A sleep disorder is defined as a condition that frequently impacts your ability to get enough quality and quantity sleep. While it’s normal to occasionally experience difficulties sleeping, where as it is not common to frequently have problems getting to sleep at night, to wake up feeling exhausted, or to feel sleepy during the day.
Frequently having trouble sleeping can be a frustrating experience. You sleep badly at night which leaves you feeling very tired in the morning and whatever energy you have quickly drains away throughout the day. Even if you feel night, you still have trouble sleeping. And so the cycle begins again, taking a serious toll on your mood, energy and efficiency. Ignoring sleep problems and disorders can damage your physical health and lead to weight gain, accidents, impaired job performance, memory problems, and put a strain on your relationships. If you want to feel your best, stay healthy, and perform up to your potential, quality sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.
There are 100 different types of sleep disorders but very few are listed. These disorders can be Physical, neurological or psychiatric and psychological.
Insomnia, the inability to sleep at night It can be caused by stress, jet lag, a health condition, the medications you take, or even the amount of coffee you drink. Insomnia can also be caused by other sleep disorders or mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Whatever the cause of your insomnia, improving your sleep hygiene, revising your daytime habits, and learning to relax can help to a great extent without the use of medication.
Sleep apnea is a common (and treatable) sleep disorder in which your breathing temporarily stops during sleep, awakening you frequently. If you have sleep apnea you may not remember these awakenings, but you’ll likely feel exhausted during the day, irritable and depressed, or see a decrease in your productivity. Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially life-threatening sleep disorder but it is curable condition.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by uncomfortable leg sensations that can interfere with resting or falling asleep. It can be caused by low levels of iron in the brain may be responsible for RLS. An imbalance of dopamine is also believed to be involved.
Studies estimate that 1 out of 10 people suffer from restless legs, yet it’s not always easy to find help and support. Many people with RLS never get proper treatment. Part of the problem is that it’s hard to explain and often dismissed as being “nervous.” Those who haven’t experienced the distressing symptoms may not understand how severely they can impact the quality of your life. Even doctors may not take restless legs seriously, recognize the symptoms, or realize it’s a real medical condition.
Normally sleep has two distinct states: Non Rapid eye Moment (NREM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM). NREM sleep is divided into four stages. During REM sleep, rapid eye movements occur, breathing becomes irregular, rise in blood pressure, and there is a loss of muscle tone (paralysis). However, the brain is highly active, EEG during REM sleep is similar to that recorded during wakefulness. REM sleep is usually associated with night dreaming. REM sleep accounts for 20%-25% of the total sleep period.
In a person with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), the paralysis that normally occurs during REM sleep is incomplete or absent, allowing the person to “act out” his or her dreams. RBD is characterized by the acting out of dreams that are vivid, intense, and violent. Dream-enacting behaviors include talking, yelling, punching, kicking, sitting, jumping from bed, arm flailing, and grabbing. An acute form may occur during withdrawal from alcohol or sedative-hypnotic drugs.
Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder affecting the part of your brain that regulates sleep. Narcolepsy is more common than you probably realize—affecting about 1 in 2,000 people—and can cause you to experience excessive daytime sleepiness and a sudden loss of muscle control (called cataplexy), often triggered by strong emotions. As a result, you may fall asleep during normal daytime activities such as working, studying, or driving. While these episodes can be brief, lasting just a few seconds, it can make many normal activities dangerous and disrupt your normal daily life. It can also impact your relationships, create memory and concentration problems, and take a toll on your self-esteem and mental health.
While symptoms can vary greatly from one person to another, the main narcolepsy symptoms are excessive daytime sleepiness (with or without sudden sleep episodes) and abnormal REM sleep. Other symptoms of narcolepsy may be related to your abnormal REM sleep, including hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle control).
Sleepwalking, formally known as somnambulism, is a behavior disorder that originates during deep sleep and results in walking or performing other complex behaviors while asleep. It is much more common in children than adults and is more likely to occur if a person is sleep deprived. Because a sleepwalker typically remains in deep sleep throughout the episode, he or she may be difficult to awaken and will probably not remember the sleepwalking incident.
Sleepwalking usually involves more than just walking during sleep; it is a series of complex behaviors that are carried out while sleeping, the most obvious of which is walking. Symptoms of sleepwalking disorder range from simply sitting up in bed and looking around, to walking around the room or house, to leaving the house and even driving long distances. It is a common misconception that a sleepwalker should not be awakened. In fact, it can be quite dangerous not to wake a sleepwalker.
Sleep terrors are episodes of screaming, intense fear and flailing while still asleep. Also known as night terrors, sleep terrors often are paired with sleepwalking. Like sleepwalking, sleep terrors are considered a parasomnia — an undesired occurrence during sleep. A sleep terror episode usually lasts from seconds to a few minutes, but episodes may last longer.
Sleep terrors affect almost 40 percent of children and a much smaller percentage of adults. However frightening, sleep terrors aren’t usually a cause for concern. Most children outgrow sleep terrors by their teenage years.
Sleep terrors may require treatment if they cause problems getting enough sleep or they pose a safety risk.