Four Common Sleep Disorders and How to Recognize Them

Sleep disorders

Did you know that about 50 to 70 million U.S. adults suffer from sleep disorders? That’s what the American Sleep Association says!

Sleep disorders are characterized by a disturbance in the amount, quality, or timing of sleep, or in behavioral or physiological conditions related to sleep.

Occasional trouble sleeping due to stress, illness, or any other factor does not qualify as a sleeping disorder – sleep disorders are more persistent rather a matter of nightly occurrence.

Medical professionals have recognized over 70 sleep disorders, all with varying symptoms and causes.

To treat a sleep disorder you first need to recognize that you have one – and sadly, many people fail to do so. Below are four common sleep disorders and ways to recognize them.

1.   Insomnia

Insomnia refers to difficulty falling or staying asleep. The possible causes include poor sleep hygiene, hormonal changes, sleep-related breathing disorders, disrupted sleep-wake schedule, medical conditions, circadian rhythm disorders, or limb movements during sleep. 

Here are some ways you can recognize this sleep disorder:

These symptoms lead to poor concentration and feelings of tiredness and irritability throughout the day. They may also affect the overall quality of your life and give way to other symptoms, such as headaches, gastrointestinal issues, and tense muscles.

2.   Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a condition that makes you suddenly fall asleep at any time and any place. You may even fall asleep during unusual circumstances, such as while eating or driving. Narcoleptic patients are unable to control their sleep-wake cycle.

You could have narcolepsy if:

3.   Sleep apnea

It is a common yet serious sleep disorder characterized by repeated blockage of airway making it difficult for you to breathe. This leads to loud snoring or choking noises. You may wake up as your brain and body get oxygen deprived.

The following symptoms indicate that an individual has sleep apnea:

4.   Restless legs syndrome

This disorder presents itself as an uncontrollable urge to move your legs when your body is at rest. You may feel uncomfortable sensations, such as itching, tingling, burning, or aching in your calves and other body parts.

You may have restless legs syndrome if:

These are the most common sleep disorders and ways you can recognize them. If you experience the aforementioned symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate professional help. While these disorders may seem bewildering, the good news is that they are treatable. 

Author
Health One Family Medicine

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