Our lifestyle, ambition, and pursuits all lead to a very chaotic mix of things around us. This often results in stress and the fact that we don’t get time to rejuvenate. The first thing that gets affected because of all these factors is our sleep.
While experiencing difficulty in falling asleep is nothing serious, when this sleep problem becomes chronic and starts affecting your daily routine, it may be characterised as a sleeping disorder.
So, what is a sleeping disorder? It is a condition that interferes with your ability to enjoy optimum sleep. These could include excessive sleeping, trouble falling asleep, or falling asleep at the wrong time of the day.
While it seems like a simple enough problem, sleeping disorders have a serious and far-fetched impact on your health, work, and personal life. Read on to know more about this condition and ways to reduce its impact on your life.
What are the different types of sleeping disorders?
There are different types of sleeping disorders. Some of the most common types of sleeping disorders include:
- Insomnia: This sleep problem occurs when you are unable to fall or stay asleep. Its frequency determines its nature of being transient, intermittent, or chronic.
- Parasomnias: This is characterised by abnormal behaviour during sleep. These include sleep talking, bedwetting, nightmares, sleep talking, or teeth grinding.
- Restless leg syndrome: This is an overpowering urge to move your legs during sleep.
- Sleep apnea: This is a serious medical issue that causes your breathing to pause during sleep.
- Narcolepsy: This is a genetic sleeping disorder that makes you feel excessively tired suddenly and fall asleep without any warning.
What are some symptoms of sleeping disorders?
Everyone has different symptoms associated with sleeping problems at night. These depend on your age and the severity of the disorder. They include:
- Difficulty in falling asleep or staying in a state of sleep.
- Feeling fatigued throughout the day.
- Your bed partner reports loud snorts, grunts, gasping, or choking sounds.
- Your body jerks during sleep.
- Abnormal breathing patterns during the day.
- Feeling anxious, depressed, or irritable.
- Lack of concentration or disinterest in daily activities.
- Unintended weight gain.
- Inability to control emotions.
- Getting told by others about your sleepy looks.
What are the causes of sleeping disorders?
Sleeping disorders have many underlying causes. Some may be extrinsic i.e. related to your lifestyle and habits, while some may be due to some underlying health problems. Some of the most common sleep problems causes include:
- Suffering from excessive stress and anxiety is one of the most common causes of sleeping problems at night.
- Dependence on alcohol or smoking.
- Genetic factors
- Having an erratic schedule.
- Medical issues such as respirational problems, allergies, frequent flu or cold may make it difficult for you to breathe while sleeping.
- Suffering from chronic pains due to conditions such as arthritis, migraine, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc., may make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
- Consuming too much caffeine.
- Aging is a common cause of sleep issues.
How are sleeping disorders diagnosed?
There are several ways to diagnose sleeping disorders such as:
- Your doctor may ask you to keep a sleep diary to note your patterns and rule out underlying health conditions.
- Polysomnography (PSG): This is a detailed sleep study that measures your levels of oxygen, movements of the body, and the corresponding brain waves to assess how they are disrupting your sleep.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG): This test checks for your brain’s electrical activity to check for potential problem areas.
- Multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT): This is a specialized daytime napping study for diagnosing narcolepsy that’s done along with PSG.
How are sleeping disorders treated medically?
There are several clinical sleeping problem solutions depending on the cause including:
- Sleep-inducing pills.
- Medications for cold or flu.
- Surgery or breathing device in case of sleep apnea.
- A dental guard device for teeth grinding.
How are sleeping disorders prevented or managed?
Thinking of how to treat insomnia at home? Besides medical management of sleeping disorders, there are several lifestyle-related sleeping problem solutions including:
- One of the easiest and the most effective sleeping problem solution is to create an environment that’s conducive to sleep. Your bedroom area must be temperature-regulated and dark.
- Ensure that there are no noisy distractions where you sleep. In case you can’t help with these noises, you can try meditation music to calm yourself and induce sleep.
- When children are unable to sleep, you can try telling them bedtime stories. These bedtime stories for kids let them focus their minds and fall asleep.
- One of the best ways of insomnia how to cure is to go to bed with a positive mindset that you will get adequate sleep that night. Always sleeping with negativity and worrying about your sleep is not going to help.
- Don’t use your bed as a workspace or an eating place. Keeping it as a place sacrosanct just for sleeping will help you fall asleep faster.
- Keep stress and anxiety at bay before you hit the sack. Worrying about the next day will surely make your sleep fitful. If it helps make a to-do list for the next day for you to sleep in peace.
- One of the most important sleeping problem solutions is to keep a regulated sleeping and waking routine. This means that you sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning.
- To reduce the occurrence of sleeping problems, avoid excessive sleeping or long naps during the day. Naps especially after 3 pm must be avoided.
- Avoid smoking, drinking, and having caffeine at least four hours before sleeping to prevent sleeping disorders.
- Try sleep meditation to help you relax. You can try different techniques such as mindfulness meditation, body scan meditation, or guided meditation. This helps in increasing the production of melatonin, which is the sleep hormone, reduces your heart rate, and decreases your blood pressure. Using music for meditation will help you concentrate better.
- One of the best ways of insomnia how to cure is to get active during the day. One of the best ways is to do yoga poses specially designed to treat insomnia. These include Uttanasana, Balasana, and Halasana.