Common Sleep Disorders
There are a surprising number of sleep disorders, and millions of people suffer from them right now. Many more don’t realize they have a sleep disorder and lose hundreds of hours of sleep a year.
Sleep disorders are a serious problem. What can we do to combat this? Well, learn about the different sleep disorders – because the more you know, the more you’ll be able to do about it.
Some consider this the most common sleep disorder. Still, others disagree – however, there’s no question that it’s incredibly prevalent in today’s society, and many people don’t even realize that what they’re suffering from has a name.
Insomnia is when you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Some people who suffer describe it as an issue with turning off their minds. They can’t stop thinking about things, and because of that, they don’t get enough sleep.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Creepy… crawly… pins and needles up your legs, like a million little bugs crawling from your toes to your hips. It’s hard to fight the urge to move your legs most of the time, and it can keep you up at night.
Sound familiar? It’s Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS, and many people have it – many shakes it off as something that everyone feels, but it is one of the many common sleep disorders plaguing millions of people.
Ever feel excessively tired, especially in the daytime? Even if you feel like you’ve slept all night, you can’t help but feel tired during the day. Are naps nearly impossible to stave off, and are your nights feeling like you can only get a few hours in before you fall back asleep?
That might not just be ‘laziness,’ as some might insinuate – it might be narcolepsy. Other symptoms are loss of muscle function, sleep paralysis and vivid hallucinations that feel almost dream-like.
Usually in the deep stages of sleep, and not when you first lay down, sleepwalking is a surprisingly common thing that happens to many people each night. Sometimes there are isolated incidents, but more likely, if it’s happened once, it will happen again.
Most of the time, simple things happen – getting up to leave the room, walking into the living room, and even pacing can all happen while you’re sleeping. However, more severe things can occur – people have been known to rearrange furniture, drive a car, cook a meal, and more.
It’s a bit scary, dangerous, and may – at the extreme – cost you your life.
Common sleep disorders can be very, very scary at worst and uncomfortable happening at best. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your sleep disorder isn’t serious because even having a minor case of something can ruin your well-being.
The Serious Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Most people brush them off when someone warns them about sleep deprivation… their missing a few hours, maybe a night or two, of sleep isn’t serious… right? There’s nothing that is going to hurt you about that…
Well, that’s not true. Sleep deprivation has less and more severe effects on your body and mind. It can be something smaller or something bigger – like hallucinations and, yes, even death.
Being deprived of sleep drastically decreases the body’s ability to metabolize glucose. This commonly leads to early-stage type-2 diabetes.
Scary? It should be because diabetes is a massive problem in the US and worldwide.
Lack of Productivity
Most people think they’re doing themselves a favor when they lose a few extra hours. They’re getting more work in, maybe, or more school, but that’s not true. Sleep deprivation’s most common symptom is the lack of productivity. ‘Spacing out, not being able to concentrate, not working as fast… it’s all because of your deprivation.
This isn’t something many people experience; however, it is associated with sleep deprivation. It’s the feeling of being detached from your situation. It’s almost as if you’re an ‘outsider’ with a different perspective than anyone else. Nothing feels real, and it’s almost like you’re living inside a dream you can’t wake up from.
That shadow… was that a person? Did you hear that noise? What did the radio host say? Who was that woman? Sound familiar? Well, maybe not – but sleep deprivation can, without a doubt, cause hallucinations, even if you’re the picture of mental health otherwise. It’s both auditory and visual hallucinations, and there’s little you can do to stop it other than get some rest.
Other effects of sleep deprivation are…
- Blurred vision
- Weight gain or loss
- Weakened immune system
- Impaired speech
- Memory loss
Sleep deprivation is a serious thing – getting the needed amount of sleep every night is essential. You’re not doing yourself a favor, and if you have a disorder preventing you from sleeping, you need to do something about it. Although it’s one of the most common sleep disorders, sleep deprivation can be debilitating in the long run.
