February 28 2021
Sleep could be compared to a Golden Chain that unites our Health and our Bodies.
Medically speaking, Sleep functions as a natural remedy to a wide range of problems. A good night’s sleep offers tremendous health benefits, keeping you active and rejuvenated to face the trials and tribulations or sunshine and rainbows of the oncoming day!
However, a chunk of the human population finds it difficult to get in the advised 6-7 hours of complete sleep daily. Often one might correlate the reason for being unable to sleep well to excessive stress or a hectic workload or even being overly excited to face the next day.
It’s not unusual that most people happen to overlook the possibility of suffering from one of the below-mentioned sleep disorders. We’re constantly running on a churning circle of day and night with a stream of tasks to divert our mind from our physiological and mental well-being, that such disorders tend to go unnoticed.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, you’ve certainly incurred one of the following commonly associated symptoms:
> Feeling groggy or very sleepy and exhausted during the day
> Experiencing a lack of breathing or snoring or other abnormal behaviors while sleeping
> Having difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep
> A nagging feeling to move your legs or feeling uncomfortable when asleep
We’ve shortlisted the most common (and often terrible) sleep disorders that could hamper your normal sleep cycle and lead to additional troubles like impairing your normal function for the next day, facing frustrating nights tossing away in bed, and interfering with your body’s general well-being :
Everyone might be aware of this term for the most commonly diagnosed sleeping disorder characterized by a general lack of the ability to fall asleep regardless of feeling sleepy or having the motivation/drive to do so. Insomniacs take prolonged hours to fall asleep and if woken up during their short sleep cycle, they tend to find it difficult to fall back into the restful state. Typically this could be a result of
high-stress levels, alcoholism, drug usage, or the intake of anxiety/depression medications. Insomnia is categorized as a long-term/chronic disorder by Physicians when the patient suffers from its symptoms for more than 3 months.
Three main types are:
> Sleep-onset Insomnia: When it’s difficult for patients to fall asleep despite showing signs of fatigue and tiredness.
> Sleep Maintenance Insomnia: When it’s troublesome to remain sleeping through the night.
> Mixed Insomnia: A hybrid disorder showing both of the above’s symptoms.
To treat a condition like this, cognitive-behavioral therapy is suggested with approved medications as prescribed by the recommended physician.
- Sleep Apnea
Commonly referred to as a sleep-related breathing disorder whereby the upper respiratory tract/passage of air ends up getting blocked during the night. Patients wake up gasping sharply for breath with a jerk and tend to choke for a while before calming down. Physicians call this an intermittent cessation of breathing during deep sleep episodes. Common symptoms include morning sleepiness, daytime headaches, reduced blood oxygen levels, heavy snoring, etc.
Two main types are:
> Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Due to physical obstruction of the airway caused by enlarged tonsils or fluid buildup from a previous heart or kidney condition or even genetically transferred through the familial hierarchy. Usually, CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) therapy is advised to such patients as a treatment option.
> Central Sleep Apnea: This causes the nightly choking episodes as the brain refrains from sending signals to the muscles that are in charge of controlling breathing. Obesity is often a common risk factor for the same. People who have experienced a stroke or undergone massive brain surgery tend to be affected by this disorder. Patients find BiPAP (Bi-level Positive Air Pressure) therapy highly effective.
Very well-known, snoring refers to the harsh sound that is produced when air passes through relaxed tissues within your throat and they vibrate as you breathe. Even though this isn’t considered to be a medical condition, it is an indicator of potentially troublesome sleep disorders. For most people, it tends to be more of an on-off occurrence, however, constant interruption in your own or your family’s lifestyle may be indicative of a bigger problem at hand, categorizing it as a chronic condition.
If not, simple lifestyle changes like reducing your alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight, consuming healthy diets, sleeping on your side, or using sleep-aids while asleep could do the trick and assist with treatment. Chronic snoring must be checked out by your Physician.
This occurs when patients complain of feeling completely exhausted or lethargic and tired during the day and feeling urges to sleep even though they’ve covered the
required hours of nighttime sleep. People experience ‘sleep attacks’ at vague times, that could range from a few minutes to even hours. This may seem normal and could be ignored when faced with a hectic schedule, however, once it starts interrupting your daily work-life and hampering the environment around you, it’s time to seek medical help.
Common symptoms include lack of control over your sleep cycle or wakefulness patterns, cataplexy, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, etc. Falling asleep during critical situations like driving or climbing could lead to possibly fatal happenings. This is reported to be caused due to abnormalities in the REM cycle controlling part of your brain.
- Restless Leg Syndrome
RLS is also called the Willis-Ekbom Disease, a type of sleep-related movement disorder whereby patients experience sharp pains, itching, throbbing in the legs while asleep which urges them to randomly jerk their feet or move without being aware. This is troublesome for people sleeping near you or for yourself since you’re now prone to falling off high surfaces like bunk-beds or ledges.
Patients describe this disorder to make them feel like they’ve got bugs or insects or other creepy-crawlies making their way up their legs, which leads to the sudden jerk-like motions during the night. RLS patients are often at risk for insomnia. Treatment options include reduced caffeine intake, regular exercise, decreased alcohol consumption, and in worse cases, seeking professional help.
- Shift Work Disorder
This happens to people who work at jobs that need them to be reporting early in the mornings and retiring late at night. This leads to a misalignment between their bodies and the circadian rhythms responsible for their sleep-wake cycles. As a result, sleep is disturbed as you’ve fallen out of sync with your external surroundings.
Concepts of natural light and darkness are automatically erased by the mind, and getting proper and adequate sleep becomes a task. This in turn hampers your work-life as excessive bouts of sleepiness then target you while you work.
A terrifying disorder characterized by teeth grinding, this could be a cause of high-stress levels and anxiety-driven periods. People suffering from this tend to unconsciously grind/gnash/clench their teeth and jaws while asleep or even while reaching wakefulness, targeting it as a sleep-related movement disorder.
In some cases, it goes unnoticed as it remains asymptomatic. However, few unlucky ones experience massive headaches, bleeding gums, jaw and tooth pain, or associated dental problems. Physicians provide such patients with a mouth guard to protect them, from such mishaps and offer some relief.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
As the name suggests, this induces prolonged periods of fatigue and lethargy which subsides even after achieving the required amounts of night-time rest. It’s often reported to have been caused by some kind of genetic disposition, abnormalities in the immune system, infections, exposure to toxins, etc.
Physicians find it difficult to diagnose as patients mistake this disorder with sleep apnea or excessive sleepiness. Treatment methods include following a smooth and stress-free lifestyle for a while to transition into a more peaceful way of living, maintaining a rigid sleep schedule, etc.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
This would be reported to be a frequently occurring depressive disorder depicting a seasonal pattern. People tend to correlate this with depression or excessive sleep as this mood-changing disorder has a prominent symptom of major depression. Treatment options include phototherapy, psychotherapy, and appropriate medications.
The reason it’s got the word ‘seasonal’ in its name is that in this condition natural light doesn’t adequately reach the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the brain, typically occurring in the winters. Opposite diagnostics have also reported occurrences of this disorder during the summers in some crowds.
If you find yourself experiencing trouble sleeping, or wish to maintain an accurate sleeping cycle, you could try Alvizia Healthcare’s premium nutritional supplements
AlenSleep (Non-Habit forming a soft gel Melatonin capsules for the smooth functioning of your biological clock and follow an adequate sleep-wake cycle)