The Dangers of Disorders
Unfortunately, as important as quality sleep is, it’s not always so easy for everyone. Reports suggest that 70% of Americans between ages 20 and 59 have sleeping difficulties fairly regularly, and more than 50 million adults suffer from a specific sleep disorder that affects their daily life.
Certain sleep disorders may arise due to an underlying medical condition, while others may stem from extreme stress, hectic schedules, or other influences. They may make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, leave you with extreme fatigue throughout the day, or lead to irritability.
There are approximately 80 different sleep disorders that plague individuals daily, but the most common include:
With this condition, you have trouble falling asleep or remaining asleep. Everything from stress to digestive issues can trigger it, and it can affect many different aspects of your life, from your weight to your mood.
Your airway becomes restricted and breathing sporadically pauses with this serious condition. Because of that, your body takes in less oxygen, which can cause you to wake up frequently. It is often classified by loud snoring or choking noises, and in severe cases, it can happen hundreds of times a night. “Children can have sleep apnea too, and it’s linked with ADD and ADHD,” says Dr. Anuj Chandra, medical director at the Advanced Center for Sleep Disorders. “In many cases, treating the sleep apnea will allow the child to get off their medications, since their concentration and memory issues are caused by a lack of sleep.”
Restless Leg Syndrome
Often called just RLS, restless leg syndrome is the overwhelming need to move your legs. It can happen day or night but is most severe at night, and it may be accompanied by a tingling sensation. “The key to living with RLS is managing the symptoms,” says Dr. Smith. “Lifestyle changes like limiting caffeine and alcohol, taking a hot bath, and initiating an exercise plan can help.”
For people suffering from narcolepsy, it can be very hard to regulate any sort of sleep-wake cycle. Surprisingly, it’s harder to diagnose than you might expect. “There is often a 15 to 30-year delay in diagnosis,” says Dr. Chandra. “It frequently starts freshman or sophomore year of college, but the classic presentation of a person just falling asleep at any moment is not realistic. Rather, it can be classified by poor sleep at night followed by many restorative naps throughout the day. If despite having slept six to eight hours a night you’re still needing naps, you should seek help from a doctor.”
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD)
With this, your muscles don’t become temporarily paralyzed while in REM sleep, so you may try to act out your dreams, sometimes shouting, hitting, and generally moving your limbs. This condition can be very dangerous, often leading to injury to yourself or your loved one.