, or alter your sleep position.

Many people experience it while sleeping during the day or when facing up. For a large part, it is a symptom of a worse sleeping disorder like narcolepsy.

Below are some of the ways to treat this sleep disorder:

  • Maintain a regular bedtime
  • Exercise on a regular basis and intensely
  • Avoid sleeping on your back
  • Relieve all the stress in your mind before getting to bed
  • Talk to a counselor over a given issue that may be troubling.

Restless Legs Syndrome

A restless leg syndrome is a situation in which you experience an unpleasant sensation in your legs.

This is often accompanied by an irresistible urge to wake up and move around. In most cases, this condition is never really easy to contend with, as the symptoms may often flare-up.

The steps and procedures below may yield the badly-needed cure for the problem:

  • Reduce your intake of drugs and alcohol
  • Take an evening walk right before you go to bed
  • Massage the feet from time to time to streamline the flow of blood
  • Talk it out to your partner or guardian
  • Take appropriate medications if the conditions worsen.

Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking is a disorder in which the affected individual wakes, gets up, and walks around while still asleep.

It is commonly prevalent in children and is potentially dangerous to contend with. You are advised to do whatever you can to be able to mitigate it hence.

These steps and interventions may certainly be of much help to you:

  • Make the bedroom safer by eliminating all electronics
  • Lock the bedroom before getting to bed
  • Take some evening strolls before retiring to bed
  • Sleep in the company of others
  • Attend medical evaluations and appropriate medications

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a situation in which the individual concerned cannot regulate the sleep-wake cycle normally.

This results in the involuntary periods of sleep all day long that last from a couple of seconds to several minutes.

These intermittent sleep periods are potentially dangerous, depending mainly on when and where exactly you happen to fall asleep.

The measures below have been noted to do a great role in slowing down the impacts of the disorder:

  • Take appropriate medications
  • Make some behavioral changes and adjustments
  • Stay away from activities that are dangerous
  • Develop and adhere strictly to a regular sleep-wake cycle
  • Take plenty of juice and natural fruits.

Sexsomnia

This is a condition in which people engage in activities they would not normally engage in while normal or awake.

A huge chunk of these activities has some sexual orientation or connotation. They include sexual fantasies, hallucinations, foreplay, and masturbation.

It falls under the broad category of the parasomnias.

  • Make the sleep environment safer and conducive for sleeping
  • Treat any pre-existing sleep disorders
  • Eliminate drugs and alcohol from your intakes
  • Take the necessary medications
  • Tone down on watching any X-rated films

Night Terrors

Night terrors may be thought of as extreme forms of sleepwalking.

They are also common and highly prevalent in small children. This condition causes intense fears that make the affected child almost inconsolable.

It comes mainly in the form of a dream but stronger in its impacts.

The interventions and procedures below may certainly be of help to anyone suffering from this condition:

  • Avoid waking your child up
  • Reduce any stressors in the environment of the child
  • Prevent the child from staying awake for too long
  • Put in place a soothing bedtime routine
  • Offer some counseling sessions to the child

REM Behavior Disorder

The term ‘REM’ stands for “rapid eye movements.” It is a behavioral disorder in which the affected persons basically acts out his dreams.

In the course of doing this, they may end up hurting themselves irredeemably or inflicting the same hurt to the sleep partners if the actions are too violent.

These measures have been identified as effective in tackling the menace overall:

  • Take the clonazepam medication
  • Administer Melatonin and certain antidepressants
  • Make the bedroom safer for use
  • Sensitize the partner of your condition
  • Talk it out to a counselor for further help

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that is characterized by interruptions in the breathing patterns while asleep.

In this sense, the affected party pauses the breathing process while sleeping. If the condition persists, it may result in a heart attack or deprive the brain of the needed oxygen.

Practice the following steps to be able to reverse the trend:

  • Make the necessary lifestyle changes like your eating habits
  • Cut down your overall weight and intake of fatty foods
  • Sleep in your sides rather than back and belly
  • Bring in the continuous positive airway pressure machine
  • Stroll around in the neighborhood before falling asleep

Parasomnias

Parasomnias is a class of sleep disorders that results in abnormal movements and behaviors while asleep.

