Is it hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep though the night? Do you wake up feeling tired or feel very sleepy during the day, even if you have had enough sleep? You might have a sleep disorder.
The most common kinds are:
- Insomnia – a hard time falling or staying asleep
- Sleep apnea – breathing interruptions during sleep
- Restless legs syndrome – a tingling or prickly sensation in the legs
- Narcolepsy – daytime “sleep attacks”
Nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, sleep talking, head banging, wetting the bed and grinding your teeth are kinds of sleep problems called parasomnias. There are treatments for most sleep disorders. Sometimes just having regular sleep habits can help. Sleep disorders and other sleeping problems cause more than just sleepiness. Poor quality sleep can have a negative impact on your energy, emotional balance, productivity, and health.Sleeping well is essential to your physical health and emotional well-being. Unfortunately, even minimal sleep loss can take a toll on your mood, energy, efficiency, and ability to handle stress. Ignoring sleep problems and disorders can lead to poor health, accidents, impaired job performance, and relationship stress. If you want to feel your best, stay healthy, and perform up to your potential, sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.
Insomnia, the inability to get the amount of sleep you need to wake up feeling rested and refreshed, is the most common sleep complaint. Insomnia is often a symptom of another problem, such as stress, anxiety, depression, or an underlying health condition. It can also be caused by lifestyle choices, including the medications you take, lack of exercise, jet lag, or even the amount of coffee you drink.
Common signs and symptoms of insomnia include:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night or getting back to sleep after waking during the night
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Your sleep feels light, fragmented, or exhausting
- You need to take something (sleeping pills, nightcap, supplements) in order to get to sleep
- Sleepiness and low energy during the day
Whatever the cause of your insomnia, being mindful of your sleep habits and learning to relax will help you sleep better and feel better. The good news is that most cases of insomnia can be cured with lifestyle changes you can make on your own—without relying on sleep specialists or turning to prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which your breathing temporarily stops during sleep due to the blockage of the upper airways. These pauses in breathing interrupt your sleep, leading to many awakenings each hour. While most people with sleep apnea don’t remember these awakenings, they might feel exhausted during the day, irritable and depressed, or see a decrease in productivity.
Sleep apnea is a serious, and potentially life-threatening, sleep disorder. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, see a doctor right away. Sleep apnea can be successfully treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a mask-like device that delivers a stream of air while you sleep. Losing weight, elevating the head of the bed, and sleeping on your side can also help in cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Symptoms of sleep apnea 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 legs syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that causes an almost irresistible urge to move your legs (or arms). The urge to move occurs when you’re resting or lying down and is usually due to uncomfortable, tingly, aching, or creeping sensations.
Common signs and symptoms of restless legs syndrome 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 sleepsleep