We all have experienced a sleepless night or a few at a time at some point. This is normal and simply just part of living and it is usually temporary. We often experience problems with sleep due to stress and other external factors. Some people have problems sleeping in somebody else’s home for the first time; others get anxious over an important event and simply cannot sleep the night before. This usually passes over a short time, but if sleeping problems persist over time, they can impede and disrupt daily activities and make you less productive. This may also mean that you may have a sleep disorder. There are various sleep disorder problems. Sleep disorders may lead to fatigue, a negative impact on weight and emotional imbalance. If you are experiencing sleeping problems, it is great to know what you might be dealing with exactly and learn how to counter act it in a positive, healthy way.

 

Sleep Disorder Problems

Sleep can often be a barometer, a means to measure the quality of your overall health. Generally, people who have no problems sleeping or those who do not suffer with any sleep disorder condition are those who are more ‘happy’ and ‘productive’ than others. After all, a good night’s sleep will keep you going all day. Is it a sleep disorder?

 

Symptoms of Sleep Disorder

There are a variety of ways that a sleep disorder may affect how you feel. This include:

  • Feeling irritable or sleepy during the day
  • Having difficulty staying awake when sitting still, watching television or reading
  • Falling asleep or feel very tired while driving
  • Have difficulty concentrating
  • Reacting slowly
  • Having difficulty controlling your emotions
  • Feeling that you have to take a nap to get through the day
  • Requiring caffeinated beverages to keep yourself going
  • Insomnia and Sleep Disorder

 

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder problem that we experience today. Insomnia is the inability to get the amount of sleep you need to wake up feeing rested and refreshed. It is also often a symptom of another problem, such as stress, anxiety, depression or another underlying health condition. The symptoms of insomnia are as follows:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night or getting back to sleep after waking during the night
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Light, fragmented or tiring sleep
  • Sleepiness and low energy during the day
  • Cause of Insomnia

Whatever the cause of insomnia, being aware of your sleep habits and learning to relax will help you sleep better and feel better. Simple change in our lifestyle and daily habits can put n end toy our sleepless nights.

 

Sleep Apnea and Sleep Disorder

Sleep apnea is a serious and can be a life-threatening sleep disorder. It is a sleep disorder where your breathing temporarily stops during sleep due to the blockage of the upper airways. These pauses cause interruption in your sleep that cause unwanted awakenings a few at a time. If you suspect that you or your loved one may be suffering from sleep apnea, you need to see a doctor right away. Sleep apnea can be treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a mask-like device that delivers a stream of air when you sleep. Losing weight, elevating the head of the bed and sleeping on your side can also help in cases of mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. Symptoms may include:

  • Loud, chronic snoring
  • Frequent pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Gasping, snorting, or choking during sleep
  • Feeling exhausted after waking and sleepy during the day, no matter how much time you spent in bed
  • Waking up with shortness of breath, chest pains, headaches, nasal congestion, or a dry throat
  • Restless Leg Syndrome and Sleep Disorder

 

Restless leg syndrome is another sleep disorder that causes an almost irresistible to move your legs or arms – talk about an active day. This urge usually occurs when you are resting or lying down is if usually due to uncomfortable, tingly, aching or creeping sensation. Most common signs include:

  • Uncomfortable sensations deep within the legs, accompanied by a strong urge to move them
  • The leg sensations are triggered by rest and get worse at night
  • The uncomfortable sensations temporarily get better when you move, stretch, or massage your legs
  • Repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep

 

Narcolepsy Sleep Disorder

Narcolepsy is another sleep disorder that is rather severe. This involves excessive, uncontrollable daytime sleepiness. It is caused by a dysfunction of the brain that controls sleeping and waking. You may have ‘sleep attacks’ while talking, working or even while driving. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Seeing or hearing things when you’re drowsy or starting to dream before you’re fully asleep
  • Suddenly feeling weak or losing control of your muscles when you’re laughing, angry, or experiencing other strong emotions
  • Dreaming right away after going to sleep or having intense dreams
  • Feeling paralyzed and unable to move when you’re waking up or dozing off

 

Sleep Disorder Management

There are other sleep disorders that you might want to check out and learn about but here are few pointers for sleep disorder management to take care of them generally. You should:

  1. Keep a sleep diary. It is a simple yet very useful tool for identifying sleep disorders and sleeping problems and identifying day and nighttime habits that may contributing to your difficulties in sleeping. Keeping a record of your sleeping problems and patterns can also be helpful if you seek medical professional help. Here’s what your sleep diary should have:
  2. What time you went to bed and woke up
  3. Total sleep hours and perceived quality of your sleep
  4. A record of time you spent awake and what you did (“stayed in bed with eyes closed,” for example, or “got up, had a glass of milk, and meditated”)
  5. Types and amount of food, liquids, caffeine, or alcohol you consumed before bed, and times of consumption
  6. Your feelings and moods before bed
  7. Any drugs or medications taken, including dose and time of consumption

 

You can also improve your sleep hygiene and daytime habits. Regardless of what sleep disorder you may be having, a consistent sleep routine and an improved sleep habits will translate to better sleep over time. You can address common sleep problems with lifestyle changes and sleep hygiene. They key is to experiment. You can use your sleep diary as a jump start.

Once you’re committed to a course of treatment for your sleep disorder, we encourage you to look to Dr. Unger to help you manage it. Unger Primary Care Medical Group offers concierge medicine, meaning that our care for you extends beyond an office visit or a prescription bottle. We offer comprehensive care, assisting you in all avenues of your health care experience, making Dr. Unger available to you seven days a week, at any hour, and encouraging you to follow a course of daily behaviors that can help you achieve true wellbeing. We are specialists in chronic disease states, such as sleep disorders, and we go above and beyond the usual boundaries of primary care. Have us give you a call today.