Sleep Disorders, Insomnia, Sleep Apnea: Symptoms, Treatment, and Help
A sleep disorder, medically known as somnipathy, is a condition wherein the person suffers from sleep irregularity. The pattern of sleep is disturbed to an extent that the victim finds it very difficult to fall asleep for months. Some sleep disorders are so serious that interfere with person’s physique, mental state and emotional functioning. There is a special test called as polysomnography conducted on victims so as to know the intensity and degree of sleeplessness as sleeping disorder.
Sleep disruptions may occur due to several reasons right from bruxism (teeth grinding) to nightmares. When someone typically suffers from sleeplessness with no obvious reason, it is called as insomnia. Furthermore, sleep disorders may also reversely affect the person and make him or her to sleep excessively. The condition here is known as hypersomnia.
Literally, the sleep disorders are just more than sleep problems. A lack of proper and flawless sleep has negative effects on the person’s health and mental state. Also, the energy level, emotional response, productivity and mental state are badly influenced in person with sleeplessness.
What are sleep disorders? Sleeping problems in an individual
As stated by the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, just some percent less than half million Americans face problems in falling asleep due to one or the other reason. In addition, another 20-30 million report occasional sleep disorders. The enigmatic part of sleep disorders is they do not typically harm or target the body system or organ but then they have indirect effects on person’s mood, efficacy, and capability to tackle the stress and make decision. Furthermore, ignoring sleep disorders may further lead to depression and in severe cases even suicidal tendency.
Sleep disorders features may also lead to poorer health, low immunity, accidents, reduced performance and endurance, tiredness, peevishness, fatigue and giddiness. For a smooth functioning of body organs and systems, proper undisturbed sleep is very much necessary.
Things that decide you have sleep disorders –questionnaire about sleep disorders
Here are few questions that you can ask to decide whether you have sleep disorders? They include…
- Do you feel irritable and sleepy during the day?
- Do you have difficulty in concentrating on your tasks?
- Do you react sluggishly?
- Do you wake up at nights without any reason?
- Do you find it difficult to fall asleep? Do you need to spend more than half an hour on bed to get sleep?
- Do you feel dull and tired during the day?
- Do you have feeling of lack of sleep though you have slept recently?
- Do you, at times, feel suffocated, anxious and depressed?
If you answered ‘yes’ for any of these, you might check with your health care provider to rule out sleeping disorders.
Insomnia introduction –signs and symptoms of insomnia
Insomnia is a medical jargon applied to sleeplessness or incapability to fall asleep during nights without any disturbance. It’s too common sleep problem seen in almost everyone living in urban area with hectic office schedule. Plenty of factors such as jet lag, health ailment, stress, hormone changes, and side effects of medicines etc. play role in causing the condition of insomnia.
Insomnia signs and symptoms include…
- Difficulties in getting sleep at night and even if the person falls asleep, it is not constant. There is a disturbance in sleep. The person wakes up several times without any reason.
- The sleep pattern is light, tiring and fragmented.
- The victim requires some additional supplement to bring the sleep in. Sleeping pills, nightcap or natural sedative supplements are common.
- The person feels tired, lethargic and sleepy during the day due to lack of sleep at night.
Other common sleep disorders –miscellaneous sleep disorders
There are other common sleep disorders mentioned below as observed in people –
In the condition of sleep apnea, the person stops breathing temporarily during the sleep for a very short period. This happens due to some blockage at the windpipe. Since the blockage interrupts the respiration, many wake up feeling suffocated. Nevertheless, not all sleep apnea cases feature ‘waking up’ as others feel irritable and depressed during the day. Also, there is marked fall in productivity and the sufferer feels exhausted.
Though minor sleep apnea is not a problem, at times it may require medical attention if the person stops breathing for quite a big period. As happens in severe sleep apnea condition, the person may go into the state of coma if not taken proper care of. The health care provider or medical practitioner may suggest cPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), which is a life saving device with mask supplying the stream of air when the person is sleeping. Some suggest that losing body weight, keeping the head elevated (as on the pillow) or sleeping on side of the body may help reliving this condition.
