A popular nursery rhyme says “Early to bed, early to rise. Makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.” The importance of sleep and its health benefits have even been disclosed to us since as way back as our childhood. Many people feel that sleep is mostly for those who work extra hard and are badly in need of help, but in truth, sleep is necessary for everybody as even scientists have recommended an average of 8 hours sleep per day for healthy living.
However, as important as sleep is and with its many benefits, there are certain factors which pose a threat to some individuals enjoying this benefits as they prevent them from sleeping. This inability to sleep properly is usually caused by conditions that are known as Sleep Disorders. How does one know that he or she is battling sleep disorders? Are there any symptoms to show? How does one go about solving this issue of sleep disorder? These and many more of the questions in your mind will be answered in the subsequent paragraphs.
There are several ways to know if you are suffering from sleep disorders. Like so many other disorders and sicknesses, it also has symptoms. These symptoms include:
1. difficulty falling or staying asleep
2. daytime fatigue
3. strong urge to take naps during the day
4. irritability or anxiety
5. lack of concentration
These symptoms do not just appear without causes as there is no smoke without a fire. There a plethora of reasons why one can develop a sleep disorder. These causes include:
1. Stress and Anxiety
When one is extremely stressed or emotionally disturbed, it is usually difficult for one to sleep at night as they usually have a negative effect on sleep, preventing one from falling and staying asleep. All these could come in form of nightmares, sleepwalking or sleeptalking to disrupt your sleep.
2. Chronic Pain
Extreme pain can undoubtedly keep you awake, wake you up or prevent you from staying asleep. Chronic pain as a result of arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, persistent headache, inflammatory bowel diseases and fibromyalgia can prevent one from sleeping right. In a situation where one already suffers from a sleep disorder, chronic pain can go on to worsen the sleeping condition of the person.
3. Allergies & Respiratory Problems
Allergies, cold and other respiratory issues make pose as breathing problems and prevent one from sleeping. When one cannot breathe properly, one finds it challenging to sleep and thus, could be said to be suffering from a sleep disorder.
Hormonal imbalances and infection of the urinary tract can cause frequent urination, hence disrupting sleep by making one wake up at night. Ensure to visit a doctor if the frequent urination is accompanied by pain or bleeding.
Sleep disorders come in many types. They include:
This is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. It usually caused by jet lag, stress, hormone, anxiety or digestive problems.
This is a class of sleep disorder that causes abnormal behaviour or movement during sleep. This behaviour includes; sleepwalking, sleeptalking, groaning, nightmares, bedwetting, etc.
3. Restless Leg Syndrome
This is usually as a result of a sensation in the legs which gives an overwhelming urge to move the legs. Although it happens during the day, RLS is prevalent at night.
4. Sleep Apnea
This is a serious medical issue that results in pauses in breathing during sleep. It makes the body takes in less oxygen and thus, causes one to wake up at night.
This is characterized by sudden periods of sleep during the day. One suffering from this disorder usually gets extremely tired and falls asleep without warning. It could also lead to sleep paralysis; the inability to move right after waking up. Although this disorder can happen on its own, it also sometimes associated with certain neurological disorders.
Sleep disorders are usually cured with either of two processes or a combination of both; medical treatment or lifestyle changes.
Medical treatment for sleep disturbances might include any of the following:
1. sleeping pills.
2. melatonin supplements.
3. allergy or cold medication.
4. medications for any underlying health issues.
5. breathing device or surgery (usually for sleep apnea).
6. a dental guard (usually for teeth grinding).
Lifestyle adjustments can greatly improve your quality of sleep, especially when they’re done along with medical treatments. You may want to consider:
1. incorporating more vegetables and fish into your diet, and reducing sugar intake.
2. reducing stress and anxiety by exercising.
3. creating and sticking to a regular sleeping schedule.
4. drinking less water before bedtime.
5. limiting your caffeine intake, especially in the late afternoon or evening.
6. decreasing tobacco and alcohol use.
7. eating smaller low carbohydrate meals before bedtime.
If you have any other suggestions that we left out here, feel free to share with the other readers in the comment section.