Sleep disorders are fairly common in the Western world.
Disruptions in sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness come under the concept of sleep disorders and they can be caused by psychological factors or physiological or a mixture of both.This article goes over some of the most common sleep disorders there are and what they are.
Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Snoring is something many people do and may seem like it isn’t a problem. However snoring may be a sign that one has difficulty keeping their throat open while sleeping and this can lead to it’s more serious companion sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where a person stops breathing in their sleep. This happens repeatedly and many people are unaware that they have this problem. Sleep apnea can be caused by an obstruction in the upper airway. This type of apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea and is the most common. It can also be caused by a failure of the brain to initiate a breath and this type is called central sleep apnea. This type is very rare and very difficult to diagnose. Apnea can worsen other medical conditions and also contribute to the develop of some such as high blood pressure, heart failure and diabetes to name a few.
Sleep paralysis involves the inability to move while going from sleeping to wakefulness. This is temporary but can be an extremely frightening experience. Many regular drug users find this can crop up as an issue. This can also be a symptom of narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy is characterized by 4 symptoms: excessive sleepiness during the day, cataplexy, sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations. The daytime sleepiness can be so much that it can cause one to fall asleep in inappropriate situations. Cataplexy is a loss of muscle tone in response to emotional stimulus. Hypnagogic hallucinations are extremely vivid dream-like visual or auditory sensations. These occur while one is falling asleep.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Many people do not realize that this is in fact a sleep disorder. It is a neurological movement disorder that causes unpleasant sensations in the legs. It makes you feel like you need to move and can include sensations of tingling, burning, aches and also like bugs are crawling on your legs. Many women who are pregnant suffer from this disorder but it isn’t exclusive to them. It can make falling sleep difficult and it can be hard to rest with as a result of this syndrome.
Circadian Rhythm Disorders
This type of disorder results when a person’s body clock is out of sync with external time cues. This can occur as a result of jet lag, shift work or delayed sleep phase syndrome. This mismatch can lead to insomnia.
Insomnia is when one has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. If you have insomnia you find it almost impossible to get enough sleep in order to feel rested. Many teenagers will claim to be insomniacs.
This type of sleep disorder is characterized by abnormal sleep behaviors. This can involve unconscious, goal-directed behaviors that have meaning to the person and can include sleep walking, night terrors, sleep eating, sleep sex and also rapid eye movement behavior disorder. There are many more behaviors that fit under this type of sleep disorder.
Besides the sleeping disorders above there are many others too.