The sleep apnea symptoms –features of sleep apnea
- Snoring (loud and harsh)
- Frequent respiratory pauses during sleep
- Choking, snorting or gasping during the sleep
- Grunting during the sleep at times
- Feeling tiring even after last night sleep
- Dyspnea, chest congestion, nasal congestion, sore/dry throat
- Irritability, peevishness, fatigue and anxiety
Restless Legs Syndrome
The RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome) is another sleep disorder wherein the victim moves the legs or arms restlessly. There is an irresistible urge of doing this while resting or lying down. The treatment involves mental counseling and certain aromatic oil application onto the local site for soothing effects.
Another sleeping disorder in this list is a condition called narcolepsy. It is a disorder that involves irresistible and excess daytime sleeping. It is believed to be caused by some dysfunction of the brain wherein the brain mechanism of controlling the sleep malfunctions. It happens to the extent that person may feel sleepy while driving, riding, walking or even talking. Feeling drowsy all time is commonest feature of narcolepsy. The treatment for this sleep disorder includes mental counseling, some warm up exercises and involvement in interesting stuff.
Circadian Rhythm Sleeping Disorder
All living organisms have their biological clock that regulates the sleeping and awakening phases. It is believed that the light is primary regulator of circadian rhythm; said this when the sun is up in the sky, the brain sends signals to the body to wake up. Likewise, during the dusk and dark, it sends the signals of falling sleep. Also, the brain triggers the release of melatonin, the hormone that brings the sleep.
The person feels groggy, confused and sleepy when actually ruled by circadian rhythm sleeping disorders. Abnormal circadian rhythms also found to have an association with depression, winter blues, bipolar disorder and seasonal problems.
When the person travels across the time zones, there is a temporary disruption of biological clock what we know as circadian rhythm. This is called as the jet lag that features fatigue, headaches, stomachache, abdominal cramps, giddiness, sleepiness or insomnia and daytime draggy feeling. Jet lag symptoms typically appear after a couple of days after the travel through the different time zones. The longer the flight-travel, the more severe are the symptoms. The biological clock automatically adjusts to the rhythm once settled at the new place. Nevertheless, in some cases, symptomatic treatment is given.
Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder
In this condition of sleep disorder, the sleep cycle is disturbed up to an extent that the victim does not feel sleepy till early morning (3 to 4 am) and then sleeps until noon. The cycle of sleep and wakefulness is highly disturbed that the person finds it difficult to cope up with time of having breakfast, lunch and also to go to office. The treatment for this involves safe sedatives and holistic exercises such as yoga, pranayama and meditation.
Remedies for sleep disorders –sleep disorders’ treatment
The remedies, cures or treatments of sleep disorders depend upon the causes and capacity of the individual. Keeping the sleep diary that keeps the records of your sleeping hours may help investigating the actual problem. You can consult your health care provider in regard to this. Biofeedback plays crucial role in understanding the problem and planning the treatment thereafter.
In some cases, external supplements, medicines or therapies are required to get rid of sleeping disorders. While some prefer taking mild to moderate sedatives, others prefer going for some natural remedies for sleeping disorders or herbal remedies for sleeping disorders.
Let us finally learn few important tips to get rid of sleeping disorders:-
- Keep a regular sleep schedule. Maintain the time of sleeping and getting up so that the biological clock would understand following the same.
- Keep the gap between the last meal and the time you hit the sack. Lesser the gap, more are the chances of waking up in the night due to severe acid secretion.
- Make sure that you have good and sleepy ambience in the bedroom. Keep it dark, cool, calm and quiet.
- You can promote sleep by putting some soothing fragrance and very dim light if you want.
- Stop watching late night shows on television. Also, listening to fast track music may cause sleeping disorders.
- Try some herbs that have natural sedative effects.
- Do not drink stimulating beverages such as coffee or tea in the night.
- Stop smoking and alcohol.
- Massaging helps. Head massage or whole body massage preferably with aromatic or natural sedative herbs may help treating sleeping disorders.
Holistic exercises such as yoga, pranayama and meditation have beneficial effects in sleeping disorders.