Sleep Problems

The Reality of Sleep Disorders

According to the National Institutes of Health, 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorders and sleep problems that can significantly diminish health, alertness and safety. Untreated sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, diabetes and other chronic diseases, implicated with an increased mortality rate.

Sleep photoUntil the 1950s, most people thought of sleep as a passive part of daily lives. Now we know that brains are very active during sleep. Some scientists evidently said that during sleep our brains consolidate and organize memories of what we have seen and done during the day. When these memories are merged and organized, we will able to access the information that is required to solve any particular task.

Sleep problems can take many forms and can involve too little sleep, too much sleep or inadequate quality of sleep. Research has identified over 100 varieties of sleep disorders (sometimes referred to as somnipathy), each with a different cause.

Sleep experts break down sleep disorders into the next three categories:

1. Dysomnias
2. Parasomnias
3. Medical or Psychiatric Conditions

Dysomnia is a category of sleep disorder which includes insomnia, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, hypersomnia, recurrent hypersomnia, periodic limb movement disorder, posttraumatic hypersomnia, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, delayed sleep phase syndrome, advanced sleep phase syndrome and non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome.

Parasomnias include Sleep walking, Sleep talking, Sleep terrors/nightmares, toothgrinding and bedwetting. These are not considered to be dangerous unless you are sleeping next to the person! Such disorders may be attributed to any number of mental disorders or may be due to Mood disorders, Anxiety, Panic, Depression or excessive alcohol intake.

Medical or Psychiatric Conditions, the third and final category of sleep disorders that could serve to disrupt regular sleep patterns, includes psychoses (such as schizophrenia), mood disorders, anxiety, depression, alcoholism and panic.

Among the all above most common types are insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome.

Insomnia denotes a mix of trouble with falling asleep, an inability to sleep once disturbed, or waking up early in the morning. Causes include improper sleeping arrangements, smoking, anxiety, depression, stress, excessive sleeping during daytime, medical conditions, and so on. All of this results in lower energy level, fatigue, and dark circles around the eyes.

Sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax to the extent of causing breathing to slop. This results in loud snoring and improper breathing. This can lead to heart failure.

Narcolepsy refers to drowsiness in the daytime that causes uncontrollable sleeping. Some persons experience hallucinations during this state.

Restless leg syndrome denotes an itchy, tingling sensation in the legs that causes discomfort. People feel relieved when they move their legs. Continuous leg movements make the person unable to sleep well.