Occasionally finding yourself having difficulty sleeping is normal especially if you are stressed or excited but when your sleep problems linger for an extended period of time they cross the boundary of normalcy and are considered sleep disorders. Sleep disorders have a direct negative effect on our energy level, emotional state and overall health condition. Some may even lead to serious medical conditions. Here are four common sleep disorders. If you think you are suffering from any of them it is best to seek medical help.
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder experienced by more than half of American adults. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty getting to sleep and remaining asleep for long hours. Aside from finding it hard to doze off insomniacs have disruptive sleep. They frequently wake up during the night and have trouble finding sleep again rendering them feeling tired and far from recharged when they get up in the morning. Commonly caused by stress or by some undetected medical condition, insomnia can be acute if experienced for one night to a few weeks or chronic if it is experienced at least three days in a week for a month or more common sleep disorders.
Sleep apnea which is often accompanied by snoring is a serious disorder. People suffering from this disorder repeatedly stop breathing for a few seconds at least thirty times during their sleep. In severe cases a person may turn blue while sleeping because of apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea which is the more common of the two types of apnea is caused by the obstruction of a person’s airway by the soft tissue in the throat which collapses during sleep. This blockage causes a build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood which then causes the person to unconsciously gasp for breath and be deprived of restful sleep. People suffering from central sleep apnea which is the second type of apnea share the same experience although their condition is caused by an unstable respiratory control center and not by a blockage.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder induced by a neurological condition that disrupts sleep regulation that controls sleep and wakefulness. People with narcolepsy experience intense daytime sleepiness and uncontrollable urge to sleep during the daytime causing them to fall asleep even while they are in the middle of a conversation, while eating or even while driving. Aside from sleepiness narcolepsy is often accompanied by an abrupt loss of muscle tone and muscle control which could last for a few seconds or a few minutes. Narcolepsy is a chronic disorder that usually starts during adolescence. Often undiagnosed this sleep disorder often remains untreated.
Sleepwalking and night terrors
Sleepwalking and night terrors are two sleep disorders more common in young children than in adults. Sleepwalking or somnambulism is characterized by what it name implies-getting out of bed and walking while asleep. Night terrors which are often experienced by children aged 2 to 6 is a cause of great distress to parents whose children go through bouts of this sleep disorder. Usually characterized by symptoms which includes rapid heart rate, fast breathing, shaking and excessive sweating in extreme cases cause children to stiffen with their eyes wide open or scream at the top of their voice while in deep sleep.