When we hear about sleep disorders, we generally hear about those who sleepwalk and can’t sleep which is known as insomnia, however often we wonder why sleep disorders are becoming a prominent problem in today’s society. Today according to Wikipedia, there are a total of 14 different disorders varying from eye twitching to restless legs. Several of these problems are treatable and even preventable when monitored by a doctor or specialized health expert. Sleep disorders can be extremely dangerous when they go undiagnosed. Many people who are suffering from this disorder are dealing with a lot of life threatening issues because having a sleep disorder can disrupt you from living your normal day-to-day life.
This can overtake a person if they’re spending more time stressing over their condition than getting the appropriate amount of sleep. The problem with many people that are dealing with a sleep disorder is that they’re not aware of it being a problem until they see it affecting their job and day-to-day life. Those who suffer from this can also develop depression because they feel like they’re unable to do any of the things they’re used to doing if they’ve been diagnosed with a sleep disorder.
Individuals are given a test called the Polysomnogram that is used to determine and diagnose sleep disorders so specialists and doctors can plan a treatment designed for that individual since not all treatments are the same. According to Wikipedia they list the common treatment options for sleep disorder are: behavioral/psychotherapeutic, medications (Rozerem, Ambien, Ambien CR and Lunesta are common prescribed sleeping pills given for those diagnosed with a sleep disorder), and various other somatic treatments that are given. Sometimes people with disorders such as narcolepsy usually have their brain activity measured to see where they are reaching peak points of sleeping so they can be treated since narcoleptics can’t really work on jobs that require them to operate machinery or various other things because they have to be alert and awake to know what they’re doing.
Many people who are diagnosed with a sleep disorder are usually treated medicinally for whatever time period the doctor prescribes and keeps track of the individual’s condition. Having a sleep disorder can make people feel like they’re not normal and are sick when it’s not a sickness and that you can deal with the issue with medication and proper therapy to retrain your body to sleep on a normal scale.
The average individual sleeps anywhere between 6-8 hours, however the most anyone sleeps is 10 hours. Take note, that people who sleep more than the regular number of hours tend to throw their bodies off due to the fact that naturally sleep and awake when the day changes. It’s ideal to get the right amount of rest because of the fact that your immune system can stress out when you don’t get any rest which can also cause various other medical and health issues from the lack of rest.
This can be a problem with mostly younger people because you find that lifestyles in this day and age cause the use of drugs, drinking, smoking, and a poor diet consisting of a lot of junk food and a lack of exercise and maintaining physical health.
How to Tell whether You Have a Sleep Disorder?
Many people have an undiagnosed sleep disorder. They may feel very sleepy during the day. They may have difficulty falling to sleep or staying asleep. Friends or family members may tell them they look extremely tired. They may experience mood changes, irritability or become excessively emotional. Usually they have difficulty listening, focusing, or remembering important things. These are all symptoms of sleep deprivation, and perhaps of a sleep disorder.
A person that has an undiagnosed sleep disorder usually responds to the question, “What is the problem with your sleep,” with one of five answers. Those responses will certainly be;
“I have difficulty falling asleep”
“I have difficulty staying awake”
“I can’t get up in the morning”
“I seem to do awkward things in my sleep”
“I can’t sleep because of my partner”
The particular response chosen helps to narrow down the possibility of a specific type of sleep disorder.
When an individual says, “I can’t fall asleep” it can mean several things. There could be a problem when initially going to bed, after waking up in the middle of the night, or in the early morning hours.
Many people have the problem of unable to fall asleep when they go to bed. This is called sleep latency. Sleep latency can be extremely serious symptom of certain sleep disorders, including sleep onset insomnia, delayed sleep phase disorder, shift work, restless leg syndrome or paradoxical insomnia. Many times the problem is unable to stay asleep, which is sleep fragmentation. Usually an individual with this problem can fall to sleep easily when they go to bed, however wake up often throughout the night. If a person wakes up very early in the morning and cannot return to sleep, it could be an indicator of advanced sleep phase disorder or sleep maintenance insomnia.
If the answer to the question is “I can’t stay awake” and the individual is falling asleep at inappropriate times there may be a sleep disorder such as narcolepsy, periodic limb movement disorder, obstructive or central sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, shift work or advanced sleep phase disorder.
Those that say, “I can’t get up in the morning” and take an hour or more to fully wake from their sleep may suffer from excessive sleep inertia. They have difficulty making the transition from sleep to being awake. Sleep disorders that could be responsible for are excessive sleep inertia are sleep apnea and delayed sleep phase disorder.
An individual that responds to the question with “I do awkward things in my sleep” may find that their sleep is full of surprises. Sleepwalking, Sleep horrors, confusional arousals, Rapid Eye Movement behavior disorder, nightmares, sleep-related eating disorder and bruxism are all types of sleep disorders known as parasomnia.
If an individual responses “I can’t sleep because of my partner” snoring, sleep apnea, bruxism, restless leg syndrome, or periodic limb movement disorder may be the sleep disorder responsible.
