Insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome- are just a few of the most common sleep disorders that people experience. Millions of people around the world suffer from some form of sleep disorder, and many of them don’t even know it. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common sleep disorders and their symptoms. We will also provide tips for how to get a good night’s sleep!
- What are sleep disorders?
- How much sleep is necessary?
- Types of sleep disorders are there?
- Frequently asked questions
What are sleep disorders?
Sleep disorders are conditions that prevent you from getting restful sleep, which can lead to daytime drowsiness and other symptoms. Everyone has issues with sleep from time to time. If you have one or more of the following problems, it’s likely that you have a sleep condition:
- You regularly experience difficulty sleeping.
- You are often tired during the day even though you slept for at least seven hours the night before.
- You have a reduced or impaired ability to perform regular daytime activities.
More than 100 million individuals of all ages in the United States are not getting enough sleep. Sleep is quite essential. Not getting adequate sleep might have bad impacts on school and job performance, interpersonal interactions, health, and safety.
How much sleep is necessary?
Although most experts recommend that adults get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night, some people require more and others less.
According to a recent National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America poll, adults (ages 18-54) sleep 6.4 hours each weekday and 7.7 hours each weekend on average. The number of time people slept decreased over the previous several years, according to the study. People who sleep fewer hours often use the internet at night or bring work home from the workplace.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, older people (age 55-84) get seven hours of sleep on weekdays and 7.1 hours on weekends. Physical pain or discomfort is the most common reason for sleep disruption in older individuals.
Types of sleep disorders are there?
There are approximately 80 different types of sleep disorders. The top ones are:
- Sleep apnea
- Restless legs syndrome
- Sleep Paralysis
- Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep
- Circadian Rhythm Disorders
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
Insomnia is a sleep disorder where people have difficulty falling or staying asleep. People with insomnia have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep.
- Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep.
- Waking up too early in the morning.
- Having unrefreshing sleep.
- Having at least one daytime problem such as fatigue, sleepiness, problems with mood, concentration, accidents at work or while driving, etc. due to poor sleep.
Insomnia can occur in a variety of ways and at various intervals. Insomnia affects around 50% of people on occasion, with one in ten having chronic insomnia. Insomnia can be either acute (short-term) or persistent (chronic). When one or more sleep problems occur regularly, the condition is known as chronic insomnia. It may come and go, with times when a person has no sleep difficulties. Acute or adjustment insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks. When someone has chronic sleeplessness every week for a month or longer, it’s referred to as persistent insomnia.
Effective treatments for many types of insomnia include:
- Sleep hygiene education to instill good habits/correct bad habits
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI)
- Short term use of sleeping pills, including sedative/hypnotic drugs, antidepressants, and antihistamines
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where people have difficulty breathing during sleep. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the airway becomes blocked or narrowed during sleep. This causes a person to stop breathing for short periods of time. When a person’s oxygen level drops, their brain wakes them up so they can start breathing again. This can happen numerous times during a single night, which leads to poor sleep quality and daytime drowsiness.
Sleep apnea affects around 18 million Americans and is more common in men than women. It’s also more common in people who are overweight or have hypertension (high blood pressure).
Asleep study often called polysomnography is used to identify sleep apnea. The good news is that there are effective therapies available. A continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) is the principal therapy for OSA. CPAP can also help people with CSA.
Restless legs syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs. This can lead to difficulty falling or staying asleep. People with RLS also often have unpleasant sensations in their legs, such as tingling, prickling, crawling, or burning feelings. These sensations usually occur when a person is resting or inactive, such as when they’re trying to sleep.
RLS affects around ten percent of Americans and is more common in women than men. It’s also more common in people who are pregnant, have diabetes, kidney disease, or iron deficiency anemia.
RLS treatments include:
- Increasing iron intake through supplements and/or diet if you are iron deficient
- Weight loss
- Medications, including dopaminergic agents such as Mirapex (pramipexole) and Requip (ropinirole) and anticonvulsants such as Lyrica (pregabalin)
During an episode of restless legs, moving your legs can help relieve the sensations. Stretching, walking, or rubbing your legs may be good options, as well.
Is a sleep disorder that causes people to suddenly fall asleep during the day. This can happen at any time and without warning. People with narcolepsy often have problems staying awake for long periods of time and may also experience vivid dreams or hallucinations.
Narcolepsy affects around one in 2000 Americans and is more common in men than women. It’s also more common in people who have a family member with the condition.
Narcolepsy is treated with medications, including:
- Stimulants to keep you awake during the day
- Xyrem (sodium oxybate) to improve sleep
- Antidepressants to moderate symptoms
Parasomnias are a group of sleep disorders that involve abnormal behavior or experiences during sleep. These can include things such as sleepwalking, nightmares, and bedwetting. Parasomnias usually occur during the deeper stages of sleep and can cause people to act out their dreams.
