What Is A Sleep Disorder?
Sleep disorders are a collective of conditions that affect your ability to sleep properly on a regular basis. Sleep disorders can be caused by a number of reasons, including stress, mental illness, and chronic pain. There are so many types of sleep disorder that all come with a host of different symptoms, a consistent them of sleep disorders however is that can have a significant effect on health and quality of life.
How important is sleep for general health?
Humans spend approximately 1/3 of their lives sleeping, assuming that they are getting their recommended 7-9 hours. This is a big proportion of time, so it should come at no surprise that sleep plays a huge role in our general health and wellbeing.
The importance of 8 hours sleep should never be overlooked; regularly getting less can lead to fatigue and countless long-term health concerns. Sleep is when the body and mind can recuperate; without it, the whole body will suffer as a result.
Sleep Apnea- What Is It And How It Affects Sleep.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes random and repeated pauses in breathing whilst asleep. This causes you to wake up numerous times a night which is incredibly frustrating and disruptive; leaving you feeling lethargic and fatigued the following day.
Sleep apnea is not cause for immediate concern, as sufferers will resume breathing as normal as soon as they wake up, over time, however, if left untreated – sleep apnea can lead to further health concerns.
Long term health effects of sleep apnea.
- Memory loss
- Weakened immune system
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Low sex drive
- Liver complications
- Low blood oxygen
These health issues coupled with chronic fatigue are a real cause for concern and is a clear example as to why sleep disorders cannot go untreated. Sleep apnea can only be cured by losing weight (if in the individual case it is caused by being overweight) and surgery; to remove excess palate tissue which blocks the airways when relaxed.
Sleep Paralysis- What Is It And How Is It Caused?
Sleep paralysis is a non-serious sleep disorder that presents itself when someone wakes up during REM sleep whilst their body is still immobile. Sleep paralysis can be a scary ordeal for those who don't know what is happening. The feeling of paralyzation can range from just a few seconds to minutes.
What causes sleep paralysis cannot be definitively answered. It can be a difficult condition to manage and is not something that can be cured; luckily it is rare for sufferers to experience the symptoms regularly, and there are triggers that sufferers can avoid to minimise frequency. These include:
- Not getting enough sleep.
- Consuming caffeine.
- Consuming drugs and alcohol.
- Taking certain medications, especially those used to treat ADHD.
- Changing regular sleep routine
- Sleeping on your back.
Most sufferers of sleep paralysis 'outgrow' their symptoms when reaching adulthood; it can, however, affect people of all ages. The best way to avoid sleep paralysis is by learning and actively avoiding individual triggers.
Insomnia- What Is It And What Causes It?
Insomnia is often used as a generalised word to describe sleep disorders. Insomnia is specifically considered the condition in which sufferers find difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep. Insomnia can result in severe fatigue, reduced energy levels, affect mood, and lead to many health problems.
- Trouble falling asleep.
- Difficulty staying asleep.
- Daytime fatigue.
- Short attention span.
- Anxiety about falling asleep.
What causes Insomnia?
Whilst insomnia can be the primary cause for concern, it can also be the result of other conditions and poor lifestyle choices.
Common causes of insomnia include:
- Hectic schedules.
- Inconsistent sleep routine.
- Indigestion and eating late.
- Mental health disorders.
- Some medications.
- Consuming too much caffeine, or consuming it too late.
- Chronic pain.
There are countless factors that can contribute to feelings of insomnia, and even if there doesn't seem to be a reason, there usually is a sometimes hidden concern.
The only way to cure or overcome insomnia is by finding a solution to the root cause. Some people may argue that Sleeping pills are a quick solution, which yes, will most probably put you to sleep; but they often make you feel even worse off the following day, and do nothing to address the underlying problem.
For those who are suffering from insomnia and cannot pinpoint a specific reason; there are some excellent techniques that you can try to help:
Mindfulness can help with a whole host of mind and body concerns. Meditation before bed is an effective way of quieting down racing thoughts and winding down to get ready for sleep. Mindfulness is a practice, and becomes more effective the more you do it.
- Set a sleep routine.
People who don't have a set time to sleep or wake up, are often the most susceptible to the symptoms of insomnia. By having a sleep routine you put yourself in somewhat of a sleep rhythm, developing a schedule that your body learns and should adhere too.
- Turn off the lights.
Our bodies have an internal body clock, and it's pretty good at knowing when it’s time to sleep and when its time to wake. Light and dark greatly effect our bodies natural sleep response, so dimming lights and turning off screens can help to keep this natural clock in sync.