These could include such issues as sleepwalking, sleep talking, groaning, nightmares, bedwetting, teeth grinding, or jaw clenching.

If not tackled in time, these issues may at times get overboard.

A number of interventions may help out. Below are some of them, explained briefly:

  • Remove any triggers from your life or regime
  • Talk to a counselor to be of help to you
  • Avoid taking drugs and substances
  • Make the sleeping area safer for you
  • Notify your partner of your inherent problem beforehand

Sleep-related Breathing Disorders

Sleep-related breathing disorders are usually characterized by abnormalities in the breathing patterns while asleep.

They are grouped into sleep-related hypoxemia disorder, sleep-related hypoventilation, central sleep apnea, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Their impacts are often too strenuous and potentially damaging to the body.

The steps below may be used to treat and reverse this condition permanently:

  • Eliminate anything that can obstruct the nose or respiratory faculties
  • Install a fan or air conditioner in the room
  • Take an evening stroll right before sleep
  • Exercise and take a cold bath in the evening
  • Administer some relevant medications

Causes of Sleep Disorders: Unfold to the Root

These disorders are caused by several reasons and factors. In this section, we shall take our time to look into them.

We believe that by understanding the root causes of sleep disorders, you will be able to combat them well.

A firm knowledge of the root cause may also equip you with the skills needed to prevent the same issues from arising altogether.

Physical Disturbances

A host of physical disturbances may cause the emergence of this condition. They include fibromyalgia, headaches, and arthritis.

They tend to alter the manner in which the sleep goes. Also, they may affect the ability of the body to cope with the pains on a normal basis.

Medical Issues

Some underlying medical problems have also been noted to impact the normal sleep patterns of the body considerably.

These are issues that impact the respiratory tract like the lungs and the windpipe.

Asthma ranks tops of these medical conditions. Asthmatic persons usually find it difficult to sleep fine.

Psychiatric Disorders

Other than physical disturbances, there are a number of psychiatric disorders that have a role to play in the interference of sleep patterns.

Anxiety disorders and depression are core examples of these. They tend to stray your mind away while you sleep in such a manner as to prevent you from sleeping uninterruptedly.

Environmental Issues

Where exactly you sleep may also have a bearing on the quality of the sleep you may possibly accrue or enjoy. If you are in an area you have never been to before, for instance, you will often find it hard to fall asleep in the first night. The same applies to areas that are too bright or noisy.

Life Stresses

Some life stresses also impact the quality of the sleep you are bound to enjoy or accrue.

Certain misfortunes like job losses, the death of a loved one, or extremely sad news are examples of these. They tend to disrupt the flow of the sleep and other vital bodily functions.

Discomforts

Some discomforts especially those that occur at night have also been noted to give rise to the menace of sleep disorders.

Examples of these could be chronic stress, depressions, excessively deep pains, and night time disruptions are chief among these. Be sure to avoid them at all costs.

Genetics

Genetics is also thought to play a role in the emergence of this issue. Some people have naturally predisposed to this issue of sleep disorder thanks to the backgrounds and the genetic makeup they exhibit. This issue is not really easy to tackle and solve by virtue of this.

Night Shift Work

Those who work in the night also experience this problem to a greater extent or in a further degree. Working at night is likely to interfere with the sleep-wake patterns.

It also inflicts some debt that may have to be repaid at some point in time as it disrupts the biological clock.

Medications

Certain medications are also able to disrupt the sleeping patterns of the body. Core examples of the over-the-counter cold prescription medicine, blood pressure medication, and antidepressants.

They mainly interfere with the sleep cycles as they inhibit the smooth working of the hormones. Care should be taken to administer them in moderation.

Aging

Aging is an eventuality all of us will have to confront at some point. Many sleep disorders have also been observed to be largely prevalent with age.

Those aged 65 years and above are particularly hardest hit with this menace. The debate is ongoing though why this positive correlation exists.

