Sleep is the most vital thing we humans need to live a long and healthy life. But several conditions can affect our ability to sleep well at night regularly, known as sleep disorders.
It is normal to experience some sleep issues occasionally, but if you’re experiencing problems that are causing you to:
- Experience regular difficulty in sleeping.
- Feel tired during the day even after sleeping for at least seven hours.
- Have a poor or impaired ability to perform daily activities.
Then you may be suffering from any of the prevalent sleep disorders.
People with sleep issues often experience difficulties with their overall sleeping health, including sleep quality, timing, and quantity. It leads to stress and impaired functioning.
An individual with a sleep disorder may have difficulty falling asleep and feel extremely tired all day long. In addition to affecting energy levels, mood, and concentration, lack of sleep can also negatively impact the body’s general health.
Also, they can make it hard for you to perform simple tasks by affecting your relationships and performance at work.
It is vital to diagnose and treat a sleep disorder as soon as possible. When they are not treated, such disorders may have more detrimental effects on health.
And this is precisely why it is important to know about sleeping health and its connection to our mental well-being. This blog will shed light on the prevalent sleep disorders, and suggest ways to create a lifestyle with healthy sleep hygiene.
Sleep & Mental Health
Experts recommend that adults get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night. But what happens when a person doesn’t get sufficient sleep?
If you do not get enough or good quality sleep, you will not only feel tired but will face emotional and mental health challenges. People of all ages can suffer learning disabilities, memory impairment, personality changes, and depression due to sleeplessness.
Sleep-deprived people have difficulty making decisions, are irritable, have problems performing, and have slower reaction times, making them more susceptible to automobile and occupational accidents.
In addition to contributing to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, sleep loss also negatively impacts the quality of life.
Also Read: Mental Health in the U.S.
Types Of Sleeping Disorders
There are a number of sleep disorders, and most of them are caused by other underlying health conditions. These innumerable sleeping disorders can be divided into four categories:
- Troubles falling asleep and staying asleep.
- Problems in staying awake.
- Hindrance keeping a regular sleep-wake schedule.
- Unusual behaviors during sleep.
As a result, sleep disorders can negatively impact physical and psychological health. Here are seven sleep disorders you should know about:
Insomnia is amongst the most commonly known sleep disorders. People experiencing it have difficulty falling or staying asleep. An individual with Insomnia has one or more of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep.
- Tending to wake up often during the night and have trouble going back to sleep.
- Waking up too early in the morning.
- Experiencing unrefreshing sleep.
- Facing at least one daytime problem: fatigue, mood swings, sleepiness, lack of concentration, or accidents at work or while driving.
Insomnia varies in duration and frequency depending on how long it lasts. There are two kinds of insomnia-Short-term or acute and long-term or chronic.
Acute Insomnia can be triggered due to life stresses (for example: losing a job or death of a loved one), an illness, or environmental factors such as noise or extreme temperatures.
Chronic Insomnia occurs at least three nights a week in three months or longer. And this condition is caused by other mental health concerns like depression, chronic stress, and pain or discomfort experienced during the night.
A general cause of chronic Insomnia is a conditioned emotional response; thoughts about sleep issues and behaviors tend to prolong the symptoms.
You can read more about the treatment of Insomnia here.
Sleep apnea is potentially one of the most severe sleeping conditions out of the seven sleep disorders we are talking about.
It occurs when a person’s breathing stops during sleep. Individuals without the treatment have repeated interrupted breathing during their sleep.
There are two kinds of Sleep Apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
It is the more common one out of the two. OSA happens when an airway obstruction is caused by the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapsing during sleep.
People suffering from OSA may snore, feel tired during the day, be restless during sleep, gasp for air, feel drowsy during the day, and have difficulty concentrating.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
It is called central sleep apnea because its caused by the functioning of the central nervous system.
The airway is not blocked here, but the brain fails to signal the body to breathe. In cases of CSA, people awaken recurrently during the night, gasping for air.
Restless Leg Syndrome
In restless legs syndrome (RLS), people feel a strong urge to move their legs constantly during sleep. A resting position such as lying in bed or sitting for prolonged periods, such as driving or watching a movie, causes this sensation.
Restless Leg Syndrome usually occurs in the evening, making it difficult to fall or stay asleep.
This sleep disorder can result in sleepiness, irritability, and poor concentration during the day. RLS sufferers often want to shake their legs to relieve the discomfort.
Periodic Limb Movements Of Sleep (PLMS)
PLMS causes sudden, repetitive movements of the arms or legs while sleeping. Typically, they occur at intervals of between 20 and 40 seconds and can last for several hours. Most people with PLMS do not know they have it until their sleeping partner tells them.
It is often associated with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), but what sets them apart is that RLS happens when you’re resting or trying to fall asleep. However, PLMS specifically happens when you’re sleeping.
Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep’s cause is still unknown, but researchers believe it involves the nervous system. In some cases, PLMS occurs as a result of Sleep Apnea.
Parasomnias are sleep disorders illustrated by abnormal sleep behaviors or physiological events during specific sleep stages. Its common forms include:
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Behavior Disorder
The REM sleep cycle is characterized by intense brain activity – and the inability to use our muscles except for the diaphragm (which allows us to breathe).
The activity of sleepwalking involves moving purposefully during a sleep-like state.
Someone experiencing a night terror may scream, cry, moan, elevate their heart rate, pant, and exhibit other signs of fear.
A Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (SRED) refers to involuntarily eating during sleep. Such people don’t remember the eating fiasco the next morning.
Sleep sex, also known as sexsomnia, is a complex, atypical, and underreported parasomnia. It is characterized by sexual behavior during sleep.
Also Read: 5 Healthy Foods You Can Eat During Night
Imagine waking up from your slumber, and you’re unable to move. As you can imagine, sleep paralysis is one of the most terrifying prevalent sleep disorders.
It occurs when you’re unable to move or speak while waking up, or vice versa. One may feel getting touched, heard, smelled, or seeing things or people that are not real for a few minutes.
Some individuals experience hallucinations as well, which can be frightening for anyone. For instance, imagining that a stranger is standing over them and trying to harm them.
It sometimes has an unidentifiable cause. Nevertheless, it can often be a symptom of narcolepsy, mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, sleep deprivation, or a medication’s side effect.
It is a neurological disorder of sleep regulation affecting sleep and wakefulness control. In narcolepsy, people experience excessive sleepiness during the day. They also go through uncontrollable episodes where they fall into a deep slumber.
A sudden sleep attack may occur during any activity and at any time of the day. Narcoleptic patients may experience sudden muscle weakness when they laugh or feel emotions.
Some Tips For A Good Night’s Sleep
The treatment for sleep issues usually comprises of medication and lifestyle changes. It is best advised you seek a consultation from a professional for medicines.
Some lifestyle changes that you can incorporate in your life for wholesome sleep hygiene are:
- Decreasing tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine intake, especially during the afternoon and evening.
- Creating a regular sleep schedule and sticking to it.
- Reducing stress and anxiety by regular exercise and stretching.
- Limiting drinking water before bedtime.
- Eating smaller meals that are low on carbohydrates before bedtime.
You may be tempted to sleep in on the weekends, but this might make it more challenging to wake up and sleep during the week. You can also improve sleep quality by going to bed and waking up simultaneously every day.
If you are experiencing any one of the seven sleep disorders, you should consult with a doctor and a psychologist to get yourself treated.
It is crucial for you to have quality sleeping health to enjoy an overall fulfilling life.