What are most common sleep disorders? How are they treated?
Sleep disorders are medical conditions that affect an individual’s ability to sleep daily. There are numerous reasons that can contribute to this disorder. It might not seem serious, but sleeping issues are actually a global epidemic that hampers the health standard and life quality of about 45% of the global population. This is a clear indication that sleep disorders are critical conditions and must be treated with equal urgency.
Now, most people often face sleep problems due to busy schedules or too much stress. It is considered normal. But, if this continues on a daily basis for a prolonged time, seeking medical attention is the best move. It can eventually interfere with daily activities. The feeling of tiredness, along with loss of energy and mood swings, can threaten your physical health.
Moreover, the manifestation of sleeping problems can also be a sign of other medical disorders. In this case, the issue may resolve when the medical condition improves. But, if it is not related to other health disorders, then you will need appropriate treatment. It is vital to opt for it immediately without delay. Even if it seems harmless, it can cause a lot of health issues in the future.
Some common sleep disorders and their treatment
There are about 80 types of sleep disorders. Here, some of the most common sleep problems are listed. Moreover, their treatment methods are also discussed.
- Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a common but serious sleeping problem. In this, the person is unable to breathe properly while sleeping. As a result, they can snore loudly or make some choking sounds. Also, the person wakes up as there is oxygen deprivation in the brain and body.
Some symptoms include feeling tired, sore throat, lack of energy, snoring, headaches, etc. There are different treatment methods for sleep apnea. You can opt for the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy. Moreover, you also have the option of surgery and positional therapy. It is vital that you take the suggestion of a sleep physician before trying anything.
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. Here, the person finds it difficult to sleep or even stay asleep for longer durations. There are two main types, namely – chronic insomnia and transient insomnia (short-term). You can look out for symptoms like inability to sleep though you are exhausted, restless sleep, feeling unrefreshed, etc.
Now, the treatment for insomnia is mostly personalized. It is mainly dependent on the cause of the disorder. If needed, the doctor will prescribe the required medications. However, there also some non-medical treatment routes like cognitive behavior therapy, stimulus control, and lifestyle changes.
- Sleep paralysis
Sleep paralysis is a disorder in which you cannot move even when you are conscious. It is absolutely terrifying. This can happen two times – while waking up from sleep (hypnopompic sleep paralysis) and while falling asleep (hypnagogic sleep paralysis).
Apart from the inability to move, there are some other symptoms. These include sweating, inability to speak, headache, the feeling of conscious awakeness, muscle pain, etc. Seeking the aid of a healthcare professional is the best decision. There is no particular treatment to help prevent sleep paralysis. But, the doctors can suggest multiple treatment methods like medications or changes in lifestyle.
- Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a disorder in which the person has the uncontrollable urge to shift the legs while resting. It is accompanied by uncomfortable sensations of burning, aching, bugs crawling, and tingling in your legs. These symptoms usually occur during rest times or when you want to sleep. It has an immediate effect on sleep, making it impossibly difficult. As a result, you fail to have proper sleep.
There are varied treatment methods for RLS. However, sometimes improving the underlying condition can fix the problem. But, if there is no associated condition, then the doctor can offer certain medications and guidance on lifestyle changes.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes a person to fall asleep during the day, no matter the time or place. There are mainly two types – Type 1 (cataplexy and sleepiness) and Type 2 (excess sleep during the day). Other symptoms include sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations, and cataplexy (unexpected muscle weakness).
At present, there is no treatment for narcolepsy. However, the sleep specialist may prescribe specific medicines and offer lifestyle tips.
Parasomnias are a group of sleeping disorders that involve abnormal events during sleep. Some of the most common categories are – sleepwalking, sleep terrors, REM (Rapid Eye Movement), sleep eating, etc. It can occur during any stage of sleep.
There are numerous symptoms associated with these types. Also, the cause of these parasomnia types is not clearly comprehended. Research is still ongoing at this point. However, after proper diagnosis, there are some treatment options available. Medical experts may prescribe anti-depressants and other drugs.
Sleep is an essential component of life that is necessary for proper functioning throughout the day. Some people are lucky enough to be able to sleep without any issue. But, for those suffering from sleeping disorders, it is more of a challenge. It is vital to understand the problem instead of delaying it. Immediate medical consultation is important for quick diagnosis and treatment.
There are various reasons that can cause sleeping issues. Some of them are short-term, while others can take a long time to fade. In the majority of cases, making specific changes to the lifestyle can actually help a lot. It is vital to remember that, like food and water, sleep is equally important.