Everyone sleeps, however some better than others. To date, there are over 96 different diagnosable sleep disorders. A sleep disorder is defined as “a condition that results in changes in the way you sleep.” Not only can they affect your overall health, they can also disturb your safety and quality of life. Generally, sleep disorders cause excessive daytime sleepiness, irregular breathing, or increased movement during sleep. In today’s blog, we are going to highlight the top five sleep disorders:
Insomnia: Insomnia refers to a person’s inability to fall and stay asleep, waking up frequently throughout the night or in the early morning hours. This disorder can be intermittent or chronic, depending on how often it occurs.
- Symptoms- When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, you can become irritable, depressed, or anxious. You may find it difficult to pay attention, focus on tasks, or remember information.
Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea happens when you experience abnormal breathing patterns while you are sleeping. It is caused by a blockage in the airway, due to a collapse of the soft tissue in your throat or failure of the brain to signal the muscles to breath. Often, when it occurs, your body forces itself awake to resume regular breathing.
- Symptoms- Sleep apnea symptoms can range from heavy snoring, waking up gasping for air or feeling like you’re choking, dry mouth, headache, daytime sleepiness, depression, and weight gain.
Narcolepsy: Narcolepsy is a rare, but chronic, condition described as extreme sleepiness or falling asleep randomly during the day. Sufferers have a sudden desire to sleep at any moment, with or without warning, and narcolepsy can occur occasionally or many times throughout a single period.
- Symptoms- Those who struggle with this disorder may suddenly lose muscle function, have an inability to talk or move upon waking up or falling asleep, and experience vivid, dream like episodes.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder: REM sleep behavior disorder occurs when an individual has an increased muscle tone during their sleep cycle. This results in engaging in movements or abnormal activity while sleeping, which often can become dangerous for their partner in bed.
- Symptoms- Aggressive movements, such as kicking, punching, and arm flailing can occur during sleep. In addition, the sleeper may engage in noises, talking, laughing, or shouting.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): Unlike the disorders above, restless leg syndrome is a type of sleep movement and neurological condition that happens while they’re still awake. Those who suffer from this get an uncomfortable sensation and urge to move their legs when trying to fall asleep.
- Symptoms- Nighttime leg twitching may ensue in your body, causing disturbances in sleep.
Sleep problems are pervasive and it is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans experience one or more disorders on a daily basis. If you believe you may be suffering from a sleep disorder or are someone who struggles with sleep, make sure to contact your doctor or primary physician to discuss your symptoms and available treatment options.