Sleep Disorders Symptoms You Need to Know
A productive society is one in which individuals are healthy and happy. When it comes to individual care, sleep becomes an essential element in personal development. A good night’s rest can revitalize the body and mind and give a person the ability to take on challenges to their fullest potential.
However, in a busy world that operates round the clock, sleep issues have become quite rampant around the globe. This is especially worrying so when people brush aside the importance of sleep and merely focusing on exercise and diet. According to a survey conducted by Philips India, 60 percent of Indians do not consider sleep to be a priority as compared to exercise. Meanwhile, in the US, it is noted that about 10 percent of Americans have been reported to be suffering from chronic insomnia.
Disruptions in sleep patterns can be corrected. However, if symptoms persist, it is advisable to consult a medical professional, take the prescribed medications and make the necessary changes in your lifestyle. Sleep disorders can even be fatal; hence it is important to take care of this front.
How to identify when you have sleep issues?
There are numerous symptoms associated with sleep disorders. The most common among them are:
- Disrupted sleep. Constantly waking up while trying to sleep.
- Inability to fall asleep. Lying awake for too long and not falling asleep despite exhaustion.
- Feeling drained and low on energy despite getting enough sleep.
- Feeling drowsy throughout the day, despite sleeping for long hours
- Irregular sleeping patterns. Falling asleep and staying awake at abnormal hours.
Common sleep disorders
- Insomnia: When you are unable to fall asleep, stay asleep or are having constantly disrupted sleep and hence waking up without the benefit of a proper rest. This can be caused due to poor sleeping habits, anxiety, depression, lack of exercise, chronic illnesses or due to medications. The common treatment for the same is to improve sleeping habits, get involved in behavioral therapy, treating the underlying causes and even using sleeping pills.
- Obstructive sleep apnea: This disorder causes breathing issues during sleep resulting in symptoms like loud snoring, daytime drowsiness, disruptions in sleep, headaches, difficulty in concentration and mood swings. It is caused due to excessive relaxation of the muscles at the back of the throat during sleep. Those experiencing these symptoms need to consult medical professionals for treatment.
- Restless leg syndrome: This disorder causes an irresistible urge to move the legs which can occur while lying or sitting down. The movement causes disruption of sleep and this symptom gets worse with age. The simplest method to treat this symptom is to get up and move around. If this does not suffice, one needs to take steps to change their lifestyle and take medication.
- Narcolepsy: This is a chronic sleep disorder that causes overwhelming drowsiness during the day. It can also cause sudden attacks of sleep, a loss of muscle tone and hallucinations. It can be treated using medication and it is recommended that the person suffering from these symptoms get a medical diagnosis.
- Night terror: This generally occurs during the first non-REM hours of sleep and causes a feeling of terror the symptoms of which are quite similar to panic attacks. It is more common among children and can be treated with the help of psychotherapy and counseling.
In all cases, it is important to deal with sleeping issues early and consult professionals for help in case the disorders are not fixed with changes in personal routines. A sound sleep means a sound mind, a healthy body, and a good life.
What to do to sleep better?Once you have identified your sleep disorders symptoms, here are a few tips for better sleep that you can implement starting today.
- Reduce the time you spend in front of a screen in the evenings. Blue light exposure is a well-known factor in sleep problems. The natural light of the evening emits warm red hues (think sunset) while the natural light of dawn is blue. Exposing your eyes to blue light after a certain hour, therefore, tricks your brain into thinking it is still daytime. In turn, this reduces hormones like melatonin, which helps you relax and get deep sleep. So avoid electronic devices like smartphones and computers at all costs two hours before heading to bed, plus stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights.
- Try to go to bed at consistent times every day. Your body's circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset, so if you struggle with sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.
- Create a calm bedroom environment. The temperature of your bedroom, as well as noise, external lights and furniture arrangement, can all affect the quality of your sleep. Make sure you have good light-blocking blinds or curtains on your windows, and also hide artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks or phones. In fact, avoid sleeping with your phone next to you as it will emit electromagnetic radiations that can subconsciously disrupt sleep. In terms of temperature, around 70°F (20°C) seems to be a comfortable temperature for most people, and make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean and enjoyable place overall.