Sleep Disorder Symptoms

Having trouble sleeping? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Most individuals may at one time or another have suffered from sleepless nights. That is usually because of stressful days, illness, travel and a whole list of other variables that can add interruption to your sleeping routines. If this is the case and you find yourself having regular sleeping problems, then you might be suffering from one or more of the most common sleeping disorders.

Sleep Disorder Symptoms
Sleep is Vital to Energy and Wellbeing. People with Sleep Disorders are Sometimes Unaware they may Have a Sleep Disorder.

Sleeping disorders cause a lot more harm than just a feeling of daytime sleepiness. For instance, weight gain, memory loss, an effect on your energy levels and mood. That is why in this article, we are going to discuss the various sleep disorder symptoms that may be relevant. You should also note that there are many things you can use to get a good night’s sleep, ranging from habitual changes to tailored products and even some useful completely free techniques.

What is a sleep disorder?

As discussed earlier, put simply sleep disorders are conditions that impact your ability to have a good night sleep. While in rare situations, this situation of lack of sleep might be reasonable (for example when you are travelling or at a late night party), it’s not normal if it occurs on a regular basis and without an obvious reason. We often sacrifice our sleep trying to keep up with our lifestyles and this must be managed appropriately in order to live a life of balance and growth.

A large number of the population suffers from sleep disorders. The worst part is that most of them do not know they are suffering from this condition. What we all need to understand is that sleep is a dynamic progress. Therefore, if you don’t get enough sleep, your entire body starts to develop long-term problems that will affect your general health and wellbeing both in the short and long term.

During sleep, our bodies go through 5 different stages known as the sleep cycles;

  • Stages 1 through 4 – are known as NON- REM sleep or Non-Rapid Eye Movement
  • Stage 5 –  is the REM or Rapid Eye Movement stage, which features increased brain activity, and it is when most dreaming occurs.

These stages typically cycle several times throughout the night. Therefore, they are necessary to help restore our body’s energy and vitality. If the sleep cycle is interrupted, you can suffer from memory loss and impaired thinking which can effect a person’s ability to problem solve and think creatively. This is also one of the reasons why some people can feel groggy in the morning time after a restless night’s sleep.

In some extreme cases, the patient can experience life threating accidents. Fatigue and exhaustion can also cause other medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease and depression. So the message is that sleep is more important than you might think.

There are cultural, social and economic outcomes to sleep disorders that are very important. More than that, there are also medical consequences that are linked with these sleep disorders. Doctors describe and define sleep disorders as any disturbance that affects a person’s ability to either fall asleep or stay asleep at night or stay awake during the day. They can occur at any time of the day or night and affect anyone at any age in life.

Symptoms of sleep disorders

Everyone in one way or another experiences sleep problems every once in a while, so how can you tell if you are suffering from a sleeping disorder? Well for one thing you can start by scrutinising the signs of sleep deprivation during the day.

Signs of sleep disorders can differ depending on the type or severity of your condition. What is also true is that the symptoms may vary when the condition is as a result of another related or unrelated health problem. All in all, the typical symptoms that may be experienced in most of the most common sleep disorders include;

  • Difficulty staying awake or falling asleep
  • Fatigue during the day
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Depression

If you are experiencing the above signs on a regular basis, then you might be dealing with a sleep disorder which may be a result of an underlying health or lifestyle element. There are nearly over a hundred kinds of sleep disorders. However we are going to discuss the most common ones with any relevant information you may need to become more informed and hopefully help you find a solution or improvement for your condition.

Common Types of sleep disorders

The most common types of sleep disorders are outlined below;

Insomnia

Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder where the patient has difficulty sleeping or even staying asleep for any sustained period of time. People who have insomnia are known to experience the following symptoms;

  • Difficulty staying asleep or falling asleep
  • Always waking up during the night as well as having trouble going back to sleep
  • Waking up very early in the morning without reason
  • Feeling tired or sluggish whenever they wake up

The effects of insomnia can affect both your night time and daytime routine. Studies show that insomnia can affect every aspect of your life. That is to say, insomnia will affect your work performance, damage your relationships and impair your decision-making ability. In most cases, insomnia patients report an overall worse quality of life compared to people who don’t suffer from the condition.

About 30 to 35% of adults complain of suffering from insomnia. More than that, insomnia is more common in older adults, stressed individuals and individuals suffering from mental health problems for instance depression.

