Have you ever felt that your snoring was interfering with your relationships?
If you have, then you’re not alone. Sleep disorders of any kind can be a real problem for lots of different people. Thankfully, a lot of new advances in technology have been made to help treat them.
There are over eighty sleep disorders that can affect an individual. Below are the five most prominent ones.
Insomnia, also known as sleeplessness, is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
People who get insomnia only a few times a month or year have occasional insomnia. People who get insomnia more than 4 or 5 nights a month have chronic insomnia. Most people with insomnia have chronic insomnia.
The causes of insomnia are many, including stress, anxiety, worry, depression, medications, illness, pain, and certain sleep disorders.
Symptoms of insomnia include the following:
- waking up during the night
- waking up too early
- not getting enough sleep
- having difficulty falling asleep
- waking up tired in the morning
- lack of energy
- difficulty concentrating
- feeling fatigued
- poor memory
- losing interest in usual activities
- having accidents
- or feeling anxious.
People with severe insomnia also may have daytime sleepiness and be at greater risk of heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.
2) Sleep Apnea
The disorder happens when the sleeper’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. In severe cases, the sleeper may stop breathing hundreds of times a night.
The interruption of breathing is sometimes so severe that the heart has to work harder and the patient wakes up, gasping for air.
Although sleep apnea isn’t life-threatening, it can have serious health consequences, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and headaches.
If you or a loved one has sleep apnea, it’s important to talk about your symptoms with your doctor. The disorder can be treated with lifestyle changes, breathing devices, and surgery.
Sleep apnea is more common in men than women, and the risk increases with age.
Sleep apnea can be diagnosed by an overnight sleep study. A sleep study involves sleeping in a clinic or hospital for 11 or 12 hours while lying in an inflatable collar that records sleep and breathing patterns.
If you have sleep apnea, it’s important to treat it. In some cases, a sleep apnea treatment device may be prescribed.
Treatment isn’t for everyone, though. Some people may be able to simply change their sleeping positions, while others may need surgery to reduce the soft tissue in the rear of the throat.
3) Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a fairly common sleep disorder. It is caused by an abnormality in the brain’s sleep-wake cycle.
RLS is not an uncommon condition, though it is often misdiagnosed. Most people with RLS feel tired, restless, or uncomfortable in their legs and often experience an overwhelming urge to move their legs.
The condition typically begins in late childhood or early adulthood. It usually goes away on its own after a few years. In a small percentage of cases, it can persist.
People with RLS typically move their legs continuously for up to 20 minutes at a time throughout the course of the night. The urge to move may diminish when the individual is awake.
The disorder can interfere with sleep and with daily activities. The legs may feel cold, sweaty, or tingly. The symptoms may worsen when the individual is under stress or is tired.
The symptoms of RLS may also appear during an episode of narcolepsy, another sleep disorder.
Restless legs syndrome is a type of movement disorder. It affects an estimated 2 to 4 percent of adults. About 50 percent to 70 percent of people with RLS have it in both legs. About 30 percent have it in just one leg. Women are more likely to have the condition than men.
Several drugs have been approved to treat the symptoms of RLS, including caffeine, nicotine, and certain antidepressant drugs.
A doctor may prescribe medications for RLS if other treatments have not worked. Medications may also be prescribed if the problem is severe.
4) REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD)
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD), also called sleepwalking, is a sleep disorder in which people act out their dreams while they are asleep. These dreams often include walking, talking, or running, as well as actions such as kicking, punching, and even sexual actions.
RBD can occur at any age but usually begins after the age of 30. Between 0.5 to 1% of adults in the UK have RBD at some point in their lives.
Some people with RBD are able to walk, talk, or even run during their sleep. These episodes usually last a few minutes and occur only occasionally. Others, however, have these episodes frequently, every night, or for hours at a time.
RBD may be more common in people with:
- a history of a neurological disorder such as stroke, head injury, brain tumor, or Alzheimer’s disease
- a family history of RBD
- certain sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy
- certain medicines, such as sedatives or stimulants
- certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy
- being born prematurely.
RBD may cause:
- damage to property
- injury to self or others
- embarrassment or humiliation
- marital problems
- loss of employment
- loss of custody of children.
RBD is diagnosed by an evaluation by a doctor and an overnight observation in a sleep laboratory. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor may prescribe a medication to stop the episodes.
RBD is not life-threatening, but it can be embarrassing.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder in which a person, while awake, experiences an overwhelming urge to sleep. The urge typically comes on suddenly, and the person feels compelled to sleep.
This sudden urge to sleep can last for a few seconds, or for hours, and can occur at any time.
The person may start to nod off but may feel alert and wakeable.
People with narcolepsy experience sudden, uncontrollable episodes of sleep. The episodes of sleep usually last between 10 and 30 minutes. These episodes can occur at any time of the day or night.
People with narcolepsy often fall asleep suddenly, without warning or apparent reason. They fall asleep most often during waking hours; however, they may fall asleep at any time of day or night. People with narcolepsy may feel sleepy right before falling asleep but may have difficulty getting to sleep.
Sometimes a person with narcolepsy feels drowsy or sleepy before falling asleep and is unable to stay awake. At other times, a person with narcolepsy falls asleep while in the middle of performing an activity, like talking, reading, or driving.
People with narcolepsy may experience sleep paralysis, in which they experience muscle weakness and paralysis. A sleep paralysis attack can occur at any time of the day or night.
Narcolepsy can be classified into two types: cataplexy and hypocretin.