Foods and Beverages

Some foods and beverages also impact the manner in which we sleep on a day to day basis. Alcohol, cigarettes, and coffee are particularly inimical to sound and consistent sleeping patterns.

They should be avoided totally or taken in moderation. This should especially happen moments before getting to bed.

Heart Failure and Lung Problems

The lungs and the hearts are two organs of the body that play a vital role in determining the sleep quality. It hence goes that any harm that inflicts these two body parts has a bearing on the kind of sleep quality that is attainable.

Lung problems and heart failures are two known impediments of these kinds.

Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Circadian rhythms are those that alternate after a duration or cycle of 24 hours. The sleep-wake cycle is a core example of these circadian rhythms.

It is mainly caused when there is a deliberate step to get to bed and wake at cycles or patterns that are irregular and out of the ordinary.

Sitting in front of screens for hours has its toll too. Especially in night time. Winding down and avoiding laptop and/or smartphone screens quite some time before your sleep time is essential.

Sleep Disorders - Sleep Problems

Pregnancy

Pregnancies also have the ability to alter the sleep-wake cycles. Many women in their first trimesters of pregnancies will usually develop some fatigue that eventually weighs them down.

Some also find it somewhat uncomfortable to sleep owing to the sheer sizes of their abdomens.

It is not uncommon for pregnant women to be anxious and overly excited too! Both of these have the impacts of interrupting their sleep patterns.

Symptoms of Sleep Disorders

Having examined the forms and causes of sleep disorders, we now want to look into the symptoms of this condition.

Simply put: How can you know that you have sleep disorders? Well, a variety of signs and symptoms are to explain this. We list and explain them hereunder:

Daytime Sleepiness

If you find yourself wanting to sleep during the day, that could be a sign that you have a sleep disorder problem. This sleepiness may usually arise at a time when you least want it to. For instance, it could be while you are driving or going about your daily chores or businesses.

Difficulty in Falling Asleep

When you get to the bed and you find it pretty hard to fall asleep, this again is a sign that you have a sleep disorder. Ideally you ought to fall asleep as soon as you hit the bed or after a few minutes thereafter.

The same issue is vouched for by being absent-minded or hallucinating.

Interrupted Sleep Patterns

Do you experience irregular or interrupted sleep patterns? Yet again, it could be that you have some sleep disorders.

In most cases, the irregularity is brought about by the fact that you sleep and wake up at varying times rather than a fixed and predictable duration of time.

Daytime Fatigue

Many people who have this problem also tend to be too tired during the day. This issue in most cases persists even if you happen to get sufficient sleep later on.

It is characterized by unexplained exhaustion and a feeling of grogginess most of the time. Sleeping for an extended duration of time may be used to remedy it.

Easy Irritability or Anxiety

A person who does not sleep for the set amounts of time will often always get easily irritated or too anxious for no cause.

This is due to the imbalance of the hormones that deal with moods that are alterable for a large part by the menace of not getting adequate sleep.

Lack of Focus or Concentration

The inability to focus or concentrate on a task for too long is also another pointer to this issue or menace. Poor sleeping habits interfere with the mental and physiological processes of your body and mental health patterns.

Adequate sleep also boosts the functioning of the brain and the degree of attentiveness thereof.

Disrupted Breathing Patterns

Other symptoms include breathing in an unusual pattern or feeling an uncomfortable urge to move while you are trying to fall asleep.

Snoring too loud or suffering some interruptions while in the course of breathing are some two of the common manifestations of this problem.

Unusual or Bothersome Movements

The menace does give rise to unusual or bothersome movements especially when you lie in the bed to start sleeping.

These could be persistent and regular changing of the sleep locations. Also, there is a risk of fidgeting excessively when on the bed without a proper cause or reason to do so.

Depression

If the problem persists for too long, the end result might be depression. In this sense the mind gets overwhelmed with tons of worries or stray thoughts.

These thoughts are deadly and may also weigh you down considerably if not tackled or reversed before the same get out of hand.

PS: Kindly note that the symptoms above can vary significantly depending mainly on the kind of sleeping disorder we are talking about here.

