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Sleep Disorders

The clinical definition of a sleeping disorder is a disruptive pattern of sleep that may include difficulty falling or staying asleep, falling asleep at inappropriate times, excessive total sleep time, or abnormal behaviors associated with sleep. There are over 100 different sleeping/waking disorders have been identified and for every one there is a different causation.

There are four basic categories that each sleeping disorder can be put into: insomnia, hypersomnia, sleep disruptive disorders, and basic trouble with adhering to a normal sleep pattern. Some symptoms of having a sleeping disorder are: difficulty in falling asleep, daytime drowsiness, loud snoring, fatigue, depression, anxiety and lower leg movements during sleep.

Common Sleeping Disorders

Insomnia

Insomnia is not considered a disease, as are some sleeping disorders, but it does affect 25% of the population occasionally, 10% as a chronic problem, and is the most common sleeping disorder of them all. Everyone experiences sleepless nights occasionally for various reasons, but chronic insomnia means that the brain is not getting enough rest, on a consistent basis, which can lead to greater problems.

Insomnia includes any combination of difficulty with falling asleep, staying asleep, intermittent wakefulness, and early-morning awakening. Some things that can cause or contribute to insomnia include: illness, depression, anxiety, stress, poor sleeping environment, caffeine, abuse, alcoholism, heavy smoking, physical discomfort, daytime napping, certain medical conditions, and other sleeping habits like going to bed early, and excessive time spent awake in bed.

Consistent insomnia can result in reduced energy level, irritability, disorientation, dark circles under the eyes, posture changes and fatigue.

Brain sleep disorder

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea falls into the Hyperinsomnia category and occurs when the muscles at the base of the throat relax during sleep, resulting in loud snoring and labored breathing. When complete blockage of the airway occurs, breathing stops or is impaired so drastically that the individual is prevented from reaching the deeper stages of sleep, resulting in extreme daytime drowsiness.

Causes or contributing factors of sleep apnea are the usage of alcohol or sedatives before sleep, anatomically narrower airways and enlarged tonsils or adenoids. If the condition becomes serious enough the individual may develop pulmonary hypertension which then may lead to failure of the right side of the heart (myocarditis).

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is also considered a Hyperinsomnia sleep disorder. It can affect both men and women and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 25. The exact cause of narcolepsy remains unknown, but research studies indicate that it may be genetic.

The condition affects the sleep/wake mechanisms within the brain and is characterized by episodes of frequent, uncontrollable daytime sleeping that is often preceded by drowsiness. This condition is dangerous because these episodes can occur at any time, during any activity, even things like working or driving a car.

Many people that suffer from this condition experience dream-like hallucinations during the transition between sleep and wake.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is a fairly newly discovered sleeping disorder and is characterized by sensations in the lower legs that make a person uncomfortable and cause the uncontrollable urge to move the legs in order to relieve the discomfort. This condition can be worsened by stress and can result in decreased quality of sleep.
The clinical definition of a sleeping disorder is a disruptive pattern of sleep that may include difficulty falling or staying asleep, falling asleep at inappropriate times, excessive total sleep time, or abnormal behaviors associated with sleep. There are over 100 different sleeping/waking disorders have been identified and for every one there is a different causation.

There are four basic categories that each sleeping disorder can be put into: insomnia, hypersomnia, sleep disruptive disorders, and basic trouble with adhering to a normal sleep pattern. Some symptoms of having a sleeping disorder are: difficulty in falling asleep, daytime drowsiness, loud snoring, fatigue, depression, anxiety and lower leg movements during sleep.

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