There are two different types of insomnia. They include;

  1. Primary insomnia; Meaning that you are experiencing sleep problems that are not directly related to any health problems or conditions.
  2. Secondary insomnia; meaning that you are experiencing sleep problems as a result of something else, for instance, health conditions (such as cancer, asthma, depression, heartburn among others)

Additionally, insomnia also varies in regards to how long or how often it might occur. With that in mind, insomnia comes in two different ways;

  1. Acute insomnia (short-term); here, you experience insomnia seasonally. Esentially, the lack of sleep you experience comes and goes. It can often be the case where some days, you end up sleeping like a baby while in other cases, you end up not sleeping all night. Some of the causes of short-term insomnia include;
    • life stress,
    • illness,
    • emotional discomfort,
    • medications,
    • interference from your regular sleeping routines for instance jet lags or high blood pressure.
  1. Chronic insomnia (last a long time); meaning your insomnia problem can last from two days to a few weeks. If you go for three days or more without any sleep, then you are more likely suffering from chronic insomnia. Causes of long-term insomnia include;  Depression, Chronic stress, discomfort and pain at night.

Some of the long-term side effects of insomnia are;

  • Experiencing daytime sleepiness
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Behaviour and mood disturbances such as aggression, irritability and impulsive behaviour
  • Troubles in professional and personal relationships
  • Driving fatigue which may lead to fatal accidents
  • The unrefreshing groggy feeling when you wake up
  • Depression

The good news is there are some effective products on the market that can help people who have insomnia. Many times it’s the little changes in life that add up and make the biggest difference to our lives. A small change here and there, overtime becomes a habit when repeated regularly, then becomes a lifestyle change, and then without even knowing you are experiencing positive progress in your life.

Sometimes something as simple as installing blackout curtains, improving your diet and getting exercise, studying mindfullness (to list just a few) when added together little positive changes can be a fantastic combination. It’s about learning and figuring out what variation will work best for you and always remember the solution exists so don’t suffer any longer or think you have tried everything for your insomnia, sometimes the more failures you have the  closer you are to getting the solution that works for you!

Sleep paralysis

Have you ever felt conscious but you are unable to move? That is essentially what sleep paralysis feels like. This condition occurs when you pass between the stages of consciousness and sleep. During this period, you won’t be able to speak or move for a few seconds or in some cases minutes.

In some cases, you may experience a choking feeling or pressure. More to that, sleep paralysis may accompany other disorders for instance Narcolepsy. So far, there are two types of sleep paralysis;

  • predormital sleep paralysis and
  • hypnagogic

Some of the symptoms of sleep paralysis are as follows;

  • Feeling anxious about your symptoms
  • Staying awake all night for fear of experiencing another sleep paralysis attack.
  • Exhaustion during the day due to lack of enough rest

Sleep Paralysis can be a scary experience especially if you experience it for the first time.

Who is likely to develop sleep paralysis?

Studies show that in every ten people, about four of them have sleep paralysis. This condition manifests when you are in your teen years. The state can also pass down from a family member. Other factors that can contribute or result in sleep paralysis include;

  • Changes in your sleep routines
  • Lack of sleep
  • Mental conditions for instance bipolar
  • Sleeping on your back
  • Other related sleep problems such as narcolepsy
  • Substance abuse

Sometimes certain triggers like those listed above should be monitored to try to establish a link between certain things and your paralysis.

What happens when you experience sleep paralysis?

As you fall asleep, your body tends to relax slowly, and you are rarely aware of the situation. If you become aware that you are falling asleep, you instantly notice you can’t speak or move your body. The feeling is usually scary and that is why you might not fall asleep again all night.

Restless leg syndrome

About 20% of adults and 2% of children suffer from RLS (restless leg syndrome).  RLS is a sleep disorder that relates to your neurological patterns by persistent and sometimes overwhelming motion of your legs. The condition occurs when you are asleep. In most instances, it can affect your entire body.

The severity of RLS symptoms ranges from intolerable to mild. More to that, symptoms can come and go depending on the severity. The symptoms of RLS are worse at night or in the evening. In some instances, patients may experience extreme symptoms that generally affect their quality of life.

What happens when you experience RLS?

The RLS features a tingling sensation and sometimes painful feeling in your legs. This feeling causes you to experience an irresistible urge to move your legs. Hence, making it difficult to sleep.

Some patients have described the feeling as creeping, aching, itching, pulling, throbbing and burning sensation that the only relief you can have is by temporary movements and massaging of the legs.

