Common Sleep Disorders

There are a variety of sleep disorders which can affect the quality and amount of sleep you get each night. Some of these disorders are more severe than others, and some can cause health issues, while others are just more of an annoyance than anything else. Some sleep disorders can be managed through medication and diet change while others require more aggressive treatments such as psychological or psychiatric treatment. The following are a list of the most common disorders associated with sleep as well as the possible treatments which can be used when they are present.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a disorder which is indicated by the inability to fall asleep in general, or the inability to remain asleep. In addition, people suffering from insomnia may experience other symptoms which are associated with a lack of sleep such as cardiovascular or psychological issues. There are many medications available to assist people who have trouble sleeping realize a better quality of sleep. Some of these medications include over the counter sleep aids and prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines, and non- benzodiazepine hypnotics. The use of the latter is generally preferred in more severe cases as there is a lesser possibility of the dependency associated with their use.

Sleep Paralysis

This disorder is sometimes seen in conjunction with other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Sleep paralysis occurs as a result of chemical paralytics that are produced by the body at a certain stage of sleep. Generally, when a person falls into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the body will release this natural paralytic in order to subdue the person from acting out any of his/her dreams. If you have ever had a nightmare in which you were fighting off an assailant, you can appreciate how badly things may have gone for your partner had these paralytics not been present in your body. The result may have been multiple bruises and contusions, as well as a very angry and confused partner. This condition is accompanied by a frightening inability to move, even though you are semi-conscious. It has been described as a feeling of being held down by something, and can be accompanied by hallucinations. It seems to occur at times when a person has not had enough sleep. This is why the disorder has been associated with sleep apnea which will limit the quality of a person’s sleep tremendously.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder which is characterized by a series of abnormal breathing throughout the night. These pauses can last anywhere from seconds to several minutes and can occur as many as 30 times per hour. A sleep test called a polysomnogram which must be taken overnight, usually at a sleep center, can diagnose the presence of this disorder. There are three different forms of sleep Apnea, Obstructive (OSA), Central (CSA) and mixed or complex Sleep Apnea which is a combination of obstructive and central. In OSA the air flow is blocked by a physical attribute such as nasal or throat swelling, this often leads to snoring. In CSA the breathing is interrupted by a significant decrease in respiratory effort. Obviously, mixed Sleep Apnea occurs when there are a combination of attributes present. No matter which type of Sleep Apnea a person is suffering from, he/she is almost never aware of the issue while sleeping. Typically, the disorder is brought to attention by a third party who happens to see or hear the symptoms. Sleep apnea is associated with things like excessive sleepiness during the day, as well as frequent episodes of Sleep Paralysis.

There are many different alternative treatments and strategies used to treat Sleep Apnea. The most common treatment is a drug called CPAP, but it has been associated with a lot of different side effects which has caused people to begin searching for other treatments. Some of the suggestions are changing sleeping positions, changing diet, and turning to a series of herbal remedies which are said to have properties that can treat the disorder. Another great strategy is to treat the actual symptoms that are causing Sleep Apnea, in cases of OSA, such as snoring due to a blocked nasal passage. While sleep disorders are an inconvenience, they are almost never deadly unless they become severe, in which case much more aggressive treatment will become necessary. If you have been experiencing any of the above mentioned sleep disorders, speak with your doctor about the options that are available for you. A good night’s sleep is very important and can lead to an overall improvement in health.

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