So, “What is the problem with your sleep?”
Sleep Disorder and Teenagers!
There is a sleep disorder that affects teenagers, between seven to ten percent, is called Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, also referred to as DNS. Most teenagers outgrow this disorder by the time they reach adulthood. Less than one percent of adults are believed to have DSP. Often people mistake this sleep disorder for insomnia.
Left on their own, individuals with delayed sleep phase disorder stay up until very late, sometimes until 4 or 5 a.m. They like to get up extremely late in the morning or early afternoon. Often they are referred to as night owls.
Many teenagers stay up late in the night and sleep till late in the morning. Sometimes this is because they want to socialize during that time of the day. However, it can also be due to the natural delay in the circadian sleep/ wake rhythm at their age of growth.
Teenagers with this sleep disorder usually have a very hard time getting up in the morning for school. Even if they go to sleep at a regular time, such as 11 p.m., they toss and turn for hours like a person with insomnia. The difference is, unlike an insomniac, individuals with delayed sleep phase disorder have no difficulty staying asleep. They do have a very hard time getting up early in the morning. Teenagers with this sleep disorder are exhausted throughout the day and may even fall asleep in the classroom. Precise cause of this sleep disorder is still not known. However, it is known for certain that it is a circadian rhythm problem.
Treatment for this sleep disorder is available for individuals that need to get onto a more conventional sleep/ wake schedule. The kinds of treatments include bright light, chronotherapy, melatonin and over- the-counter prescribed sleeping pills.
Using bright light to trick the brain’s circadian clock is the bright light treatment, for delayed sleep phase disorder. If it is administered within a few hours of the body’s lowest temperature at night, exposure to bright light shifts the circadian rhythm.
Using chronotherapy as a treatment for a person with delayed sleep phase disorder requires a block of time one week long. Bedtime is delayed, each day, by three hours successively. For instance, for someone who falls asleep at 2 a.m. but wishes to go to sleep at 11 p.m., his or her bedtime is moved to 5 a.m. on the initial day. The following day it is moved to 8 a.m. and continues this cycle for a week. A teenager suffering with delayed sleep phase disorder needs a week off from school in order to complete this therapy. Once the desired bedtime is reached, it is extremely important to maintain a constant wake up time.
There are several treatments involving various drugs used to treat delayed sleep phase disorder. Melatonin has been successful in changing the sleep cycle of individuals with this sleep disorder. Prescription medication such as Ramelteon, and various other sleeping pills, has actually been successful in treating teenagers and adults with delayed sleep phase disorder.
If your teenager has trouble falling asleep and always wants to stay up late, be aware of the possibility that a sleep disorder may exist.
Sleep Disorder – A Growing Concern in the United States
It is estimated that approximately 60 – 80 million people have some kind of sleep disorder, in the United States alone. This number continues to rise. Several of the factors for the increasing numbers are the aging of the American population, the change in our lifestyle and the obesity epidemic. Of course there are various other factors that can lead to a sleep disorder, such as, stress and anxiety, shift work, illness or genetics.
There are various types of sleep disorders. They vary in severity from minor to life threatening. From infants to the aged, people of any age, can be affected by a sleep disorder at any time of their lives.
As sleep disorders increase in the United States, so do the dangers associated with them
Tiredness leads to slower mental alertness and a slower response time. This can be a very dangerous combination. Between 20 – 25% of all major vehicular accidents involve an exhausted driver. Many of these drivers suffer from some type of sleep disorder and may not even be aware of it. A large number of accidents that occur at home or at work are also due to people with some kind of sleeping problem. Sleep disorder, combined with the cost of the accidents and illnesses it causes, results in the American people and the federal government spending billions of dollars.
Lack of sleep is directly related to many physical disorders and conditions. Individuals that do not get sufficient sleep generally suffer more from headaches, sore joints and stomach problems. Often a sleep disorder is an underlying cause of heart problems, lung conditions and diabetes mellitus. Sleep disorders can also affect the psychological well being of people stricken with them. Anxiety,mood changes, eating disorders and depression can result.
Many individuals still do not think of a sleeping problem as a medical problem. Because of this, many never inform their physician that they are having a problem with sleep. Even if they see their doctor on a regular basis for an illness or condition, they never discuss their difficulty sleeping.
As the American public and medical community become more informed and aware of the symptoms, effects and severity of various sleep disorders, more and more cases are being diagnosed. Patients are being treated with medication, oxygen, cpap machines and even surgery. There are better screening techniques and diagnostic tests, which find sleep disorder problems earlier. Overnight sleep centers to test sleep patterns no longer resemble a hospital room. They are now designed to look more like a hotel room, to make the patient feel much more comfortable. In some cases, due to computerization and miniaturization, equipment can be so small that some screening can even be done at home.
Sleep is not a choice or a luxury. It is the basic element of living and of good health. If you think you, your companion or your child may be suffering from a sleep disorder see your physician. A sleep disorder is a medical problem that can be aided.