Different Types of Sleeping Disorders: What You Need to Know

About 50-70 million US adults are being affected by sleeping disorders. Further studies reveal that being unable to sleep properly has caused road accidents that resulted in about thousand deaths and forty thousand injuries.

It comes across frequently in our lives that we cannot find that sweet spot of sleeping. There are nights that our consciousness just cannot put it all together to let our bodies rest in sync. Sounds harmless at hindsight, right? But if we are talking long-term here, the sleepless nights or just screwed up sleeping patterns accumulated can cause serious health problems and real-world physical harm to ourselves.

With that, it is better to educate ourselves about the different types of sleeping disorders in our lives and possible remedies to combat them, so we can be worry-free the next night we lay flat in our beds.

5 Most Common Sleeping Disorders

In this article we will look at the five most common sleeping disorders and their treatment.

1. Insomnia

Insomnia is one of the most common sleeping disorders in humanity. It refers to the difficulty of a person to get sleep or staying asleep. There are two types of insomnia, and they are:

  • Transient or short-term insomnia – This usually occurs after a stressful life event, such as loss of a loved one, relationship issues, numerous career flops, and many more. Due to the anxiety that it causes, it usually leads to unrelaxed consciousness that compromises our ability to sleep.
  • Chronic insomnia – This is a more of regular type of insomnia wherein it is characterized by sleep deficiency patterns alternating with days of good sleep.

If you have insomnia, you could be already experiencing any of the following:

  • First, you cannot sleep despite your fatigue.
  • Second, you fell short of recommended sleeping hours.
  • Finally, you experience restless sleep and feel exhausted upon waking up.

Common treatments for insomnia

Medications for insomnia are usually tailored to target the underlying causes. If the root cause of poor sleep is due to anxiety or depression, then your physician may prescribe you with something that treats such conditions. There are also medications for sleep that can be prescribed as well, but they are more of a short-term solution or as-needed basis type of medication.

If you are uncomfortable with taking that much medicine, you can resort to non-medical methods such as cognitive behavior therapy, hypnosis, sleep restriction, and relaxation techniques. Lifestyle changes are also welcome.

2. Narcolepsy

If insomnia is the sheer lack of sleep type of condition, narcolepsy is somewhat on another opposite direction. It is a disorder that causes you to suddenly fall asleep at any given point of time no matter where you are. You can experience this while eating, socializing, or even driving. The consequences of this can range from mild to something dire, depending on what you are currently doing.

Now, you could have narcolepsy if you experience the following:

  • You fall asleep without warning.
  • You feel drowsiness during the daytime.
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Cataplexy (temporary loss of muscle control that leads to weakness).
  • Hallucinations of being asleep or awake.
  • Disturbed nighttime sleep

Common treatments for narcolepsy

To counter narcolepsy, the usual treatment is via scheduled naps and medication. The diagnosis of narcolepsy is done through overnight polysomnogram followed by a daytime study called a multi sleep latency test.

3. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is described as a serious yet common sleeping disorder. This happens when your airway is being blocked, causing stoppages in breathing. This often results in snoring, choking, and even morning fatigue as soon as you wake up.

You could have sleep apnea if you experience:

  • Dry or sore throat in the middle of the night
  • Loud snoring
  • Sudden awakening accompanied with gasping or choking
  • Sleepiness during daytime
  • Lack of energy
  • Headache
  • Extreme fatigue

Common treatments for sleep apnea

There are a lot of ways to treat sleep apnea, such as weight management, positional therapy, and surgery. But perhaps the most common treatment of them all is called CPAP therapy.

CPAP therapy or continuous positive airway pressure, as they call it, is the process of using a CPAP device to synthetically pump air through the airway through a mask and tube installed to the device to clear the blockade in your airway. Before using one, make sure to clean your equipment first using a CPAP cleaner. A CPAP cleaner is a specially manufactured sanitizer that uses UV or oxygen technology to keep your device and equipment clean and safe to use.

A CPAP cleaner is commercially available through online outlets so make sure to get one before using your CPAP device.

4. Restless Legs Syndrome

This unusual sleeping syndrome is characterized through the uncontrollable urge to move your legs while you are resting. There is also a feeling of tingling, aching, or burning in your calves. This can also be felt in other body parts as well.

You could have RLS if you experience:

  • Strong urges to move your legs.
  • Crawling sensation or ache in your legs.
  • Worsening of symptoms during night or inactivity.
  • Relief as you stretch, walk, or move.

Common treatments for restless legs syndrome

To treat RLS you must undergo behavioral therapy and medications, specifically the type that can supply iron. You can also start by reducing intake of stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol, regular exercise, and developing good sleeping habits. During episodes of RLS you can do some self-treatments like leg massaging, hot bath, hot and cold compress, relaxation exercises, and mind exercises.

5. REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

REM sleep behavior disorder is the acting out of your dreams while you sleep. Basically, this is when you re-enact whatever it is you see on your dreamland. This can cause danger to you or anyone around you so you must take this disorder seriously.

You could have REM sleep behavior disorder if you experience:

  • Unnecessary movement of limbs during sleep.
  • Doing activities like shouting, talking, punching the air, screaming, etc.

Common treatments for REM sleep behavior disorder

Treatment options for REM sleep behavior disorder include the intake of:

  • Melatonin, which may help reduce or eliminate symptoms.
  • Clonazepam eases up anxiety which could be the driving force behind the disorder. Make sure to consult your physician first before taking any of these.

Non-medical treatments include changes in the sleep environment and making it as safe as possible so no further harm will be inflicted.

Final Thoughts

It is crucial that you consult with your physician and deal with your sleeping disorders as early as possible. A sleep disorder not only causes yourself a great deal of health problems, but it can also inflict a whole world of inconveniences and serious harm to your colleagues and loved ones. There is always help and treatment around, so never hesitate to seek them the moment you start to feel these sleeping disorders.

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