4 Common Sleep Disorders and Their Treatments
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According to statistics, the average American adult needs roughly seven or more hours of sleep. But for the vast majority of the population, this is not so much a reality. With most young adults reporting having slept less than the recommended seven hours, it’s no wonder why certain sleep difficulties intervene. In order to encourage you to get your beauty rest, we’re highlighting four of the most common sleep disorders and what you can do to combat them!
Perhaps the most common of sleep disorders, insomnia makes it difficult for one to fall asleep and stay asleep. Some of the most common causes of insomnia are stress and anxiety, jet lag, depression, trauma, medication, or sleeping in an unfamiliar/uncomfortable location. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) reports one third of adults having suffered some form of insomnia. It was also found that between 6 and 10% qualify for the diagnosis of insomnia disorder. Talk about a rough night’s sleep!
Some of the best ways to combat insomnia include limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption, avoiding too many naps, staying active, sticking to a good sleep schedule, and checking with your doctor about medication side effects. If the cause is trauma related, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. Sometimes the cause is psychological!
Sleep apnea is characterized by an obstruction of breathing during sleep. This can be serious as it occurs when the body isn’t getting enough oxygen. There are two common types; obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. The first occurs when the airway is obstructed or too narrow. The second has to do with a connection between the brain and breathing function. If your breathing is preventing you from sleep and you suffer from fatigue, trouble swallowing, or slurred speech, you may have sleep apnea and should talk to a doctor right away!
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Along with breathing devices and avoiding stimulant medications, sometimes the best way to treat insomnia is a lifestyle change. Being overweight is a major cause of sleep apnea. Regardless, be sure to talk to your doctor and stay on top of your breathing/sleeping patterns. This condition is nothing to snooze about!
This one is less common, causing abnormal behavior while sleeping. Parasomnia is often characterized by sleep walking and talking, nightmares, bedwetting, teeth grinding, groaning, and waking up confused/crying. While there are many other forms and causes, some of the reasons for parasomnia include trauma, food poisoning, depression, anxiety, and substance use.
Treatment for Parasomnia
You should speak with a psychologist or sleep expert if you believe to be suffering from a type of parasomnia. You may be referred to counseling, advised to make healthier lifestyle choices, or given medications if necessary. Nightmares are scary, but dealing with this sleep disorder shouldn’t have to be! Talk to someone who can help!
Narcolepsy is when one experiences “sleep attacks” that can occur at any time. Those with this disorder often find themselves falling asleep without warning. It’s characterized by extreme sleepiness and cataplexy, which is a sudden loss of muscle tone that can trigger sleep or strong emotions. This disorder makes many aspects of life difficult, such as going to work, school, or driving! Here’s what you should do about it.
How to Treat Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is a neurological issue and should be treated by a neurologist and/or sleep expert. You may need medications or certain exercises to help regulate the sleep attacks. You may be given a stimulant or antidepressant depending on what your doctor decides is right for you. Don’t let this one go unnoticed!
Whether your sleeping needs are simple or more serious, it’s important to ensure you’re not only getting a good amount of sleep, but that the quality is enough for you to function properly. Sleeping is vital to brain health, immune system, and metabolism. Having a schedule that’s out of balance throws your body off immensely! Be sure to update your doctor on any changes in sleep you may be experiencing.
Having trouble sleeping or staying asleep? Give our offices at Maryland Primary Care a call today! We would love to connect you with any solutions to help you get the good night’s sleep you deserve!