Causes of RLS

Even with the on-going researches on RLS, doctors still do not know the exact cause of RLS. However, most researchers speculate that genes have a significant role to play. That is because most patients suffering from this disorder usually have a family member suffering from the same condition.

Other factors that may lead to this disorder include;

  • Pregnancy; some women experience this disorder especially when they are expectant.
  • Medications; some prescribed drugs for instance antidepressants, allergy and anti-histamines may worsen the symptoms.
  • Chronic disorders; specific chronic diseases for instance kidney failure, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes can result to RLS. All in all, treating this condition will relieve the symptoms.

Other factors, including sleep deprivation and alcohol use which may trigger symptoms or even result in making them worse. Eliminating alcohol or improving your sleep will also reduce the symptoms.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea occurs when a person has difficulty breathing while asleep. It is often accompanied by snoring and even brief periods where breathing stops altogether.

This condition is the second most prevalent sleep disorder in the world. More to that, research shows that over 80% of the affected patients don’t even realise they suffer from this disorder. Sleep apnea occurs in two different ways;

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Central Sleep Apnea

Some of the signs and symptoms of this disorder include;

  • Snoring
  • Frequent breathing breaks
  • Irritability or depression
  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Restless sleep

To find out more about what is Sleep Apnoea and is it dangerous Click Here

What happens when you experience Sleep Apnea?

This condition happens when you have a blockage in your airways hence causing strain in your respiratory system. Your body responds by waking you up at night or therefore excessive snoring usually prevails and accompanies the condition, which can affect your daily and nightly life, as well as that of your bed partner or person you share a room with.

Sleep Apnea causes lack of enough sleep hence you wake up feeling exhausted. More to that, the constant lack of enough oxygen in your body results in long-term side effects to your brain.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

Weight;  in most cases, your weight can have a direct effect on your excessive snoring problem. If you are overweight, you are more likely to suffer from this condition.

Age; as you age, your muscles tend to lose their usual tone. That also affects your throat muscles. Hence they will relax and result in blockage of your airways. This blockage leads to sleep apnea

Other causes of sleep apnea include;

  • Enlarged tonsils,
  • Smoking,
  • Frequent use of alcohol and
  • Natural causes.

If you suffer from Sleep Apnoea there are some useful devices that can help your condition.  Discover What is a Sleep Apnoea Machine and how it may be useful for you.

Exploding head syndrome

Well, the name itself will give you a very comical impression . However, if you suffer from this situation, I guarantee you, it’s not a laughing matter. EHS is a common sleeping condition that occurs during the transitions between waking up and sleep or even between different stages of sleep.

If you are suffering from EHS Exploding Head Syndrome, you may experience a hallucination of a sudden loud noise when you wake up or fall asleep. As much as the condition is not dangerous, the sound can be terrifying.

That will cause unrest and deprivation of sleep at night. Some of the signs of this condition include;

  • Hallucination when you are about to sleep or waking up
  • Some patients experience a flash of light
  • Anxiety
  • Electrical shock sensation
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Insomnia

What happens when you experience Exploding Head Syndrome?

Research done on the illness so far have been inconclusive. However, the theory is that the condition is usually as a result of a problem in your retina formation. This process is what regulates your sleep and wakefulness.

Causes of Exploding Head syndrome

  • Minor seizures in your brain
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Other sleep-related disorders
  • Medications
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Mental health condition

So those are the five main sleep related disorders you may encounter and what common symptoms exist in relation to each one.

Final Verdict

If you happen to have any of the above symptoms, the first thing you should do is to get in touch with your doctor. The first step will be to determine the exact sleep disorder you are suffering from. As you have noticed, it is easy to confuse which sleep disorder is affecting you as some of the signs are typical for instance, anxiety and depression and there are sometimes overlaping symptoms present.

Moreover, you might think you are suffering from a sleep disorder, while in reality that’s not typically the case. That is why you will have to talk to your physician before settling to take any medication.

Fortunately, most of the sleep-related disorders are treatable in various ways. That is why you should get immediate help once you notice any suggestive signs.

All in all, a good night sleep may be a good way of preventing most of the sleep disorders outlined from developing or indeed having an adverse effect on lifestyle in the first place. Good mental and physical balance in your life is very important to living a more fulfilled life overall. If you would like to learn more about sleep and how much sleep you should be getting check out our article on How Much Sleep You Should Get Every Night?

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