Certain sleep habits or symptoms of sleep disorders can affect the quality of an individual’s life. These symptoms may be caused either due to psychological reasons like stress or specific health problems, and these must be addressed as quickly as possible. A good night’s sleep plays an important role in shaping our health and well-being and is responsible for maintaining a good balance of hormones in our body.
If these disorders go untreated, it could lead to various health risks and complications like lack of concentration throughout the day, feeling fatigued, and several psychological effects such as stress and anxiety.
There are five major types of sleep disorders that can be observed in people. They are as follows:
Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which the person finds difficulty falling asleep and remaining asleep for long periods of time. While sometimes, insomnia could be a temporary condition caused due to external factors such as jet lag or stress, other times, it may be caused due to internal problems like digestive issues. A person is diagnosed with insomnia if they experience such difficulties for three consecutive nights or more for over three months.
- Sleep apnea
People suffering from sleep apnea experience irregular patterns of obstructive breathing interruptions throughout the night. Such obstructions in breathing may cause a person to wake up abruptly in the middle of the night. This results in a lack of oxygen in the body, which is a serious issue and must be addressed immediately. There are different types of sleep apnea such as obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, sleep-related hyperventilation, among others.
Some individuals have a tendency to display strange bodily movements and behaviors throughout the night. This disorder is known as parasomnia. The most commonly observed behavior seen in people with parasomnia are sleepwalking, sleep talking, bedwetting, nightmares, among others. This condition could often be genetic or caused due to certain brain conditions.
- Restless leg syndrome
As the name suggests, people suffering from restless leg syndrome feel the urge to move their legs in their sleep. This is accompanied by strange sensations like tingling, itching, or burning sensations in the legs. Such urges are more intense when it comes to long periods of inactivity or rest and could worsen towards the later parts of the day. Such symptoms may be relieved with some movement in the legs. This condition is often observed in people with conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Parkinson’s disease.
Narcolepsy is a condition in which a person experiences sleepiness throughout the day as their sleep/wake cycle is affected. Such people also exhibit episodes of cataplexy through the day where, in a conscious state, they lose their tone of muscle, causing a sudden drop in the jaw, bobbing of the head, or loss of balance and composure. This condition arises due to a deficiency of hypocretin caused due to a loss of hypothalamic hypocretin (orexin)-producing cells. This condition is quite rare and is known to typically begin in childhood or adolescence.
Other than the above-mentioned major sleep disorders, there are several other such disorders that can be observed in individuals such as hypersomnolence disorder, rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, non-rapid eye movement sleep arousal disorders, circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, among others. When suspecting sleep disorder in an individual, the most common symptoms to look out for are excessive sleepiness and fatigue throughout the day, followed by an inability to sleep at night. Several common reasons for the onset of such sleep disorders in people could be chronic pain, certain allergies or respiratory problems, psychological stress, and anxiety.
Having a healthy sleep cycle is essential in maintaining overall health and well-being; it also has a huge impact on the daily activities of the day. Therefore, if you experience any recurring symptoms of sleep disorders, you must convey it to professionals as quickly as possible.