It isn’t uncommon to have trouble sleeping every now and then. But if it is a regular struggle every night to fall asleep, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. Lack of quality of sleep can have a negative impact on your energy level, emotional balance, and health. It is important to know the symptoms of common sleep disorders, how you can help yourself, and when you need to turn to a doctor.
Understanding the Problem
In many cases, people in good health tend to sleep well, whereas those suffering from repeated sleeping problems might also have an underlying medical or mental health problem – whether minor or serious. You can tell when someone had a rough night; sleeping problems affect your mood, energy, efficiency, and ability to handle stress. Ignoring sleep disorders and problems might lead to poor health, accidents, impaired job performance, and relationship stress.
Remember: Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.
Although we’ve all experienced trouble sleeping once in a while, it isn’t normal to feel sleep during the day, to have problems getting to sleep at night, or to wake up feeling exhausted. If you’ve struggled for so long that this seems normal to you, it’s time to get help. Little things you can do for yourself are tracking your symptoms and sleep patterns, logging this information will help your doctor identify where you need the most help and where you might be doing something wrong.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
Since it isn’t uncommon to occasionally experience sleeping problems, how do you know if you have a one-time case of restlessness or a sleep problem?
Start with the list of symptoms and sleep patterns. Look out for any daytime signals of sleep deprivation. If you are experiences any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, you should consider you might have a sleep disorder:
- Do you feel irritable or sleepy during the day?
- Do you have difficulty staying awake when sitting still, watching television or reading?
- Do you fall asleep or feel very tired while driving?
- Do you have difficulty concentrating?
- Do you often get told that you look tired?
- Do you react slowly?
- Do you have trouble controlling your emotions?
- Do you feel like you need a nap almost every day?
- Do you require caffeinated beverages to keep yourself going?
What’s the Most Common Sleep Disorder?
Insomnia is the inability to get the amount of sleep you need to wake up feeling rested and refreshed and is often a symptom of another problem as such as stress, anxiety, depression, or an underlying health condition. Sometimes it is a result of lifestyle choices such as the medications you’re taking, lack of exercise, jet lag, or the amount of coffee you drink.
Common signs and symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night or getting back to sleep after waking during the night
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Your sleep feels light, fragmented, or exhausting
- You need to take something – sleeping pills, nightcap, supplements – in order to get to sleep
- Sleepiness and low energy during the day
Be mindful of your sleep habits and learn to relax. The good news is that most cases of insomnia can be cured with lifestyle changes – it’s all about you and your choices – and not having to turn to medications.
Other Common Disorders
This is when your breathing temporarily stops during sleep due to blockage of the upper airways. These pauses in breathing interrupt your sleep and while most people with sleep apnea don’t remember waking up, they might feel exhausted during the day or a number of other symptoms of sleep disorders.
Sleep apnea is serious and potentially life-threatening. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have this disorder, see your health care professional right away. Be aware of these symptoms:
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Frequent pauses in breathing during sleep
- Gasping, snorting, or choking during sleep
- Feeling exhausted 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
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
RLS is a disorder that causes and almost irresistible urge to move your legs or arms. The urge to move occurs when you’re resting or lying down and is usually due to uncomfortable, tingly, aching, or creeping sensations. Symptoms of RLS include:
- Uncomfortable sensations within the legs, accompanied by strong urge to move
- The leg sensations are triggered by rest and get worse at night
- The uncomfortable sensations temporarily get better when you move, stretch, or massage your legs
- Repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep
Narcolepsy is a disorder with excessive, uncontrollable, daytime sleepiness. It’s caused by a dysfunction of the brain mechanism that controls sleeping and walking. Associated with this disorder are “sleep attacks” which trigger in the middle of talking, working, or even driving. The signs and symptoms of narcolepsy to look out for are:
- Seeing or hearing things when you’re drowsy or starting to dream before you’re fully asleep
- Suddenly feeling weak or losing control of your muscles when laughing, angry, or experiencing strong emotions
- Dreaming right away after going to sleep or having intense dreams
- Feeling paralyzed and unable to move when you’re waking up or dozing off
So What Can You Do?
If you think you are having symptoms of any of these sleep disorders, it would be wise to seek help. To discuss your sleeping habits and how your sleep problems could be affecting your health, just schedule a Wellness Consultation with wellness expert, Dr Donald. Jones. Our Life in Motion Wellness Program is specifically tailored to meet your health goals. If you would like to learn more about us and our program, feel free to attend a free Health Presentation and learn how we can help with your overall health and lifestyle. At Omni Health and Wellness Center, We will work together to take you to your optimal health level and that includes better sleep quality.