You might have to observe and analyze your sleeping habits if you’ve tried everything to make sleep a priority and you still feel tired during the day. Do you need to sleep for a longer time, or do you suffer from a sleep disorder? Around 60 million Americans suffer from a sleeping disorder that disturbs their sleep patterns.
TYPES OF SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleep disorders can be any one of 80 different types. But the most common sleep disorders are:
3. Sleep Apnea
4. Restless Leg Syndrome
Let’s take a detailed look into each one of these sleep disorders.
DO I HAVE INSOMNIA?
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep based on the leading doctors in the field. Adults can experience insomnia for shorter periods (for example, a few weeks or over a month) due to constant stress or a traumatizing experience. It is recommended to consult your doctor if you can not go about your day’s work because of the effects of insomnia. The two basic types of insomnia are primary insomnia and secondary insomnia.
Primary insomnia refers to insomnia that is not directly related to any health condition or disease. You might have trouble sleeping because you recently lost your job, one of your loved ones died, or you are about to make a big financial or personal decision. Primary insomnia can also set in if you are uncomfortable about the setting of your bedroom, the lights, or a bit of noise from outside your room.
Secondary insomnia is caused by other health conditions like depression, epilepsy, asthma, high blood pressure, and many others. Secondary insomnia can also be due to substance abuse, for example, having too much alcohol, caffeine, or heavy smoking during the day and close to bedtime. Secondary insomnia can also be a side-effect of a different kind of sleeping disorder like restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea. The older you are the higher the chances that you might have secondary insomnia.
DO I HAVE NARCOLEPSY?
The Narcoleptic Argentinian is an unforgettable character from the famous movie ‘Moulin Rouge’. It is hard to forget how even with all of his bodacious energy he still keeps falling asleep at any random moment. One of the side-effects of narcolepsy is that a person can fall asleep at any time. Cataplexy is another side-effect of narcolepsy that occurs when a person no longer has control over the muscles in their body or emotions.
A person who has narcolepsy is called a narcoleptic.
It is very dangerous for narcoleptics to carry out day-to-day activities like driving, riding a bike, or crossing the road because they can fall asleep at any time. People with narcolepsy might also have a hard time speaking because their mind tends to feel ‘foggy’ or confused about what exactly they want to say. You might also experience muscle twitching like raised eyebrows or strange facial expressions.
Daydreaming is also quite common for a person with narcolepsy. While in bed at night, they have a hard time falling asleep. If they fall asleep they may have incredibly vivid dreams or nightmares as soon as they doze off. These dreams or nightmares can cause the person to wake up all over again.
DO I HAVE SLEEP APNEA?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is one of the easiest to identify because it has to do with people snoring in their sleep. You most likely have sleep apnea if you snore loud enough to be heard outside your room or loud enough that your partner does not want to share a bed with you. Keep in mind that you might not have sleep apnea if you do not snore loudly. Another sign that you have sleep apnea is that you wake up in the middle night to go to the bathroom more than once.
People with sleep apnea also wake up feeling very thirsty because of a dry mouth. You may not notice it but you might wake up in the middle of the night choking or gasping for air. A partner might be able to tell you that you wake up more than once in the night looking for something or feeling short of breath. You might also wake up in the morning after a full night’s sleep feeling like you have a ‘hangover’ or a headache.
Some people with sleep apnea also grind their teeth in their sleep. It can be very annoying for a partner sleeping next to you but if you grind your teeth. If you do grind your teeth while sleeping there is a very likely chance that you also feel sleepy during the day. Sleep apnea is more common among older men or men past their middle age.
DO I HAVE RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME?
Restless legs syndrome is just as it sounds, an uncontrollable urge to move your legs. A person with restless legs feels like something is twitching, gnawing, creeping, crawling, or pulling at their legs. The only way the person can relax from this sensation is by moving their legs. The irritation increases at night.
At the time of going to bed, your legs will become restless and constantly keep you up. In the beginning, doctors debated whether this is a sleep disorder or not because the effects are also felt throughout the day. But restless legs syndrome is a sleeping disorder because it prevents you from sleeping as well.
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