Sleep Disorders – Symptoms, Types, Treatments, and Therapies
Our collective awareness about the importance of sleep in our lives has evolved over the past four decades. As a result, it is common knowledge that adequate sleep is vital for maintaining optimal health and lifestyle.
On the other side, one can not ignore that many people suffer from various types of sleep disorders globally.
Having a sleep disorder can leave you feeling sleepy during the day and can have a lasting impact on your mental health, hormonal balance, moods, and weight. It can have emotional and mental but practical consequences, such as increased chances of accidents while driving if you are sleep deprived.
Most Common Symptoms of Sleep Disorders
The most common symptom of having a sleep disorder is feeling sleepy during the daytime and sleeping problems at night. But there are other symptoms as well such as –
- Falling asleep at inappropriate times, such as while driving or in a meeting.
- Breathing in an unusual pattern or feeling uncomfortable while sleeping
- Having an irregular sleeping and waking cycle is also a strong symptom of sleep disorder.
- Unusual or bothersome movements during sleep, and your spouse complains about you snoring or making noises.
Types of Sleep Disorders
The many types of sleep disorders are categorized in ways that explain why and how they affect your sleep.
Here are some common types of sleep disorders –
- Insomnia causes you to lose sleep at night and makes you stay awake in the middle of the night.
- Sleep apnea, which causes abnormal breathing patterns while sleeping. Sleep apnea has many varieties of its own.
- Restless legs syndrome (RLS), a type of sleep movement disorder.
- Narcolepsy, a condition characterized by extreme sleepiness followed by falling asleep suddenly during the daytime.
Once correctly diagnosed, doctors can effectively treat most of the above types of sleep disorders.
Treatments to Cure Sleep Disorders
When you haven’t had your z’s, it can be easy to fall back on sleeping pills or other over-the-counter drugs to ease your insomnia, but in the long-term, these medications can often make your sleep problems worse in the long term.
That’s not to minimize the effectiveness of sleep medication but to avoid dependence and tolerance; use them only in case of emergencies. Experts recommend using a combination of drug regimen with therapy and healthy lifestyle changes, even if your doctor prescribes medications for treating your sleep disorder.
Therapies for Sleep Disorders
The treatment for a sleep disorder depends on the type of condition that is in question. Some widely used therapies used for curing sleep disorders are –
- CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to reduce anxiety about getting enough sleep to treat insomnia.
- CPAP or Continous Positive Airway Pressure machine for sleep apnea
- Oral Appliances to treat sleep apnea for mild to moderate cases or when patients cannot tolerate CPAP.
- Natural products like melatonin may help some people but are for short-term use. Consult your health care provider before you take any of these.
It is possible to get quality sleep, but it takes time and commitment to manage your sleep disorder better. You can support your therapy by a few conscious lifestyle choices that benefit your ability to sleep. For instance –
- Get more physical activity every day. Exercise daily, as it is proven to help with relieving stress and anxiety. A session of 30 minutes or more is good for starters, but avoid doing it just before bedtime.
- Make smart choices about your eating and drinking habits. Avoid late meals within two hours of bedtime. Stop drinking caffeinated beverages at least eight hours before bed as it interferes with your quality of sleep and makes your sleep disorder symptoms worse.
- Reduce stress and anxiety in your life. If you are struggling with work, family, or other social issues, try seeking professional help. Better stress management will let you have a calm and positive outlook and ultimately have a better sleep every night.
Besides adopting healthy habits and a better lifestyle, you must find the right therapist for your treatment. It is essential that you feel comfortable with your therapist.
Once you have found the right partner in your recovery, just stick with the treatment and trust the recovery process. It takes time, so if you feel discouraged, take heart to be effective in the long run. Don’t lose hope; you’ll get better sooner than you realize.