Millions of people have sleeping problems across the globe. Americans are one of the nations with the highest sleep-related issues in the world.
According to the American Sleep Association (AMA), sleep disorders currently affect as many as 50 to 70 million U.S adults, while insomnia is reported as one of the most present.
Everyone loves to get a good night’s rest. After all, nothing can keep you healthy as sleep can. Even if you want to lose some weight, you’ll need to sleep sounder in order to lose calories.
Life isn’t a straight line, and unplanned things happen. Anxiety before a big exam, or the restless night before a high-school test can lead to moodiness and poor productivity the following day. Yet, these are rare situations and rarely lead to significant sleeping disorders.
If you tend to sleep poorly, and your sleep gets worse from day to day, you can always be suffering from a sleep disorder.
Are you afraid that you may have a sleep disorder? You should know that there are plenty of sleeping disorders out there- and here are the biggest five.
What Are The 5 Major Sleep Disorders?
When you can’t sleep, it can affect your mood and your entire day. Plus, it may affect your complete internal system and even lead to medical issues if not treated in the long run.
Luckily, sleep disorders are well-accepted and people are well-aware of it, making it easier to discuss and deal with it. There are numerous treatments available that can help people sleep better. Before the treatment is suggested, it’s important to know what the issue is.
If you feel any sleep discomfort, you should talk with your doctor and try to get professional advice. With that on the mind, here are the five most common sleep disorders:
Each disorder has a specific diagnosis and treatment. Let’s learn more about each.
Insomnia is a term that makes difficulties getting to sleep or even staying asleep. There are two different types of insomnia:
Transient or Short-Term Insomnia. This type of insomnia often happens in the aftermath of a stressful life event.
It’s a common occurrence when losing a loved one or going through relationship issues. In some cases, it may occur when you have jet lag or due to challenging work shifts.
Chronic Insomnia. This type of insomnia is common when experiencing non-restorative sleep. If you tend to lack sleep for a period of one month, you may suffer chronic insomnia. When experiencing this insomnia, you will feel exhausted during the day.
Insomnia may occur for various reasons. Certain everyday practice can lead to insomnia.
- Medical conditions
- Poor sleep hygiene
- Hormonal changes
- Limb movements during sleep
- Circadian rhythm disorders
Common Symptoms of Insomnia
Here are the most common insomnia symptoms that one may experience:
- You are tired, but you can’t sleep
- No matter how much you sleep, you can’t get enough sleep to feel well-rested
- You experience regularly restless sleep
- You are exhausted when you awaken
Common Treatment Types for Insomnia
Certain medications usually follow treatment. Medications are tailored to your own specific needs.
For example, if depression or anxiety is the underlying cause of your condition, your physician may prescribe you with antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.
Medications for sleep can be used as well, although they are more often prescribed as a short-term solution. Non-medical methods may be used as well, such as:
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Sleep restriction
- Stimulus control
- Relaxation techniques
2. Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder, which is often described as serious. While you sleep, your airway repeatedly becomes blocked, and you can stop breathing.
When this happens, you might snore loudly or even make choking noises. You wake up as your body and brain are oxygen-deprived. To some people, sleep apnea may be lethal, although these cases are rare.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you could have sleep apnea. Here are the most common symptoms:
- You snore loudly
- You wake up during the night with a dry or a sore throat
- You wake up from time to time gasping or choking
- You lack energy in general
- You suffer from strong headaches
- You feel tired
- You feel irritable
Common Treatment Types for Sleep Apnea
There are some effective therapy solutions to help you treat sleep apnea, including:
- CPAP Therapy. A CPAP is a machine used to keep your airways open as you sleep. The machine uses mild air pressure and is attached to a mask or prongs that fit in your nose.
- Alternatives. There are also other options to help you sleep better and safer.
You can choose to:
- Wear an oral or dental appliance.
- Have surgery, but this is something that you should carefully discuss with your doctor.
- Losing weight can help you improve or eliminate your problem,s if you have weight issues.
- Try positional therapy. Some people may suffer from sleep apnea because they are sleeping in the wrong sleep position, mostly on their back. This therapy involves wearing a device that keeps you sleeping on your side.
Narcolepsy is a common sleep disorder that can make you suddenly fall asleep at any time, no matter where you are. As such, sleeping can occur during unusual circumstances, such as while eating.
What about driving, you may ask? Well, if sleepiness is under control, many people with narcolepsy are safe to drive. Still, they must know their limits. Some people may be safe driving around town for 30 minutes, but not on a three-hour drive.
You should see this with your doctor, who will eventually give you the green light on driving or not.
People with narcolepsy are unable to regulate their sleep-wake cycle, which is why they need to have good therapy.
Common Symptoms of Narcolepsy
You could have narcolepsy if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- You fall asleep without warning
- You suffer from sleep paralysis
- You feel drowsy during the day
- You experience cataplexy
- You may experience hallucinations
- Insomnia and disturbed nighttime sleep
Common Treatment Types for Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is a very sensitive condition, and treatment options may vary from person to person. Usually, doctors will prescribe medications, but what kind of medicine will depend on your narcolepsy level, how severe or not, it is.
4. Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is an uncontrollable urge or desire to move legs while you’re resting. This condition may also portray tingling, burning, and aching.
Some experience an unusual feeling that something is crawling in your calves. You may occasionally experience unpleasant sensations in other body parts.
Common Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome
Here are the most common symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome:
- You feel strong urges to move your legs
- Your symptoms get worse at night
- You may experience a crawling sensation in your legs
- You may experience ache in your legs
- You feel better when you stretch, move, or walk
Common Treatment Types for Restless Legs Syndrome
Just like with narcolepsy, the treatment will most likely be based on medications. The right treatment will be created by your doctor based on your condition and needs.
5. REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder is a sleep disorder in which you act out vivid dreams. These dreams may often be unpleasant, and you may also experience muscle paralysis. If not taken seriously, this condition can cause danger to you and anyone around you.
REM sleep behavior disorder’s common symptoms may include moving your limbs while sleeping and shouting, punching, and screaming while asleep.
Just like the previous two sleep disorder, the right treatment will depend on your condition and doctors’ recommendations.
The Bottom Line
If you notice any of the symptoms and you feel like you aren’t getting the most out of your sleep, you should seek professional help. Professionals will be able to help you fast and set the right treatment.
Don’t be scared of asking for help, because sleep disorders are very common in the States today, and many speak openly about their sleep and mental health.
Luckily, there are so many treatment options today that all you have to do is schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Sleep physicians are your best option when you have any kind of sleep disorder.