Sleep Disorders: A Matter Of Great Distress

Sleep disorder is the disruption in the normal sleeping patterns of human beings or animals. This is quite a common problem faced by almost everyone at some point in time. Temporary disturbances in sleeping might be a result of stress, depression or some other factors. Regular recurrence may develop serious health consequences and disrupt the normal functioning of the body system. Sleep disorders may lead to distress, anxiety and other physical and mental problems.

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Some common sleep disorders

Insomnia

This is the most common sleep disorder which is the inability to fall asleep at night or get back to sleep after waking up at night. This results in restlessness and lack of energy in the person. Insomnia may occur due to excess stress, workload, depression or other health related issues.

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Sleep apnea

This is a serious disorder which stops breathing during sleep. In sleep apnea, breathing is interrupted a number of times during the entire sleeping period which may last for 10-20 seconds. It results in slow reflexes, sleepiness, lack of concentration, and increased threat of accidents. Over time, it may also lead to some serious physical ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, etc.

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Sleep Bruxism

It is a disorder characterized by excessive and forceful teeth grinding or jaw clenching while sleeping. It leads to tooth wear, tooth fractures, hypersensitive teeth, and headache.

Restless legs syndrome

It is characterized by an itching, prickly or some other uncomfortable sensations in the legs which lead to an irresistible urge to the movement of legs and body while sleeping. It leads to disgust and annoyance which may be a result of the disruption in sleep due to the discomfort and uneasiness.

Narcolepsy

It is the symptom of excessive sleepiness during daytime or at odd times of the day. It leads to sudden “sleep attacks” which may make a person fall asleep while in the middle of working, talking or driving. It is caused by the dysfunction of the brain mechanisms that controls the cycle of sleeping and waking up.

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Sleepwalking

It is a form of sleep disorder in which a sleepwalker arises from the sleep phase while being half asleep. He remains in a state of low consciousness and performs certain activities that are performed in a state of full consciousness. These activities may be harmless such as walking to the bathroom, sitting up in a chair, or even at times self-harming such as violent gestures or homicide. It may last for 30 seconds or even as much as 30 minutes. Sleepwalkers do not recall any memory of the incidents.

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Sleep paralysis

It is characterized by the inability to move the body when falling asleep or waking up. It occurs at the transition state of wakefulness and sleep due to muscle weakness. It may be associated with frightening visions to which the person may not be able to react due to paralysis.

Sleeping disorder treatments

Since there are various types of sleep disorders each characterized by some specific symptoms, it is not possible to diagnose all the patients with sleep disorders with the same approach. Each disorder requires a specific set of diagnostics. Treatment of sleep disorders may be grouped into four categories:

  • Behavioral and psychotherapeutic treatment: It aims at studying the behavioral pattern in the sleep disorders and taking steps accordingly.
  • Management and rehabilitation: It aims at bringing up a proper and systematic sleep management techniques that may lower the chances of sleeplessness.
  • Medication: It is the most effective and rapid way of obtaining relief from sleep disturbances. Some disorders are best treated with the help of prescribed drugs.
  • Somatic treatments: This is also an effective technique of providing sufficient sleeping conditions.

Some self-help treatment options

Although acute sleeping disorders may require consultation with a medical practitioner, some of the disorders, especially in the initial states can be cured by us. All we need to do is follow some home remedies, change in habits and lifestyle modifications.

  • Sleep diary: Maintaining a sleep diary is very essential to identify the specific disorder and sleeping problems associated with it. The diary should include a regular record of sleeping duration as well as its quality, time of going to bed and waking up, types and quantities of food or alcohol consumed before going to bed, the duration that was spent being awake in bed,
  • Maintaining proper sleeping habits: It is important to maintain a proper sleep schedule for going to bed as well as waking up at the same time every day.
Must Read- 10 Tips to Get Relief from Sleepless Nights
  • The arrangement of proper bedroom: Having a proper bedroom and a proper sleeping ambiance is as important. It is advised to sleep in a dark and quiet room with heavy curtains that may block any light coming into the eyes. Eye covers may also be used. The room should also be free from any unwanted noise from outside.
  • Quit smoking and drinking: Excessive smoking and drinking may result in sleeping disorders. It is necessary to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.
  • Avoid sedatives and sleeping pills: Excess and regular consumption of sleeping pills or sedatives may lead to sleep disorders. Hence, it is advised to avoid them when sleeping disorders become acute, or it may aggravate the problems.

By following the simple tips, you can have a better sleep always. But if you feel that your sleep disorder is going out of control, then it is always advised to visit a doctor before it tells upon badly upon your health.

Read more- National sleep foundation

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