Sleep is necessary for our health and well-being because it helps repair and regenerate the body. Conversely, it also allows the brain to consolidate memories and process information, which is essential for learning and productivity. For this reason, everyone is encouraged to get a recommended minimum of 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
As straightforward as sleeping may be, however, it is unfortunate that only some have the luxury to get enough of it. Sleep disorders are among many factors preventing people from getting quality sleep and can also indicate an underlying health condition. This said, few people know what sleep disorders are, much less what causes them.
#1 – Insomnia
As the most common sleep disorder — affecting an estimated 30% of the population — Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep for an extended period. The condition can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Acute insomnia typically lasts for a few days or weeks and is usually caused by stress, anxiety, or routine changes. On the other hand, chronic insomnia can last for months or even years and can be brought on by an underlying health condition, such as depression or anxiety.
#2 – Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a person to stop breathing for short periods during sleep, disrupting the cycle and leading to daytime fatigue. This is a severe condition known to increase the risk of developing hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. There are two types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
In OSA, the airway becomes blocked, preventing air from reaching the lungs. This can be caused by the tongue or soft palate blocking the airway or the muscles relaxing and collapsing.
Central Sleep Apnea
In CSA, the brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control breathing. This has been linked to various conditions, including stroke, heart failure, and Parkinson’s disease.
#3 – Restless Leg Syndrome
As the name suggests, restless leg syndrome is a condition that causes an overwhelming urge to move the legs. This can be highly uncomfortable and can make it difficult to fall asleep. In most cases, there is no known cause for RLS, though there are instances where it can be linked to genetics.
#4 – Parasomnias
Parasomnias are a category of sleep disorders involving abnormal behaviours or events during sleep. These include sleepwalking, sleep talking, night terrors, and sleep paralysis. Parasomnias are often linked to other disorders, such as sleep apnea, but they can also have a connection to stress or medications.
#5 – Shift Work Disorder
Shift work disorder is a sleep disorder affecting people who work irregular hours, such as night shifts. This can lead to insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness, leading to fatigue and decreased productivity. Treatment often involves lifestyle changes, such as adjusting your sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine before shifts.
#6 – Narcolepsy
Excessive sleepiness during the day leading to falling asleep suddenly and without warning, are characteristics of narcolepsy. Dysfunction of the nervous system is the cause, and treatment often involves medications to help control the symptoms.
#7 – Excessive Sleepiness
Excessive sleepiness is characterised by persistent tiredness and fatigue, even after getting enough sleep. Various factors, including sleep deprivation, disorders, and certain medical conditions, are to blame. Treatment involves lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medications.
#8 – Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder
Non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder is a circadian rhythm issue affecting the sleep-wake cycle. It’s similar to daytime sleepiness, but symptoms are more severe. Treatment regularly consists of medications and light therapy.
Consulting a Sleep Specialist
If you are struggling with sleep issues and cannot resolve them yourself, you may need to visit a sleep specialist who can assess your sleep habits, diagnose your sleep disorder, and recommend the appropriate treatment.
The type and severity of your sleep disorder will determine the treatment your sleep specialist will prescribe. If it’s mild, you might only need to visit your sleep specialist for a consultation. However, if your sleep disorder is more severe, you may need to stay at a clinic for a few days to undergo a sleep study.
Sleep disorders are never easy to deal with — but they can be effectively managed with the right treatment plan. If you think you may have one, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and ask for a referral to a sleep specialist. You will be on your way to a better night’s sleep when you do!
If you’re looking for insomnia solutions, Seniors Plus can help you! We offer speciality products such as reclining chairs and comfortable mattresses to ensure you get quality sleep, all for affordable prices. Visit our website today to request a quote!