Not getting enough quality sleep affect every aspect of your life including your weight, mental health, work performance, relationships, your safety, as well as increased risk for certain diseases. We all experience problems with sleep from time to time. But if you're having difficulty sleeping regularly, you might be having a sleep disorder. Do you also often feel tired during the day even after getting sufficient sleep the night before? Then you're likely dealing with a sleep disorder.
There are many types of sleep disorders (approximately 80 different types). Common sleep disorders include insomnia (the most common one), restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy and sleep apnea. Get to know more about these conditions.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Obstructive sleep apnea happens due to narrowed or blocked airways, leading to repetitive episodes of complete or near-complete cessation of breathing during sleep. This type of sleep disorder can cause symptoms like excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, night sweats, morning headache, waking up with dry mouth or sore throat, trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, mood changes, such as depression or irritability.
If you have central sleep apnea, your breathing will repeatedly stop and start during sleep. This occurs when the muscles that control your breathing do not get proper signals from the brain. Compared to obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea is less common, and it usually doesn't cause snoring. But both types can occur together, which is known as mixed sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea usually results from other conditions, such as heart failure and stroke. Sleeping at a high altitude can also cause this sleep disorder.
This type of sleep disorder causes trouble falling and/or staying asleep. The condition can be acute (lasting from 1 night to a few weeks) or chronic (occurring at least 3 nights a week for 3 months or more). Causes of insomnia include: stress, changes to your sleep schedule, genes, other health conditions like hyperthyroidism, Alzheimer's disease, ADHD, depression and anxiety, as well as certain medications.
Some people may have trouble staying awake during the day. It's called hypersomnia and it is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness or excessive time spent sleeping. People who have hypersomnia may also have other sleep disorders, including narcolepsy (daytime sleepiness) and sleep apnea. Being overweight, drug or alcohol abuse, depression are other potential causes of hypersomnia.
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Parasomnias are unusual and undesirable behaviors that occur prior to falling asleep, while asleep or during arousal from sleep. These include nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, confusional arousals (also known as excessive sleep inertia or sleep drunkenness), rhythmic movement disorder, sleep talking, sleep enuresis (bedwetting), sleep bruxism (teeth grinding), etc.
Restless legs syndrome
Willis-Ekbom Disease or Restless legs syndrome causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, because of an uncomfortable sensation as itching, prickling, pulling, or crawling. Typically, this happens in the evening or nighttime hours when relaxing, sitting or lying down in bed. People with RLS may experience daytime sleepiness, irritability and difficulty concentrating.
This neurological disorder when the brain's ability to control sleep-wake cycles gets affected. People with narcolepsy may feel very drowsy much of the day (excessive daytime sleepiness) and fall asleep suddenly at any time. Cataplexy, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and disrupted sleep are some of other symptoms of narcolepsy.