5 Various Sleep Issues and Their Remedies
What are sleep disorders?
Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that affect the ability to sleep well consistently. Whether caused by a medical issue or excessive stress, sleep disorders are becoming increasingly common in the United States.
In fact, more than one-third of adults in the United States report getting less than 7 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Over 70 percent of high school students report getting less than 8 hours of sleep on weeknights.
What are the various types of sleep disorders?
Insomnia is a sleep disorderthat prevents individuals from falling asleep or staying asleep. It can be caused by jet lag, stress, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, or digestive issues.
Insomnia can negatively impact overall health and quality of life.
Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, leading to reduced oxygen intake.
There are two types:
Obstructive sleep apnea, where the flow of air is blocked or restricted due to narrowed airway space, and
Central sleep apnea, where there is a problem with the connection between the brain and the muscles that control breathing.
Parasomnias are a category of sleep disorders that cause abnormal movements and behaviors during sleep. They include sleepwalking, sleep talking, moaning, nightmares, bedwetting, and teeth grinding or jaw clenching.
Restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, often accompanied by a tingling sensation. While these symptoms can occur during the day, they are most common at night.
RLS is often associated with certain medical conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD) and Parkinson’s disease, but the exact cause is not always known.
Narcolepsy is a type of sleep disorderwhere individuals experience sudden and overwhelming sleepiness while awake. This means that they may suddenly feel extremely tired and fall asleep unexpectedly.
The disordercan also cause sleep paralysis, which may temporarily render individuals unable to move upon waking up. While narcolepsy can occur on its own, it is also linked to certain neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis.
How are sleep disorders treated?
Clinical treatment for sleep disorders may include any of the following:
- Sleeping pills
- Melatonin supplements
- Allergy or cold medication
- Medications for underlying medical conditions
- Breathing devices or surgery (typically for sleep apnea)
- A dental guard (usually for teeth grinding)
Lifestyle changes can greatly improve the quality of sleep, especially when done in conjunction with clinical treatments. You may want to consider:
- Incorporating more vegetables and fish into your diet and reducing sugar intake
- Reducing stress and anxiety through exercise and stretching
- Establishing and sticking to a regular sleep schedule
- Drinking less water before bedtime
- Limiting caffeine intake, especially in the late afternoon or evening
- Reducing tobacco and alcohol use
- Maintaining a healthy weight based on your doctor’s recommendations
- Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can also significantly improve sleep quality. While you may be tempted to sleep in on weekends, this can make it more difficult to wake up and fall asleep during the workweek.