Do you have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep? Do you wake up tired or felling depressed? Are you irritable during the day? Have you been told that you exhibit strange behavior while asleep? If so, you may have a sleep disorder.
When someone thinks of sleep disorders, frequently words like insomnia or stress come to mind. However, sleep disorders span the entire spectrum from underlying health issues to night terrors to sleepwalking. Many studies are ongoing in this field and finding fascinating facts along the way. Many symptoms that have been overlooked or dismissed are now being seriously scrutinized.
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. Older adults and women are most effected by insomnia. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that over 40 million people suffer from insomnia annually. There are two types of insomnia: acute and chronic. Acute insomnia occurs less frequently and usually during a stressful time. Chronic insomnia occurs at least 3 times a week for over a 3 month period. Common signs and symptoms of insomnia include:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night and excessive sleepiness during the day
- Waking up frequently during the night or difficulty getting back to sleep
- Sleepiness and low energy during the day
- Having to take a sleep aid each night
- Feeling as if you haven’t sleep or have had fragmented sleep
- Difficulty performing normal tasks and trouble remembering
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you will want to consult a medical professional to discuss the treatment options.
Sleep Apnea is also a common sleep disorder. It effects over 20 million people even though many who have it do not realize it. It is pauses in breathing while you sleep, where your breathing temporarily stops due to the blockage of the upper airways. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “the respiratory effort required during sleep to continue breathing and functioning puts a strain on the heart and can lead to all kinds of cardiological problems down the road including heart attack, heart failure, heart arrhythmia, and more.” This can result in potentially life threating complications.Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud, chronic snoring, often waking the pesron
- Frequent pauses, gasping or choking during sleep
- Feeling exhausted after waking
- Being sleepy during the day, even after “sleeping” all night
- Waking up chest pains, headaches, a dry throat, nasal congestion
If you are experiencing any of these, you may need to see a medical professional and perhaps have a sleep study.
Restless Leg Syndrome is a neurological disorder that can cause a sensation of creeping, aching, and throbbing in kegs particularly at night or at rest. RLS is classified as a sleep disorder because of the impact on a person by constantly waking a person or not allowing a person to fall asleep completely. Symptoms of RLS include:
- Uncomfortable sensations in the legs
- A strong urge to move your legs
- Cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep
- You feel the need move, stretch, or massage your legs
Although there is no cure for RLS, often an underlying health issue is to blame. Finding and treating this issue may lead to a restful night’s sleep.
If you are having any of these symptoms or daily struggles, talk to your doctor to see what options are available for you to get an all important good night’s sleep.