9 Common Sleep Disorders

clock+woman in bed

You probably have heard about insomnia, but there are other sleep disorders that affect are large number of people.

INSOMNIA: It is defined as difficulty initiating sleep, maintaining sleep, duration or quality of sleep which impairs daytime functioning despite adequate opportunity and circumstances for sleep. Below are 3 types of insomnia:

  • Sleep Onset Insomnia: difficulty in initially falling to sleep. Most common type of insomnia and usually takes more than 30 minutes to hours to fall asleep
  • Sleep Maintenance Insomnia: can fall asleep OK, but frequently awakens during the night and is troubled to fall back to sleep
  • Early Rising Insomnia: Can fall asleep and maintain sleep, but wake up 2-3 hours before scheduled wake up and then can’t fall asleep again.

SLEEP APNEA: Involves cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or longer, possibly 20 times an hour or more. O2 saturation drops and cognitive and cardiac complications often develop. May be obstruction due to enlarged soft tissue structures in the neck and pharynx. Can also result from Parkinson’s disease. Post- polio syndrome or a stroke.

NIGHT TERRORS: upsetting episodes occurring most often in children; can occur in adults under great stress or in the setting of alcoholism. Patients experience great fear, and screaming during stage 3 or 4 sleep. May be seen along with sleepwalking.

SOMNAMBULISM/SLEEPWALKING: may involve calm or agitated activity during sleep. Often occurs within the first hour or two after sleep onset in children, but throughout the night in adults. Activity may include anything from eating, re-arranging furniture, wandering outside, or even driving. Eyes are open with a dazed, glassy appearance.

SLEEP PARALYSIS: scary event during which an individual regains consciousness during REM sleep when the muscles are paralyzed. Despite being aware, one cannot

move arms, legs, head, or trunk. Attacks are more likely if one enters REM rapidly after going to bed, bypassing other normal stages of sleep. Sometimes caused by shift work, jet lag, prior sleep deprivation, too much caffeine or alcohol, and/or prolonged periods of stress. May include visual and auditory hallucinations, chest pressure, and shortness of breath. Episodes last only a few seconds despite patient’s perceptions to the contrary.

NARCOLEPSY: a disorder of sleep-wake regulation which typically begins around puberty. Symptoms often include daytime sleepiness, cataplexy (complete loss of muscle tome while awake) and most often suddenly falling asleep, perhaps while in the middle of eating dinner with a friend or driving.

RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME: Neurologic movement disorders characterized by restlessness in the legs (sometimes arms and torso).which often occur while the individual is sleeping. Often worsens with age and occurs more in women than men. Often frightens a sleeping partner who feels like a small earthquake is going off every minute or two. Can be genetic, but also caused by anemia, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. Pregnancy, arthritis, disc disease, and side effects to medications including antidepressants.

RAPID EYE MOVEMENT BEHAVIOR DISORDER: most often affects older men. Normal muscle paralysis that occurs naturally in REM sleep does not occur leading to complex muscle actions such as sleep-talking,walking,kicking,thrashing,- to the point of sometimes injuring themselves or their partners.

PERIODIC LIMB MOVEMENT DISORDER: similar to restless leg syndrome where twitching or jerking movements occur every 10-60 seconds as an individual is falling asleep. May be aggravated by alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine.

Laura Pawlak, Ph.D., Insomnia, Depression, and Anxiety, Institute for Natural Resources, 2012

 

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