People for decades have experienced trouble sleeping at one time or another in their life. This is completely normal and usually temporary due to stress or other factors. The issue is if sleeping problems are a regular occurrence and interfere with your energy levels, emotional balance, and health, you may be suffering from a sleeping disorder.
How can you tell whether your sleeping problem is just a minor, passing annoyance or a sign of a more serious sleep disorder or underlying medical condition?
Start by analyzing your symptoms, looking especially for the obvious daytime signs of sleep deprivation. Sorry to possibly ruin your day but, If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, you may be dealing with a sleep disorder.
• feel irritable or sleepy during the day?
• have difficulty staying awake when sitting still, watching television or reading?
• fall asleep or feel very tired while driving?
• have difficulty concentrating?
• often get told by others that you look tired?
• react slowly?
• have trouble controlling your emotions?
• feel like you have to take a nap almost every day?
• require caffeinated beverages to keep yourself going?
If you answered “yes” to any of the previous questions you may have a sleeping disorder.
Insomnia is the inability to get the amount of sleep you need to wake up feeling rested and refreshed. It is also the most common sleep complaint. Another form of insomnia is Long-term or chronic insomnia, (insomnia that occurs at least three nights a week for a month or longer) A common cause of chronic insomnia is a conditioned emotional response.
What a lot of people don’t understand is that Insomnia is often a symptom of another problem, such as stress, anxiety, depression, or an underlying health condition. It can also be caused by lifestyle choices, including the medications you take, lack of exercise, jet lag, or even the amount of coffee you drink.
In addition to insomnia, the most common sleep disorders are sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome (RLS), and narcolepsy.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which your breathing temporarily stops during sleep due to the blockage of the upper airways. These pauses in breathing interrupt your sleep, leading to many awakenings each hour. While most people with sleep apnea don’t remember these awakenings, they might feel exhausted during the day, irritable and depressed, or see a decrease in productivity.
Sleep apnea is a serious, and potentially life-threatening, sleep disorder. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, see a doctor right away. Sleep apnea can be successfully treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a mask-like device that delivers a stream of air while you sleep. Losing weight, elevating the head of the bed, and sleeping on your side can also help in cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
• Loud, chronic snoring
• Frequent pauses in breathing during sleep
• Gasping, snorting, or choking during sleep
• Feeling exhausted after waking and sleepy during the day, no matter how much time you spent in bed.
• Waking up with shortness of breath, chest pains, headaches, nasal congestion, or a dry throat.
Last but not least..
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that involves excessive, uncontrollable daytime sleepiness. It is caused by a dysfunction of the brain mechanism that controls sleeping and waking. If you have narcolepsy, you may have “sleep attacks” while in the middle of talking, working, or even driving.
Common signs and symptoms of narcolepsy include:
• Seeing or hearing things when you’re drowsy or starting to dream before you’re fully asleep
• Suddenly feeling weak or losing control of your muscles when you’re laughing, angry, or experiencing other strong emotions
• Dreaming right away after going to sleep or having intense dreams
• Feeling paralyzed and unable to move when you’re waking up or dozing off
If any of you are feeling any of these symptoms please pay attention to them analyze them! Losing sleep can really affect you and your relationships. Take care of yourselves.