Sleep Disorders and sleep problems

| December 25, 2011 | 0 Comments

Sleep disorders are common, and there are many different causes of sleep problems.  When a seemingly healthy person begins to experience disrupted sleep over a prolonged period of time, it’s probably best to research physicians and make an appointment with someone who’s familiar with sleep disorders and how to cure them.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Sleep Disorders and sleep problems

Sleep Disorders and sleep problems

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition which can cause sleepless nights because when you have RLS, your legs feel terribly uncomfortable, particularly when sitting or lying down.  RLS creates an uncontrollable impulse to move your legs, which brings instant relief.  Once the legs are still again, however, the discomfort returns.  The following is information about the symptoms of restless leg syndrome:

  • Restless leg syndrome creates uncomfortable sensations in your calves most often but also in the thighs, feet or arms.  The sensations are described in a variety of ways, including:  tingling, cramping, crawling, aching burning, and creeping.
  • RLS typically begins when you’re in an inactive state for a prolonged period.
  • Movement relieves the discomfort  caused by RLS.
  • There isn’t a known definitive cure for RLS.
  • Some researchers believe that an imbalance of a chemical in the brain, called “dopamine” may be the cause.
  • RLS is hereditary approximately 50% of the time.
  • RLS is often experienced for the first time or temporarily worse during pregnancy or during hormonal changes.

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

The human body has been found to have a master circadian clock in the brain’s control center.  Among other things, this clock controls the sleep-wake cycle.  More information about circadian rhythm sleep disorders follow:

Visual cues of light and darkness are what primarily set the body’s circadian clock, but dining and exercise routines also influence the timing of the clock.  If you receive a diagnosis of circadian rhythm sleep disorder, it may be because you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • It’s extremely difficult to fall asleep.
  • Staying asleep rarely occurs; instead, you wake up at night frequently.
  • More often than not, you wake up at too early an hour and can’t get back to sleep.
  • The quality of your sleep is poor and doesn’t refresh you.

 

Treatments for circadian rhythm sleep disorder may include conscious lifestyle changes involving an adjustment in exposure to sunlight, avoiding taking sleeping pills to help you sleep, or taking hypnotic therapy.

Irregular Sleep Wake Rhythm

A type of circadian rhythm disorder, irregular sleep-wake rhythm is quite rare among Americans.  With this disorder, sleep deprivation can become a serious problem which can greatly affect your health.  In short, a person with irregular sleep-wake rhythm takes naps throughout the day and has several periods of wakefulness, as well.  This syndrome is comparable to the sleeping habits of infants, and one of the biggest dangers is that it deprives the body of regenerative process which occurs only during extended periods of deep sleep.

Some of the symptoms of and problems associated with irregular sleep-wake rhythm are:

  • Memory loss
  • Poor eating habits
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Depression
  • Problems fulfilling professional and social responsibilities

Insomnia

Insomnia is among the most common sleep disorders.  Insomnia is basically when a person fails to get enough sleep at night and/or may not get the quality of sleep that our bodies need.  There are pharmacological treatments available for people suffering from insomnia, and there are alternative treatment options as well, such as herbal treatments.  Cognitive therapy is also effective in the treatment of insomnia.

Among the numerous causes of insomnia are the following:

  • Health problems such as difficulty breathing or sleep apnea.
  • Sleeping in a bed that’s either too hard or too soft.
  • Too much light or noise in the sleep environment.
  • Stress
  • The need for more exercise
  • Consuming too much caffeine, sugar, or alcohol

Bruxism

In short, bruxism is grinding and clenching your teeth.  People with this disorder typically grind their teeth day and night without realizing it.  Sleep disorders are among the symptoms of bruxism.  Other symptoms of bruxism include:

  • Earaches
  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures and sweets in the teeth
  • A sore jaw
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders

Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking, also called somnambulism, is one of the most commonly known sleep disorders.  If you sleepwalk, you get up and walk or engage in other activities while still asleep.  Common symptoms of sleepwalking include the following:

  • Opening your eyes while you’re asleep
  • Behaving in a confused and disoriented manner when you wake up
  • An unawareness of a sleepwalking episode upon waking
  • Talking in your sleep
  • Walking in your sleep or sitting up and appearing to be awake

Hypopnea Syndrome

Hypopnea is a disorder involving excessively shallow breathing or a respiratory rate that’s abnormally low.  Hypopnea can occur when awake or asleep; when it occurs during sleep, it’s referred to as a type of sleep disorder.  Some of the symptoms of hypopnea syndrome are:

  • Loud snoring that is frequently interrupted with either choking sounds or noisy snorts and then followed by silence
  • Periods of silence during sleep which last up to 20 seconds and even longer.
  • Difficulty sleeping well
  • Reduced oxygen levels in the blood
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness

Nocturia

Nocturia, the uncontrollable need to urinate at night, is one of the common causes of sleep disorders.  Mild cases of nocturia may be cured by limiting the amount of liquids consumed late in the day.  But there are many issues associated with nocturia which could be quite serious.  Anyone who suffers from this sleep disorder should consult a physician.  The following are just a few of the many symptoms of nocturia:

  • Cloudy urine
  • Painful urination
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Night sweats
  • A dry throat and a feeling of great thirst

Narcolepsy

A person with the sleep disorder narcolepsy experiences extreme sleepiness and frequent sleep attacks during the daytime.  This is a nervous system disorder that is sometimes linked to a lack of hypocretin, which is a protein produced in the brain.  The precise cause of narcolepsy is unknown.  You may suffer from narcolepsy if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme drowsiness in the daytime, along with hypersomnia, an almost uncontrollable urge to sleep.
  • Sleep paralysis, which is when you can’t move for up to 15 minutes as you’re beginning to fall asleep or when you initially wake up.
  • Cataplexy, which occurs suddenly and involves a loss of muscle tone, rendering you unable to move for brief periods

Rapid Eye Movement Behavior Disorder

Rapid eye movement (REM) behavior disorder is a type of parasomnia which involves the following symptoms:

  • During REM sleep, you seem to physically enact dreams, which are often unpleasant, using unusual sounds and movements.
  • Kicking, screaming, jumping out of bed while you’re asleep.
  • Rather than not moving, which is normal during REM sleep, you are active during REM sleep.
  • You and/or your bed partner are injured during your REM sleep activity.

You suffer from other sleep disorders in addition to rapid eye movement sleep disorder.

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Category: Sleep Disorders

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