Everyone has had a sleepless night one time or an other. However, having constant sleepless nights is a serious issue. Sleep is an important part of our daily life as no one can survive without sleeping for days on end.
Most common sleeping disorders result in sleep deprivation which can affect the mind and sanity of a person. Sometimes, sleep disorders aren’t very obvious, however, these are some questions that can help identify them:
- Do you constantly struggle or have trouble staying in bed?
- When you wake in the middle of the night, are you able to return to sleep easily?
- Do you wake in the morning feeling tired like you have never slept at all?
- Have you been told you display strange behaviors while asleep?
- Do all these occur nearly every day?
If any of these happens to you, you might be suffering from a sleep disorder. Below are 7 common sleep disorders you should know about.
1. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs when there is a disturbance in breathing. Whenever you realize you are having an issue with breathing while you are sleeping, just know it could be sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is the common reason while some people snore in bed. It can cause you to have a sore throat and lack of energy during the day.
Obstructive sleep apnea affects roughly 20 million Americans as it is the second most prevalent sleep disorder there. Obstructive sleep apnea is when breathing stops for some time (seconds) at night when the upper respiratory system is blocked.
When a person with obstructive sleep apnea sleeps, the soft tissues present in the throat are relaxed and then collapse into the airway. It then blocks oxygen access to the lungs.
Sometimes, this blockage could result in snoring, with a full blockage resulting in breathing cessation which is then followed by a gasping sound heard when breathing starts again.
During breathing cessation, the brain responds by awakening from sleep in order to enhance a forced respiratory effort. The individual then breathes harder and gets over the blockage. However, if such apnea occurs several times in one hour, the quality of sleep is forfeited.
This makes a person feel tired during the day. The respiratory effort at night puts a strain on the heart which can result in different cardiological problems like heart failure and heart arrhythmia.
Sleep apnea can be combated by using assistive devices like a good CPAP machine. However, you should see a doctor first.
Insomnia occurs when a person cannot sleep at night.
It is the most common sleep disorder. People who suffer from insomnia have symptoms like difficulty in falling asleep, waking different times during the night and trouble getting back to sleep. You may wake up too early in the morning with the feeling of considerable tiredness.
However, there are different causes of insomnia which could be due to emotional or physical stress, sickness and other environmental factors like sound, noise, and light.
Insomnia could give you the feeling that sleep does not refresh you and then you have an excessive daytime sleep.
It can affect your concentration, mood, and behavior. It can even make a person become aggressive with impulsive behaviors.
Insomnia can also affect your memory and you forget things easily. It can affect a student’s performance at school and even the job performance of workers. Insomnia will generally decrease the quality of life and as such, an individual may feel depressed.
To combat insomnia, you can try sleeping on a more comfortable mattress, turning off the lights before bedtime and avoiding stimulants in the evenings. This could help you fall asleep faster, help you get more deep sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed.
3. Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by a persistent need for one to move one’s legs and sometimes, other body parts while resting or sleeping. You may feel strong sensations in the legs which are often described as aching, creeping, pulling, throbbing, itching, and burning. The only satisfying relief is by temporarily moving or massaging the legs.
Restless leg syndrome with the constant need to move the legs can results in a severe impact on sleep quality as you are unable to maintain sleep. The most commonly reported side effect of RLS is sleep loss. Such an individual suffers from symptoms of sleep deprivation which includes low quality of life, excessive daytime sleepiness, impaired memory and cognitive functions.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by the inability of the brain to control the sleep-wakefulness cycle. If you are suffering from narcolepsy, you may experience chronic daytime sleepiness and episodes of always wanting to sleep. You get sleep attacks unexpectedly during the day and may even sleep during any activity. Sleep attacks are not only limited to periods of boring, dull or low engagement activities but can occur during working hours, while having a conversation, eating, exercising or even playing sports. Thus, it is very dangerous while driving.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) is the most common symptom seen in narcolepsy. It is common in the young of 10-20 years old. EDS is characterized by a sleep attack bout with severe persistence and involuntary sleep episodes without warning. It can last for several seconds to minutes.
5. Sleep Paralysis
Sleep Paralysis occurs when you are unable to move or speak as you are just falling asleep or beginning to wake up. During sleep paralysis, an individual knows what is going on in their environment but cannot move mainly because the brain is still in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep. During REM sleep, the voluntary muscles are paralyzed and inactive to keep you from being able to act out your dreams. Sleep paralysis usually lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes with no permanent effects.
People suffering from narcolepsy can experience hallucinations when they are just waking from sleep or during the onset of sleep. Hallucinations are often very frightening and vivid.
7. Talking in Your Sleep
Sleep talking is also called somniloquy. It can be seen more as a funny sleeping disorder than a serious one as it can cause your partner or spouse to say a long-time secret in their sleep. It is, however, a sleep disorder and you should see your doctor if you have it often.
Photos are pixabay creative commons
Guest Author Bio
Dr. Charles-Davies OA (MBBS) is a licensed medical doctor, who graduated from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos with a degree in Medicine and Surgery. He’s worked in different private and government-owned hospitals in the tropics. He also likes to create and share relevant health content to help people make the right health choices.