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Sleep Disorders - What They Are and What You Can Do About Them
Sleep Disorders - What They Are and What You Can Do About Them

Posted on October 26, 2013 by admin There have been 1 comment(s)

Sleep disorders can have a variety of impacts other than just sleepiness.  An inadequate amount of restful sleep can also cause accidents and can affect your health, relationships, and your ability to work.  If your sleeplessness is caused by a one-time event such as sickness or work-related stress, your sleep likely will return to normal at the conclusion of the event.  But if you have difficulty sleeping on a regular basis, you may have a sleep problem that must be addressed for you to return to restful, all-night sleeping.

 

Symptoms of Sleep Disorder

Everyone has a occasional bouts of sleeplessness, but an ongoing pattern of poor sleeping points to a more serious problem.  An important step in evaluating your sleep situation is identifying your symptoms, sleep habits and daily routine.  Any of the following indicates that your sleeplessness may be a sign of a sleep disorder:

- Irritability or sleepiness during the day

- Inability to stay awake when sitting, reading or watching TV

- Drowsiness during driving

- Difficulty in concentrating

- Slow reaction time

- Frequent emotional outbursts

- Need for caffeinated or energy drinks to get through the day

- Strong need to take a nap during the day

 

Self-Assessment

Many find it helpful to compile a sleep diary (with input from your sleep partner) in which you record your sleep habits, sleeping patterns and daily routine, including:

- Time you went to bed and woke up and total hours of sleep,

- Quality of sleep, time and duration of sleepless periods, and activities performed during sleeplessness (e.g. got up to eat, turned on TV, stayed in bed with eyes closed)

- Food and liquids (including caffeine and alcohol) consumed before bed and time of consumption

- Medications taken before bed, dosage and time

- Feelings and moods at bet time

Reviewing the diary may point to certain behavior that affects sleep (e.g. that consumption of alcohol before bed interferes with sleeping, or that yoga and exercise improves sleep).

 

Types of Sleep Disorders

 

Insomnia - A short term inability to get good quality, restful sleep.  This very common sleep problem can have many causes, such as stress, family problems, jet lag, changed sleep schedule and poor or erratic bedtime habits.  Fortunately, insomnia is a problem that can often be solved by improved sleep hygiene:

- The sleep schedule should be regular.

- Avoid napping during the day.

- Complete the stressful activities and exercise at least a couple of hours before you go to bed.

- Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, meditation etc. before going to bed is highly recommended.

- The bedroom should be cool, quite and dark when you are sleeping. Using eye shades and earplugs will be helpful if there are distractions.

- Avoid coffee, tea or other soft drinks before sleep.

- Usage of nicotine and alcohol should be completely avoided.

Insomnia often is relieved by the use of better pillows and mattresses,  relaxation therapy or by elimination of a stressor.  Medications should be considered a last resort for insomnia, as they generally do not provide lasting benefit and have undesirable side effects.

Sleep Apnea - A serious sleep disorder that can be life-threatening.  Sleep Apnea causes breathing to stop or become extremely shallow during sleep. Breathing pauses can last up to a minute and occur 20 to 30 times per hour. During an apnea episode, a sleeper wakes up in order to breathe, thereby disrupting sleep.  Sufferer's of sleep apnea often snore loudly, frequently wake up gasping or choking for air, and end the night feeling unrefreshed.  Causes of sleep apnea excess weight, nasal congestion or blockage, or a uniquely shaped head, neck or chin.  Treatments include: continuous air pressure masks to keep the  airway open, dental appliances, weight loss, sleeping on the side, or elevating the head during sleep.

Snoring - Often confused with sleep apnea, snoring is caused by a narrowing of the airway.  It can be a significant problem that prevents good quality sleep for both you and your sleep partner.  Snoring can be caused by excess weight, physical abnormalities of the throat, or poor sleeping posture.  Snoring may accompany sleep apnea but not in all cases.  Snoring can often be eliminated by side sleeping , elevating the head during sleep, and by losing weight.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) - This disorder involves a strong urge to move the arms or legs while laying down caused by tingling sensations in the affected limbs. Movement somewhat eases the urges, but only temporarily.  This condition can be relieved through lifestyle changes such as: maintaining a regular sleep schedule, moderate exercise, reduction in caffeine, alcohol and nicotine intake.  Also helpful is weight loss, yoga, and meditation .  Vitamin supplements such as iron. vitamin B, folic acid and magnesium have been known to be helpful.  Your doctor can provide recommendations.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder(PLMD) - Somewhat related to RLS, this condition involves involuntary, rhythmic limb movements while asleep or awake.  Although most people who have RLS also have PLMD, not all of those with PLMD have RLS. Lifestyle changes used to treat RLS have also been effective for treatment of PLMD.

Narcolepsy - This is a serious neurological disorder that causes extreme sleepiness or makes a person fall asleep suddenly with no warning at all.  Falling asleep during activities such as walking, climbing stairs or driving can have disastrous effects.  Causes of narcolepsy are not known but sufferers lack hypocretin, a brain chemical that controls sleep. Although there is no known cure for narcolepsy, a doctor can be helpful in recommending medication and lifestyle changes to minimize symptoms.

 

Selected Sleep Improvement Products

A variety of effective and moderately priced products  are commercially available to minimize the effects of certain sleep disorders caused by poor head positioning, poor body alignment, or blocked air passages. The following, offered  online  by PillowReview and DeluxeComfort are highly recommended:

Better Sleep Pillow - By providing the perfect elevation for your head, the Better Sleep Pillow helps to extend your neck to its limit thereby opening up the air passages, and reducing the breathing difficulties and snoring.

 

Breath Lift Nasal Strips - Breathe Lift nasal strips offer temporary relief from nasal congestion and stuffiness and may also lessen or eliminate snoring. Use while resting, practicing sports, or during the day. This product is safe during pregnancy and is non-addicting or habit forming.


This post was posted in Pillows & Sleep

1 Response to Sleep Disorders - What They Are and What You Can Do About Them

  • A really helpful and great article shared about sleeping disorder and sleeping issues.

    Posted on November 26, 2013 at 5:14 am

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