What Are The Most Common Sleep Disorders And Do I Have One?
Nearly 7 out of 10 Americans have sleep problems – do you have them too?
Sleep is important to ensure that you are in your best health and able to be your most productive during the day. So when you suffer from conditions that ruin your sleep, it can be bad for both your physical and mental health.
There are a number of different sleep disorders that affect your quality of sleep. They can be as obvious as snoring and insomnia, to more complex conditions like sleep paralysis and sleep apnea. So here is a list of some of the most common disorders that can cause problems for your health.
What are the most common sleep disorders?
I’m sure you have a good idea of what sleepwalking is. Sleepwalking is a disorder that makes people get up and walk about while they are asleep. The sleepwalker’s eyes are usually open with a glassy stare as they roam about the house.
It usually occurs while the person is going from a deep sleep into a lighter sleep stage. They are unlikely to realize that they are asleep, nor that they are walking about, so speaking to them is a lost cause. Usually, it is children that sleepwalk, but some adults can do it too.
You are more likely to suffer from sleepwalking if it runs in your family or you are an identical twin. Things such as sleep deprivation, stress, and drugs or alcohol can result in sleepwalking.
Talking In Your Sleep
Most people are likely to sleeptalk at some point in their life, but they will probably not remember anything about it.
Sleep talking (sometimes called somniloquy), is extremely common and undangerous, so it isn’t really considered a medical condition. But it’s interesting, nonetheless!
Sleep mumblings can range from short bursts of singular words to long conversations. It is especially common in children, with over 1 in 10 children continuing conversations whilst asleep. The only issues to your health that may result from sleeptalking are if you are the partner of somebody who consistently sleeptalks, hence keeping you awake at night.
Insomnia is a frustrating sleep disorder as it is a difficulty with either falling asleep or staying asleep. As you can imagine, it is incredibly frustrating and detrimental to your health.
Insomnia can last for just a few nights to weeks and months on end. It is usually the things that cause insomnia that is bad for your health. Things such as depression, chronic stress, physical pain, and medications can cause insomnia, so it is important to address the factors causing your lack of sleep.
If you feel excessively sleepy during the day, then it could be caused by Hypersomnia. Curing hypersomnia can be as simple as changing your sleep patterns to get more hours of sleep a night and changing the medication you are taking. However, sometimes it can be caused by an underlying condition.
You may need blood tests to rule out anaemia or a thyroid problem, and an MRI scan to rule out neurological issues. Generally, hypersomnia is usually caused by simple factors that are easy to fix but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Sleep apnea is one of the more serious sleep disorders that if you find you have it, you should address immediately. It’s where your breathing is disrupted during sleep. Sufferers can stop breathing hundreds of times during a night, starving the brain of oxygen.
Overweight people, men, and people over 40 are at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in heart failure, stroke or hypertension.
While some people believe that sleep paralysis is caused by underlying psychiatric problems, or in some cases ‘demons attacking’, scientists have found a simpler reason. In sleep paralysis cases, the brain is simply struggling to move smoothly through the stages of sleep.
This condition is a feeling of being paralyzed whilst conscious; it can be frightening for sufferers, but it always passes within a couple of minutes. Sleep paralysis occurs either whilst falling asleep or waking up. When you fall asleep, you become less aware of yourself as you drift to sleep. But in sleep paralysis, you are still aware. This is why you are still conscious and notice that you cannot move or speak.
For more information on sleep paralysis, check out this article for the full low-down.
We all know that snoring is more frustrating than serious. But it can be a sign of underlying medical issues that need addressing. Snoring is caused by a minor blockage in the airways, resulting in the tissues of the throat vibrating and creating a loud sound.
Aspects such as being overweight, sleeping flat on your back or drinking alcohol before bed can cause you to snore. So it is pretty simple to cure snoring. But if you find that you’re kept awake by your partner’s loud snoring on a night then be sure to address it so that you can sleep peacefully.
Night sweats are caused by excessive sweating during the night. It is normal to sweat while you sleep due to being too warm in your bedsheets or if your bedroom is hot, but night sweats are hot flashes that drench you through.
To diagnose what is causing your night sweats, your doctor will need a detailed medical history to check that it isn’t caused by an undiagnosed medical condition. Common conditions that can cause night sweats include the menopause, idiopathic hyperhidrosis, infections and it can even be a symptom of cancer. So be sure to consult your doctor if you experience night sweats to make sure that it’s not something menacing causing it.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is the uncontrollable urge to move your legs. Usually due to an uncomfortable feeling in the legs that is made better with movement. Sometimes the arms can be affected too.
People with restless leg syndrome will usually notice the unpleasant feeling once they lie down to rest. Hence whenever they try to go to sleep. This can make it difficult to fall asleep. The sensation is very irritating for sufferers; they don’t usually describe it as painful but just as an uncontrollable need to move their legs.
For further information on restless leg syndrome, check out this article.
If you are having problems with sleep regularly and think you may have a sleep disorder, be sure to consult your doctor. They can help you to evaluate what could be causing your problems and help you on your way to getting a good night’s sleep again.
If you’re struggling to sleep but don’t have a diagnosable condition, you may just need a new routine before bed. Why not try listening to one of our sleep stories? You can find them over on our Sleepiest app. They are proven to help you drift off to sleep quickly and peacefully. 💤