About Sleep Disorders:
Sleep takes approximately one third of our lives, and a growing number of physicians believe that it should receive more attention from the medical community. Researchers have linked sleep-related syndromes to hypertension, stroke, congestive heart failure, depression, and an overall decreased quality of life.
The many sleep researches that have been made through the years have brought up the following facts:
- Sleep plays an important role in overall health.
- We sleep considerably less now than we did 100 years ago.
- Over 40 million Americans suffer from a serious sleep disorder.
- Most Americans will suffer from a sleep disorder at some point in their lives.
- Sleeplessness significantly affects the general function during the day.
- Sleepiness poses a major risk to commuters and shift workers.
Sleeping Disorders types:
A sleep disorder is a physical and psychological condition or disturbance of sleep and wakefulness caused by abnormalities that occur during sleep or by abnormalities of specific sleep mechanisms. Although sleep disorders exist during sleep, recognizable symptoms manifest themselves during the day. Accurate diagnosis requires a polysomnogram, widely known as sleep test.
Here is a list of some well known sleep disorders:
Sleep Apnea – one of the most common sleep disorders known. It is characterized by loud, constant snoring and repeated arousals caused by an obstruction of the airways and disordered breathing and is known in 3 forms – obstructive, central and mixed. The obstructive kind is the most common, as well as the most serious one.
Snoring – probably the most common condition among all sleeping disorders. It is a noise produced by a sleeping individual in which the soft palate and the uvula vibrate during breathing. It is a sign that the breathing airway is not completely open. The unpleasant and often annoying sound associated with snoring comes from efforts to force air through the narrowed passageway.
Insomnia– a sleeping disorder that means inability to fall asleep. Insomnia often disrupts daily routine and can result from a diet, intake of caffeine or alcohol, emotional difficulties, stress or an underlying disease. It may cause different problems during the day such as tiredness, a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating and irritability. Insomnia can be classified to 3 – transient, intermittent and chronic.
Narcolepsy– Narcolepsy is a condition characterized by excessive and uncontrollable daytime sleepiness. The Narcolepsy sleep attacks can occur at anytime, even while the person is engaged in an activity. During sleep, people who suffer from Narcolepsy have an abnormal sleep pattern: They enter REM sleep prematurely without going through the normal sequence of sleep stages. Patients with narcolepsy often feel tiredness through most of the time. Other symptoms of narcolepsy include cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hypnologic hallucinations.
RLS and PLMD– these are common sleep disorders among elderly. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological condition in which patients experience irrepressible sensations in the legs or arms while sitting or lying still. Terms used to describe restless legs syndrome may include creepy, crawly, pulling, tingling, itching, or gnawing. Unlike other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, RLS occurs only when lying in bed and not during daily routine activities. Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) causes jerking in the legs or arms that occurs frequently during resting or sleeping.
Hypersomnya– this condition refers to either excessive sleepiness during the day or extended, overly long periods of nighttime sleep. As with most sleep disorders, hypersomnia is underreported because many people inaccurately believe that always feeling sleepy and taking naps are consider normal behavior. This phenomenon is mostly common with teenagers and young adults.