The Link Between Anxiety and Insomnia
Sleep is an activity that takes up almost one-third of our time on earth. We all need sleep, and many people struggle to get it. Sleep may be affected by anxiety, depression, prescription drugs, medical conditions, or the use of substances such as caffeine or nicotine. It can also be affected by the loss of a job or a loved one or any other factor causing stress.
Anxiety and insomnia are closely related to each other. Insomnia is an oft-repeated phrase that means the inability to sleep for an extended time when one wants to do so. There are so many different causes of insomnia it often requires a ‘shotgun’ approach to treat many possible symptoms to ensure you get the one causing the problem.
Insomnia may be divided into three stages: early, middle and late. Early insomnia is the most famous because it is the image we are most familiar with. It happens when we try to fall asleep but can’t and toss and turn in our beds instead. Middle insomnia is characterized by frequent waking up throughout the night. Late insomnia is when we constantly wake up earlier than we want. For instance, we end up waking up at 5 a.m. when we intend to wake up at 7 a.m.
Early insomnia is often caused by worrying or contemplating a subject that bothers us. The specific causes differ from person to person. You could be worried about your taxes, a family dispute, politics, or even your pet gerbil! Regardless of the reason, the anxiety leading to insomnia is often contemplative. We keep returning to a topic that bothers us and thinks about it repeatedly. It doesn’t matter if we can’t resolve the issue; we tend to dwell on it constantly. Instead of ignoring the subject which causes us so much stress, we tend to think about it even more. This proves the close association between anxiety and insomnia.
In the case of middle or late insomnia, it’s typical to be bothered by that nagging thought as soon as we wake up. This naturally leads to an increase in our level of stress. Sometimes, a physiological response, like an increased heart rate (as a result of anxiety), adds to our restlessness. As a result, we become fully awake.
Suppose you continue to suffer from either early, middle or late insomnia for an extended period, and you can’t find an apparent or identifiable cause. In that case, you might suffer from an underlying depression or anxiety syndrome. If you think this might be possible, then it would be a good idea to consult your doctor. Thus the relationship between anxiety and insomnia is clear.
Check out the rest of the site for ways to treat or deal with insomnia without relying on medication.
The Destructive Power of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Have you had issues staying asleep lately? Wake up feeling like you’re out of breath or can’t get enough air into your lungs? What you’re feeling isn’t going crazy – it’s called obstructive sleep apnea, and it’s common. You’re not alone. Over 12 million people in the United States suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, and many don’t even know that there is a word for it – they realize they have specific symptoms.
What Obstructive Sleep Apnea Is
There isn’t anything that keeps your airways open at the base of your tongue. No bone, no cartilage, nothing at all – nothing, that is, but the muscles that line that area. When we sleep, our muscles relax. What happens to most of us is that our muscles will stay tense enough in our airways to keep the air going in and out of our lungs. This is just how we’re made.
For some suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles loosen up far too much on their own. When this happens, your muscles collapse on your airway, blocking airflow to your lungs. This can go on for a long time and happen hundreds – literally hundreds – of times in just one night. You can be without air for a minute or even longer.
When your body finally realizes it’s not getting the air it needs, it jolts your mind (And your body) awake. Your muscles tighten, and they again hold your airways open. While this doesn’t seem that important, it can seriously affect your sleep. Without sleeping for long periods, your body can’t enter its deepest stage. This is the same stage of sleep that makes you feel truly rested.
Without that sleep, you’ll notice a lack of productivity, a general feeling of ‘icky-ness’, and even a decreased immune system. It’s all because your body isn’t getting enough sleep.
Am I At Risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
No one knows precisely why obstructive sleep apnea happens, but we can tell who it affects, and sometimes, even why.
Being overweight can increase your chances of developing obstructive sleep apnea because fat can accumulate on the sides of your airways. When your muscles relax, it takes less for the area to collapse entirely.
Sleep medication, drinking, smoking, family history, and even muscle relaxants can all increase your risk of experiencing obstructive sleep apnea. It can happen three to four times a night or even more.
Some people don’t even notice that they’re experiencing obstructive sleep apnea, however frightening that may sound. But the lack of sleep can hurt your life – knowing that you have obstructive sleep apnea is the first step to improving your well-being.