Sleep disorders impact the way you sleep and negatively affect your overall health. Being overly exhausted due to sleep disorders affects your ability to drive and can increase the chances of you developing other health complications.
There are a wide variety of sleep disorders. Some types include:
- Insomnia, or difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Sleep apnea, in which you may stop breathing entirely while sleeping
- Narcolepsy, where you tend to fall asleep during the day by accident
- Restless legs syndrome (RLS), in which you get a strong urge to move your legs as you’re falling asleep.
- Parasomnias. These are disruptive instances such as sleepwalking, night terrors, or nightmares that impact your sleep.
- Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder (N24). This is characterized by people slowly waking up later and going to bed later each day until their sleep cycle is entirely backward.
Common symptoms of sleep disorders vary depending on which condition you’re suffering from, but they typically result in being exhausted during the day or having difficulty falling asleep at night. Further, suffering from irregular sleep patterns is another symptom of sleep disorders.
Causes of sleep disorders vary and can be:
- Environmental, such as substances
- Medical, such as asthma
- Physical, such as ulcers
- Aging, as over half of adults above 65 years old suffer from some kind of sleep disorder
- Working at night
If you believe you are suffering from a sleep disorder, you’ll want to speak with your healthcare provider right away. You may be asked to closely document your sleeping patterns in a journal for two weeks to help pinpoint the causes. Your doctor may also order tests to rule out any physical illnesses that may be disrupting your sleep.
sleep study or polysomnogram (PSG) may be performed. This test records your physical activities as you sleep and can help your doctor determine whether or not you suffer from a sleep disorder.
If diagnosed with a sleep disorder, treatment involves:
- Regular exercise
- Minimizing light and noise, especially before bed
- Managing room temperature