Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Is it hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep though the night? Do you wake up feeling tired or feel very sleepy during the day, even if you have had enough sleep? You might have a sleep disorder. The most common kinds are:
- Insomnia – a hard time falling or staying asleep
- Sleep apnea – breathing interruptions during sleep
- Restless legs syndrome – a tingling or prickly sensation in the legs
- Narcolepsy – daytime “sleep attacks”
Nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, sleep talking, head banging, wetting the bed and grinding your teeth are kinds of sleep problems called parasomnias. There are treatments for most sleep disorders. Sometimes just having regular sleep habits can help. Sleep disorders and other sleeping problems cause more than just sleepiness. Poor quality sleep can have a negative impact on your energy, emotional balance, productivity, and health. Sleeping well is essential to your physical health and emotional well-being. Unfortunately, even minimal sleep loss can take a toll on your mood, energy, efficiency, and ability to handle stress. Ignoring sleep problems and disorders can lead to poor health, accidents, impaired job performance, and relationship stress. If you want to feel your best, stay healthy, and perform up to your potential, sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.
Insomnia: The most common type of sleep disorder
Insomnia is basically, inability to sleep. The body stays awake during periods of rest, followed by loss of energy, mood swings, lethargy, inability to focus or concentrate, irritability and decrease/loss of appetite in some cases.
Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder, or dyssomnia, characterized by excessive sleepiness and sleep attacks at inappropriate times, such as while at work. People with narcolepsy often experience disturbed nocturnal sleep and an abnormal daytime sleep pattern, which often is confused with insomnia. Narcoleptics, when falling asleep, generally experience the REM stage of sleep within 10 minutes; whereas most people do not experience REM sleep until an hour or so later. Another one of the many problems that some narcoleptics experience is cataplexy, a sudden muscular weakness brought on by strong emotions (though many people experience cataplexy without having an emotional trigger). Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder. It is not caused by mental illness or psychological problems. It is most likely affected by a number of genetic abnormalities that affect specific biologic factors in the brain, combined with an environmental trigger during the brain’s development, such as a virus.The main characteristic of narcolepsy is Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS), even after adequate night time sleep. The classic symptoms of the disorder, often referred to as the “tetrad of narcolepsy,” are cataplexy, sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Other symptoms include automatic behaviors.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which your breathing temporarily stops during sleep due to blockage of the upper airways. These pauses in breathing interrupt your sleep, leading to many awakenings each hour. While most people with sleep apnea don’t remember these awakenings, they feel the effects in other ways, such as exhaustion during the day, irritability and depression, and decreased productivity. Sleep apnea is a serious, and potentially life-threatening, sleep disorder. Sleep apnea can be successfully treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a mask-like device that delivers a stream of air while you sleep. Losing weight, elevating the head of the bed, and sleeping on your side can also help in cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud, chronic snoring.
- Frequent pauses in breathing during sleep.
- Gasping, snorting, or choking during sleep.
- Feeling unrefreshed after waking and sleepy during the day, no matter how much time you spent in bed.
- Waking up with shortness of breath, chest pains, headaches, nasal congestion, or a dry throat.