‘Good Night, Sleep Tight’ is a much-coveted phrase, especially so in this century where fast life and the stress that comes along with it have taken a toll on man’s natural sleep. No doctor, as well, can ever argue on the importance of a good night’s sleep for better functioning of all the vital organs to maintain a good, healthy life. However, the harsh reality is that a small percentage of adults are blessed with this beautiful gift. Sleep disorders range from the very common insomnia to something like REM sleep behaviour disorder which is a rarity. Let’s understand the five most common disorders that bother most adults
Inability to fall asleep in the first place and then maintain it for long is termed as insomnia. People suffering from insomnia wake up often from sleep and have difficulty getting back to sleep. As a result, they wake up too early in the morning with an unrefreshing sleep. That leaves them with issues like fatigue, sleepiness, mood swings, concentration problems; accidents while driving, etc. due to lack of sleep. When it lasts at least thrice a week for a month or longer, it is chronic insomnia. Treatment of insomnia includes cognitive behavioural therapy and/or medication. Check out for some non-medical steps to overcome Insomnia.
2. Sleep Apnea
This potentially serious sleep disorder occurs due to an interruption in a person’s breathing during sleep. People living with sleep apnea stop breathing repetitively during their sleep. Strangely enough, most people don’t realize that they are suffering from apnea until someone tells them. Sleep apnea is caused due to partial or complete blockage of the throat. People suffering from sleep apnea strongly exhibit symptoms like fatigue, daytime sleepiness, snoring, restlessness and gasping for air when in sleep and trouble concentrating. Apnea is treated by keeping the person’s throat open through a machine that releases a steady stream of air.
3. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
RLS sleep disorder, considered hereditary, causes an extreme, often unavoidable impulse to move the legs. This sensation is caused by resting such as staying in the same position for long periods like driving or lying down in bed or at a theatre. This syndrome is typically observed in the evening, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Associated with daytime sleepiness, irritability and concentration, people with RLS kick or move many times a night. Regular exercise along with a reduced intake of caffeine and alcohol are some of the treatments suggested for RLS.
4. REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder
This extremely rare disorder affects roughly 1% of the population. When the motor movements in the brain don’t function properly while sleeping, the person suffers from REM sleep behaviour disorder. The patient suffering from REM sleep behaviour disorder can jump out of bed, thrash in bed or tackle a piece of furniture. The treatment for this type pf sleep disorder often includes medications.
This neurological sleep regulation disorder upsets the control of wakefulness and sleep. People suffering from narcolepsy experience unnecessary daytime sleepiness with intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep in daytime. These sudden sleep attacks can occur in the midst of any activity at any time of the day. Some patients having narcolepsy experience abrupt muscle weakness with emotions like laughter. Though it usually starts between 15 and 25 years of age, narcolepsy can become obvious at any age. Most often, narcolepsy stays undiagnosed and hence, untreated. Medications are given to treat narcolepsy.
If you think that you are suffering from any one of the above sleep disorders, visit your general physician. A complete physical examination recommended by him will help detect your sleep problems. Also, if you maintain a sleep diary for a fortnight, the data will help your doctor go ahead with the right action plan for your treatment. So, act fast, act right and get back your sleep.