Did you know that there are many types of Sleep Disorders which bring about problems with sleeping.
Did you know that at least 60 million Americans suffer with with sleeping problems every year? Forty million of them suffer from chronic disorders while the remaining experience occasional troubles.
Anyway, wherever you look at it, sleep disorders seem to be affecting a great number of people here in the country. It’s a wonder why a seemingly mundane thing could create a lot of distress in millions of individuals.
Before going further to the different forms of sleep disorders which result in the various sleeping problems, let us first identify what sleep is and why it is important.
Sleep is when the body goes through a whole bunch of physiological, biochemical, and psychological activities. Although the body seems tranquil during this stage from the outside, it is actually very busy inside. In fact, the brain can be even more active in this time.
Sleep is important because of many reasons. For one, it strengthens the immune system. Sleep-deprived people often catch diseases a lot easier than those who get ample sleep.
It also helps the nervous system function normally, making it easier for both physical and mental activities to be done. Sleep also promotes healthy cell growth.
Basically, there are three major problems with sleeping: lack of sleep, disturbed sleep, and excessive sleep.
Different Sleep Problems
A very common symptom of lack of sleep is what everyone calls insomnia. This is another sleep disorder associated with sleep problems. When you can’t sleep, you are considered to have a symptom. Many experience insomnia— some chronically while some just occasionally.
When it happens, you often feel tired and worried about not getting the sleep you need. This symptom may begin at any age and may be transient (few days), short-term (few weeks), or long-term (indefinitely).
Transient insomnia is often stress-related. If you are about to take an exam, or experiencing some body aches, you may have a hard time sleeping. On the other hand, short-term insomnia may be a result of nervousness, anxiety, and tension (both physical and mental).
For instance, if you are worrying about money, health, or weight loss, can contribute to problems with sleeping. Lastly, long-term insomnia may be caused by environment or some medical conditions. If you live on a noisy street or if you are working on graveyard shift, you may experience insomnia for a long time.
Moreover, if you have medical conditions like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, ulcers, and the like, they may also trigger this form of insomnia.
Problems with sleeping cover disturbed sleep covers sleep apnea, REM sleep behavior disorder, restless legs syndrome (RLS), and periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD).
Sleep apnea refers to breathing interruptions during sleep. It is often caused by some mechanical problems in the windpipe, although it may also be an indicator of a neurological disorder.
Either way, the symptom is characterized by snoring. The person may also seem gasping during sleep. This is when the brain reacts due to the lack of oxygen in the body and makes the windpipe open.
REM sleep behavior disorder is when the signals of dreams get interfered with and the person acts out on his or her dreams. For instance, if he or she is running in the dream, he or she may get up and do just that exactly.
Now, on the cases of RLS and PLMD, they often occur among the elderly. RLS is a hereditary disorder which creates tingling sensations in the leg, making the person to want to move his or her legs. PLMD, on the other hand, causes the legs or arms to jerk while sleeping. Jerks may be as many as three times in a minute and may wake the person up.
Excessive Sleep Disorders
The most common problems with sleeping under excessive sleep are narcolepsy, cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic hallucinations.
Narcolepsy is when a person uncontrollably falls asleep during the day. It is also called sleep attacks because it can happen anytime even when the person is doing something. This condition is often hereditary although it can be linked with some neurological diseases.
Cataplexy is paralysis of the muscles. The person who experiences this may collapse when he or she is standing up.
Sleep paralysis is the incapacity to move the limbs or the entire body when someone is falling asleep or about to wake up. It lasts for a short period and may cause the person to be overly anxious. He or she can often regain control when another stimulus appears such as a loud noise.
Finally, hypnagogic hallucinations are dream-like hallucinations. They are usually very vivid and frightening. experiencing any of these problems with sleeping, can be quite troublesome. If you have any of the symptoms, it would be advisable to get some help.
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