Hey! Hey!! Hey!!! What’s up guys and hope you’ve all been well? Thank you all for the support you show always. I appreciate it a lot. My very good friend asked me to write about sleeping disorders and upon further thinking, I realized some friends of mine find it difficult to sleep or stay asleep so it was an opportunity to research and scribble something down for you guys. I hope you learn something as you read.
One of the most essential parts of living is sleep. Being deprived of enough or no sleep can cause fatigue or body breakdown. Sleeping disorders can wreak havoc on your sleep routine and the way you feel during the day. The disorder can harm the quality required by the body to perform during the day. Taking too long to treat your sleep disorders can be mentally harmful which is never a good sign of healthy living. It is advisable to seek help from a medical and qualified practitioner if you have difficulties in sleeping. Having the requisite knowledge of the different types of sleeping disorders will help you understand your sleep patterns and set you on the right path.
WHAT ARE SLEEPING DISORDERS?
Sleeping disorders are conditions that affect the ability to sleep well or enough. The problem that surrounds sleep disorder is it does not only affect you but the quality of the relationship you have with the people around you. It also affects your safety, school and work performance, mental health, and weight. In a nutshell, not getting enough sleep affects the quality of your life.
THE DANGERS OF NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP
There are several effects of sleeping disorders. Sleepiness can interfere with cognitive functioning which can lead to difficulties in learning. Memory impairment can also be a danger and this affects people of all ages. Personality change can be frightening especially when the people around you start feeling uncomfortable and unable to deal with your mood changes. Depression, Obesity, Heart diseases, and a slower performance rate are also the dangers one is likely to experience as a result of sleeping disorders.
TYPES OF SLEEPING DISORDERS
- Sleep Apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
Over 40 million individuals have been estimated to have suffered from this disorder every single year in the United States. People who suffer from Insomnia find it difficult to sleep or stay asleep. They are likely to wake up often during the night and they have difficulties going back to sleep as though they do not enjoy sleeping. Insomnia is said to be chronic (long term) when it persists for at least 3 nights a week for 3 months and more. On the other hand, it is said to be acute (short term) when it lasts for one night and a few weeks.
No underlying or coexisting condition is the cause of this disorder. However, there are certain factors you are likely to do to experience insomnia. For example:
- Losing your job
- The death of someone close to you
- Doing anything that stresses you out
- Medical and Mental health conditions such as asthma, depression, anxiety
- Taking certain medications
- The fear of losing your loved one or your job
- Working at odd hours or changes in sleep patterns
- Your environment can influence your sleeping patterns
- The use of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine excessively
Suffering from narcolepsy makes you sleep at inappropriate hours. It is a disorder that affects normal sleep-wake patterns. Narcolepsy can result in:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness can affect your productivity throughout the day.
- Sleep attacks – Can you imagine what would happen if you were driving and suddenly fell asleep without any warning? Your guess is as good as mine.
- Excessive dreaming and waking in the night – Never did I think dreaming could be ‘abused’ in this manner but researchers have found out you could have dreams often the moment you fall asleep (hypnagogic hallucinations) and right before or during waking (hypnopompic hallucinations).
- Unusual behaviors – Avoiding sleep can trigger behaviors you are unaware of and an example could be a student who may continue to write but in actuality, he is scrawling gibberish on the page.
- Sleep paralysis – A friend told me a story about a guy who was awake during a robbery in his room but could do nothing because he was stuck in bed and could not even move a muscle. All he could do was watch everything like a movie.
The male fraternity has a higher risk of suffering from Sleep Apnea than females. Sleep Apnea is a disorder that stops your breathing for 10 seconds or more during your sleep. The normal breathing pattern returns with a snort or a choking sound. There is a possibility you could be loud in your sleep. However, people who snore in their sleep do not suffer from sleep apnea. Overweight individuals and children with enlarged tonsils or adenoids may also experience this disorder.
It is fine to experience a change in your sleep pattern once in a while as a result of catching up to a deadline or attending to an urgent situation. However, you may have a sleeping disorder and would want to consider treating it if you experience the following symptoms:
- Feeling tired during the day
- Breathing patterns become unusual
- Unusual movement during sleep
- Lack of concentration
- Weight gain
- Difficulty in falling or staying asleep
- Impaired performance at work or school
- Strong urge to take naps during the day
HOW DOES ONE TREAT SLEEPING DISORDERS?
Sleeping disorders can be treated medically or by changing lifestyle behaviors. Lifestyle changes can greatly improve the quality of your sleep.
- Exercise regularly
- Drink less water before sleeping
- Consciously set a time for sleep and take away distractions.
- Limit your caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco intake
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat smaller low carbohydrate meals before bedtime
- The use of essential oils such as Cedarwood, Lavender, Neroli, Vetiver, Chamomile, and Sandalwood essential oils can aid you to have a good sleep
- Eating disorders – Researchers have identified an overlap between sleeping problems and eating disorders. However, not everyone with sleep disorders has a problem with their eating. Night eating habits have a greater possibility of affecting your sleep.
The danger of a sleeping disorder is not necessarily the loss of sleep but the dysfunction it causes when you are awake. It is important to surround yourself with selfless people who will sacrifice everything to be with you in trying moments so you do not feel alone. Sleeping disorders can be dangerous so pay close attention to your sleep patterns and do not neglect your exhaustion as something normal.
©Micky Amankwah 2021