Types of Sleep Disorders
Different types of sleep disorders keep people awake and prevent proper sleep. Sleep disorders range from the common, self-correcting issues to physical and neurological disorders. Sleep disorders prevent people from resting properly whether it’s getting to sleep, staying asleep or cycling through the stages of sleep. Sleep is vital to the body’s ability to heal, to process information, to digest, to relax and to function. While a person can stay awake for days on end, they will begin to suffer the debilitating effects of sleep deprivation such as a breakdown in cognitive functions, weight gain and a weakened immune system. Sleep disorders are about more than missing one night of sleep here or there, sleep disorders indicate a persistent inability to rest.
Apnea Sleep Disorders
Apnea sleep disorders are related directly to respiratory issues. Hypopnea syndrome indicates very shallow or slow breathing while sleeping. The shallow breathing can sound like wheezing or mild gasping and reduces the level of oxygen saturation in the blood. The heart must pump harder to get enough oxygen. Obstructive sleep apnea is typically caused by a physical defect or weakness in the soft tissue of the throat. While sleeping, a person with OSA will periodically cease breathing due to the soft tissue collapsing and blocking the airway. They will experience an arousal to waking, gasping and choking for air. The arousal episodes occur several times during the night although the patient may only remember one in five of the waking episodes. Obstructive sleep apnea may be corrected by surgery. Central sleep apnea is caused by a neurological problem. The brain fails to send the right messages to the muscles controlling your breathing. Causes of central sleep apnea are related to neurological diseases, stroke, surgery and spinal damage. Primary snoring differs from the snoring associated with apnea disorders. Most people snore at one point or another. Physical causes of snoring include a deviated septum, hypertrophy of the adenoids, swollen tonsils, tongue enlargement and a small oropharynx. Colds and allergies also cause snoring. Snoring alone is not indicative of a sleep disorder, but snoring can keep other people awake.
Movement disorders interrupt sleep patterns and the ability of the body to achieve the different stages of sleep because physically they are moving or acting. The physical action may wake them up or prevent them from sleeping. The most well known movement sleep disorder is restless legs syndrome (RLS). RLS causes an irresistible urge to shift or move the legs. People who experience RLS complain of a creepy, crawly or pins and needles sensation. RLS patients often suffer from periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) which causes sudden jerking of the arms or legs while sleeping. Occasionally a person’s leg or arm will twitch as their muscles relax, but PLMD causes persistent and involuntary motions that can jerk them awake. Bruxism is the grinding or clenching of the teeth while a person is sleeping. The disorder can cause dental problems, headaches and general soreness of the jaw. Somnambulism is another movement disorder that is neurological in nature. Sleepwalking can cause a person to get up and engage in day to day activities without any knowledge of what they are doing. Sleepwalkers experience unexplained injuries and physical tiredness related to not resting properly. The last sleep movement disorder involves a lack of movement or sleep paralysis. The paralysis affects the physical body temporarily just before falling asleep or upon waking. A person with sleep paralysis usually experiences visual, tactile or auditory hallucinations and is usually suffering from narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a disorder where a person falls asleep suddenly and inexplicable, during normal waking hours.
Other Sleep Disorders
Other sleep disorders that affect people include rapid eye movement behavior disorder (RBD), delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), night terrors, parasomnia and situational circadian rhythm sleep disorder. RBD causes patients to act out their dramatic or violent dreams while sleeping. For example, a person dreaming about punching a monster in a bad dream may physically lash out with a first. Night terrors are different from nightmares in that they cause severe, abrupt arousal from sleep experience terror. A child who experiences night terrors may wake screaming and unable to accept comfort. Many patients who experience night terrors do not remember them upon waking, but do experience daytime sleepiness and stress associated with the physical terror response. Night terrors are considered a parasomnia as is sleep walking and talking during sleep. DSPS involves an abnormal circadian rhythm. The natural circadian rhythm involves waking in daylight hours and sleeping at night. A person with DSPS experiences difficulty sleeping at night and being awake during the day. A natural resource for DSPS patients is to work off hours in order to facilitate their career with their waking hours. Situational circadian rhythm sleep disorder is different in that it is experienced by individuals with a normal circadian rhythm who are impacted by external, environmental factors. A person working third shift regularly who struggles to stay awake when they want to sleep.