The underlying cause of parasomnias may be another sleep condition, such as sleep apnea. In that case, treating the underlying condition may stop the behavior.
Sleep paralysis is a sleep disorder that causes people to temporarily lose the ability to move or speak when they’re falling asleep or waking up. This occurs when the body’s muscles become paralyzed during REM sleep. Sleep paralysis usually lasts for a few seconds or minutes and is not harmful. However, it can be very frightening.
Sleep paralysis affects around eight percent of people and is more common in people who have a family history of the condition. It’s also more common in people who are tired, stressed, or using drugs or alcohol.
Sleep paralysis and the associated hallucinations are generally uneventful, although they can be frightening. They don’t usually disrupt your sleep or have a huge impact on your life. If it’s bothersome enough to require therapy, you may try one of the following treatments:
- Getting more sleep
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy to improve sleep quality and duration and help cope with hallucination-related fear
- Treating the underlying condition
Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep
Periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS) are a type of sleep disorder that causes people to move their limbs involuntarily during sleep. This can lead to disruption in the quality of your sleep and may cause you to wake up feeling tired. PLMS usually occur every 20-30 seconds and involve the movement of the legs, arms, or both.
People with PLMS are more likely to have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea. It’s also more common in people who are overweight or have hypertension (high blood pressure).
If your sleep is not disrupted by PLMS, it does not necessarily need to be treated. If you have excessive daytime sleepiness despite no other reason, your PLMS may be the cause.
Circadian Rhythm Disorders
Circadian rhythm disorders are a group of sleep disorders that involve problems with the body’s natural 24-hour cycle. These disorders can cause people to have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting up in the morning. People with circadian rhythm disorders often have trouble adjusting to changes in their sleep schedule, such as traveling across time zones or working night shifts.
Circadian rhythm disorders affect around one in every 100 Americans and can occur in people of any age. They are more common in women than men.
Treatments for circadian rhythm disorders include:
- Properly timed light exposure, which may include using a lightbox
- Melatonin to help you fall asleep at an appropriate time
- Adherence to a regular sleep-wake schedule
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a sleep disorder that causes people to feel extremely tired and exhausted for no apparent reason. People with CFS often have problems sleeping and may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, muscle pain, and headache.
CFS affects around two million Americans and is more common in women than men. It’s also more common in people who are under stress or have a mental health condition. There is no known cure for CFS, but treatment can help improve symptoms.
- Antidepressants (to correct neurochemical imbalances)
- Antiviral or antifungal medications (if the infection is a cause)
- Lifestyle changes
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy (which are highly controversial approaches)
Fibromyalgia is a sleep disorder that causes widespread pain and tenderness in the muscles and joints. People with fibromyalgia often have problems sleeping and may also experience fatigue, headaches, and mood changes.
Fibromyalgia affects around six million Americans and is more common in women than men. It’s also more common in people who are under stress or have a mental health condition. There is no known cure for fibromyalgia, but treatment can help improve symptoms.
Fibromyalgia medications may help improve sleep quality or decrease the symptoms that contribute to sleep deprivation. It’s also crucial to get proper treatment for any sleep disorders.
Seasonal affective disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of sleep disorder that causes people to feel depressed and lethargic during the winter months. People with SAD often have problems sleeping and may also experience weight gain, social withdrawal, and decreased energy levels.
SAD affects around four percent of Americans and is more common in women than men. It’s more common in people who live in northern climates and those who don’t get enough sunlight. There is no known cure for SAD, but treatment can help improve symptoms.
SAD is often treated by the use of a lightbox, which simulates sunlight, to artificially extend the length of time you’re exposed to light.
Frequently asked questions
Do all sleep disorders require treatment?
Not all sleep disorders require treatment. If you have excessive daytime sleepiness despite no other reason, your PLMS may be the cause.
What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a group of symptoms that make you feel extremely tired and exhausted for no apparent reason. It’s a relatively common disorder that affects around two million Americans.
How is seasonal affective disorder treated?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is typically treated with light therapy, which involves exposing yourself to bright lights for a set amount of time each day. This helps to simulate sunlight and lengthen the amount of time you’re exposed to light.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread pain and tenderness in the muscles and joints. It’s a relatively common disorder that affects around six million Americans.
How do I know if I have a sleep disorder?
The best way to determine if you have a sleep disorder is to visit your doctor for an evaluation. They will ask about your symptoms and may perform some tests to help make a diagnosis.
Sleep disorders are a common problem that can affect your quality of life. It’s important to get proper treatment for any sleep disorders you may have. Treatments vary depending on the disorder but often include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. If you’re unsure whether or not you have a sleep disorder, visit your doctor for an evaluation. They can help determine the cause of your problems and recommend appropriate treatment options. Thanks for reading!