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Quit Snoozing the Alarm of Sleeping Disorders

Do you all love to sleep? Do you remember those school days where you long for a vacation just so you can sleep like there is no tomorrow?

As humans, the activity of sleeping is very essential for our physical and mental well-being. Yet beyond considering it as a need, they love to sleep just because they love their cozy bed, making them feel sleepier and lazier. In fact, many still consider sleeping as their hobby.

Many research institutions suggest that an individual should have at least six to eight hours of sleep for a well-functioning body and mind.

However, caught in the web of busy schedules and priorities, individuals forget the need to sleep or lose time for a night of quality sleep. For many valid reasons, individuals end up working more and sleeping less. These breathing patterns are unhealthy and threatening to one’s mental functioning and overall quality of life. In other words, individuals have started to develop sleep disorders that disrupt their sleep patterns which eventually messes up their biological and psychological clocks.

Causes resulting in sleep disorders

When it comes to demystifying the root causes of developing sleep problems or disorders, there are many. Though different for each individual, the result of these causes is that the natural cycle of slumber and wakefulness of the body is exaggerated or disturbed. In most cases, sleep problems develop due to the following common causes:

  • Frequent need to urinate: Imbalances in the hormones or urinary tract infections contributes to frequent urination (also known as nocturia). This condition can cause unusual sleep disruptions, such as waking up continuously during sleep time.

  • Mental health problems: Anxiety, depression and stress that causes mental instabilities can negatively affect your sleep quality and quantity. Additionally, individuals who sleepwalk or talk and experience nightmares can harm their sleep patterns.

  • Chronic pain: The common chronic pain causes that include persistent headaches, lower back pain, arthritis, etc., makes it difficult to feel sleepy. Sometimes, the constant and unbearable pain can even wake you up after you have slept.

  • Physical problems: Developing the physical or biological problems of colds, allergies, asthma, or any respiratory infections can challenge an undisturbed and good quality sleep.

Furthermore, in-depth research revealed additional causes contributing to sleep disorders such as genetics, medications, ageing, environmental factors (alcohol or illegal drugs), extra shifts at work or study places, etc.

Symptoms of Sleep disorders

Have you wondered what could be the possible symptoms if one experiences one or more than one sleeping disorder? The symptoms displayed can vary irrespective of the sleep disorder or its severity. However, the general symptoms include memory fluctuations, impaired attention and concentration abilities, slowed responses, often feeling sleepy, losing emotional control, poor performance at school/workplace, gaining weight, irregular sleep schedules, fatigue during daytime, depression, irritability, anxiety, and anxiety and so on.

Demystifying the types of sleep disorders.

Research so far has revealed many types of sleeping disorders, of which some are caused naturally (genetic or environmental) and some by other underlying health issues or conditions. The following five are the commonly reported types of sleep disorders:

  • Insomnia: Noticeably as a commonly developing problem for overall quality of healthy life, insomnia refers to the trouble to fall or remain asleep. Insomnia can be of various types and severity levels: acute insomnia, chronic insomnia, maintenance insomnia, pregnancy insomnia, behavioural insomnia and so on.

  • Narcolepsy: Labelled as the neurological disorder of sleep regulation. Individuals with narcolepsy experience excessive or uncontrolled episodes of daytime sleepiness. These sleep attacks can occur suddenly at any time of the day, along with symptoms of muscles weakness, or emotions of laughter etc.

  • Sleep apnea: As a serious sleeping disorder, sleep apnea occurs when the individual’s breathing is interrupted or pauses during sleep. This disorder can cause one to wake up. Sleep apnea can be of two types: central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS): Individuals with this disorder experiences an intense and irresistible need to move their legs. Associated with irritability, lack of concentration and daytime sleepiness, RLS makes it difficult for individuals to have a sound, comfortable sleep.

  • Parasomnias: These sleep disorders cause individuals to engage in abnormal behaviours and movements while sleeping. They include bed-wetting, groaning, sleep talking and walking, nightmares and teeth grinding.

Tracking the tips to battle sleep disorders

If you feel your sleep conditions and patterns are being a threat to your mental well-being, then consider the following tips for better qualitative sleep: limit the use of alcohol and tobacco, consume low carbohydrate meals before sleeping, avoid using stimulants, engage in exercising and meditation, establish a healthy sleep schedule with a relaxing routine, do not overdo naps, practice sleep hygiene, think positive, and try clearing your mind before sleeping. Also, make sure to arrange yourself a better sleeping environment that is relaxing, quiet and dark, along with a comfortable temperature.

Research over the years suggests individuals with sleep disorders can maintain a sleep diary. It could include their routine list such as moods and feelings, medications to be taken, perceived sleep hours and quality, etc. This would help one reflect on their behaviours, i.e., good or bad for a good sleep. It also makes one orderly and responsible for carrying out their life routines.

Despite practising the tips, if one feels things around are switching on the off-control mode, they can confidently visit a professional counsellor or a psychologist who may figure different treatment methods such as

  • Conducting counselling sessions that encourage the individual to follow the treatment plan and find ways to better sleep.

  • Sleep specialists can also recommend therapies, for example, cognitive behavioural therapy, to recognize and challenge the elements causing sleep disruptions

  • Intake of certain medicines and/or supplements that include sleeping pills, cold or allergy medicines, breathing devices, dental guards (teeth grinding), etc.

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