The underlying health problems also have a role to play insofar as the intensities of these sleep patterns are concerned. Simply put: the symptoms above are likely to vary considerably from person to person or from time to time.

Sleep Disorders in Children

Children are particularly hardest hit with this menace.

This is due to their somewhat unique stature. In light of this, they usually suffer some disorders or consequences that are far detached or completely different from the ones that the adults do.

Sleep Disorders - Sleep Problems

Below are some of the disorders that are unique to children alone:

Arousal Disorders

Arousal disorders are among small children.

It is a mixture of light sleep and partial wakefulness. The disorder tends to confuse the child and the guardian alike.

At such times, the child appears to wake and sleep interchangeably. That notwithstanding, the child recalls almost nothing after waking up.

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)

In this sense, the throat tends to relax and reduce the size of the airway in doing so.

It disrupts sleep patterns and impairs daytime activities as well. This menace also interferes with the overall focus and attention of the affected persons too!

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Though not really limited to the small children, this problem has a disproportional impact on the smaller kids at the expense of the grown-up counterparts.

The soft tissues in the throat relax and bock the upper airways enough to forestall the breathing exercise. That deprives the body of the required levels of oxygen needed to survive.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

This also is a range of sleep-related respiratory conditions.

It is characterized by a complete lack of breathing while asleep. In this sense, the body does not give the necessary cue to breathe in and breathe out as need be. It is thought of as an instability of the breathing control system.

Nighttime Sleep Behaviors

Technically called Parasomnias, this is a disorder that entails the emergence of abnormal behaviors during sleep. These include sleepwalking/talking, sleep terrors, confusional arousals, rapid eye movements, sleep paralysis, nightmares, and so on.

They may interfere with the growth and development of the child concerned. This requires some in-depth and timely intervention to mitigate and reverse.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

We now examine some of the questions that are consistently asked with regard to the subject matter of sleep disorders.

This is to give a more balanced view of the issue and also introduce us to all the sides of the argument. How else can we possibly get to have a balanced view of the problem?

Can sleep disorders be cured?

YES, they can be cured. Two interventions stand out. These include sleep therapy and appropriate medication. It is better to speak to your doctor before enrolling in any scheme as the consequences may often be too adverse to endure and bear.

What disease prevents sleep?

Several diseases have been noted to prevent sleep or at least interfere with the same in some shape or form. Fatal familial insomnia (FFI) stands out. It is a rare genetic degenerative brain disorder. The disease induces an inability to sleep soundly or deeply when you lie in the bed.

How do you test for insomnia?

At present, there is no definitive test for insomnia. Nonetheless, shrewd doctors may make use of a range of tools to diagnose and measure the symptoms that come along. Also, the doctor concerned may ask some relevant questions and have you fill out some questionnaires too!

Can you die from not sleeping?

YES! Prolonged sleep deprivation is actually fatal. It diminishes your overall lifespan not to mention slowing down the proper functioning of the various bodily organs. It is important hence that you sleep enough per day. Also of importance is the fact that you should maintain a regular and consistent sleep regime.

Can a lack of sleep kill brain cells?

NOT really! Nonetheless, the brain cells work well when they are well-rested. It is important hence that you take sufficient sleep per day. Remember also that prolonged lack of adequate sleep may impact the growth of the various bodily organs as stated. You do not want to interfere with the brain cells, do you?

Conclusion on Sleep Disorders

Our long and elaborate look into the subject matter of sleep disorders come to an end there.

It is not our hope that you have what it takes to appreciate this subject matter more. As you may note, this issue manifests in various shades and forms.

Taking your time to learn how each may apply to you is hence a good thing to do, as well as improving your sleeping environment to minimise problems with sleep.

You want to find out the exact disorder that may apply to your situation and how best to deal with the same.

Consider passing it on to another person who might be in need of it. Good luck as you combat your sleep issues.

The forms of sleep disorder are plenty, but when it happens, it shows that we need to pay serious attention to some or plenty aspects of our life. Examining how one spends its day and their habits, along with professional help can point to the right way and get rid or minimize of the problems.

Useful References for Sleep Disorders

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