Identifying Sleep Disorders
If a person suspects they are suffering from a sleep disorder, it is important to bring the information to the attention of a physician. Everyone experiences an occasional sleepless night, but persistent daytime sleepiness, difficulty sleeping or snoring may indicate a sleep disorder.
The treatments for sleep disorders today can be generally grouped into three categories: behavioral or psychotherapeutic treatments, sleep medications or drugs and treatments that don’t fit into the other two categories. The excessive sleep disorder narcolepsy will cause most patients to have unexpected periods of sleep throughout the day for as little as a few minutes to as long as half an hour at times.
There are generally three types of sleep disorders: lack of enough sleep, sleep disturbance, and too much or excessive sleep. The person suffering from a sleep disorder may have difficulty getting to sleep at night or staying asleep as well as having difficulty staying awake through the day; they may also experience different types of behaviors that prevent them from staying asleep during their normal sleeping hours. One type of sleep disorder, lack of sleep, is also commonly known as insomnia and is what people usually have rather than a more complex sleeping disorder.
Sleep apnea can be life threatening; this problem is usually accompanied by heavy and loud snoring and causes the person to wake up sometimes hundreds of times during the night without remembering ever being awake. In the excessive sleep disorder type the most well-known is called narcolepsy. Finding that you need coffee, colas or other caffeine drinks throughout the day to stay alert or awake can also be a hint that sleep disorder treatments need to be investigated.
There are a number of sleep disorders that appear in different people and even those with similar sleep disorders often display different symptoms. Many people say they survive nicely on four or five hours of sleep; others say they need nine or even ten hours. The sleep disorder narcolepsy can have complications such as cataplexy and hypnagogic hallucinations; cataplexy is the weakness or complete paralysis of the muscles, and hypnagogic hallucinations are vivid dreams that happen during the stage of sleep between being awake and being asleep.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome is a sleep disorder of circadian rhythm, characterized by the inability to wake up and fall asleep at the desired times, but not by the inability to stay asleep. Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) is the involuntary movement of arms and/or legs during sleep. Narcolepsy is the sleep disorder of falling asleep spontaneously and unwillingly.
Don’t get into the habit of drinking a glass of wine, hard liquor, or any other alcoholic beverage at bedtime; alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and it will interfere with your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and cause other problems you might not be aware of. Some health experts suggest that contracting and relaxing all your muscles starting with your toes and proceeding upwards as you lie in bed can help you relax. In bed do try to focus on anything pleasant, long enough to distract you from any worries that are keeping you awake.
Some people say that sleeping with your head facing north helps you fall asleep because your body is better aligned with the earth. Concentrating on some of the insomnia tips you’ve heard in the past may put your mind at rest long enough to allow you to go to sleep. Your pillow may make you feel as though you’re lying uphill or downhill and if it is too hard may press into your head uncomfortably, reducing the chance of your falling asleep.
In some sleep tests they used a flashlight to shine light on the back of the knee and tested the reaction of the brain on the sleeping centers and the light was detected; your body knows when there is a light shining on the back side of your body. Make sure that you don’t have any light on in the bedroom, including the red light on digital clocks, night lights or any other light, even a small flicker; any light at all can stop the production of melatonin which is produced when it starts getting dark enough in your bedroom but may shut down if even the smallest light is glowing. You need to produce melatonin for a good night’s sleep.
If you lie in bed struggling with the day’s stresses and worries, try some of the insomnia tips you’ve heard over the years such as counting sheep or visualizing a blank screen. Some doctors may offer sleeping medications as a short-term solution along with some insomnia tips, but will seek to find the underlying cause of the sleeplessness and treat the cause instead of the symptom. Among the many insomnia tips provided by doctors and other health professionals, the most important tip is the ability to get physically relaxed enough to fall asleep.
Finding the solution to your sleeping problems or sleep disorder will be worth the investment in time. Your doctor or sleep specialist may be able to recommend support groups to you. Consider going to a sleep disorder center because they provide the newest research for the many issues that involve any sleep disorder. Read Article On : Diabetic Sleep Disorders And Sleep Loss on Diabetes