What on earth is a sleep disorder and how do you deal with it? Sleeping disorders are conditions that prevent you from getting deep, restful sleep and thereby impact pretty much every aspect of your life.
Absolutely anyone could suffer from a sleep disorder and they can manifest in various different ways. If you regularly struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, find yourself feeling chronically tired and have problems with your energy levels in general, you might have a sleep disorder.
If this is what you suspect, there are a few important things to know.
There Are Solutions
First of all, it’s important not to lose hope – there are ways to treat and manage sleep conditions. Sometimes they’re passing phases, sometimes they can be cured completely and even if not, they can usually be managed quite well.
On top of seeking medical advice from a registered health professional, you can take action to manage your sleep on your own too. Consider things like blackout curtains, researching weighted blankets and what size weighted blanket you should buy, creating a restful bedtime routine and limiting stimulation around bedtime.
Of course, the most important thing to do is speak to your doctor and seek professional advice for your condition.
There Are Different Types
The different types of sleep disorders will all have different symptoms, effects, causes and treatments.
The most common sleep and well-known sleep disorder is insomnia, which you may have heard of by now. Many people claim to have insomnia when they have a bad night’s sleep or wake up feeling groggy, but genuine insomnia is a serious condition that can negatively impact people’s entire lives and last for years.
Other common disorders include restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy and sleep apnea. These different disorders affect the human mind and body in different ways and will require different treatment.
They Can Have Various Effects on Your Life
Depending on what kind of sleep condition you’re dealing with, the symptoms and effects can vary to a large degree. However, the main impact is a lack of sleep or a lack of restful sleep, which has general effects that will likely manifest in anyone with a sleep disorder.
These include chronic tiredness, trouble with focus, concentration and memory and gastrointestinal issues. Due to the lack of sleep and the way this impacts the brain, sleep disorders can also lead to depression and anxiety disorders, which will need to be treated before they impact relationships.
They Could Indicate Another Issue
Sleep disorders could be caused by other medical issues you may be experiencing. These include digestive-related issues such as ulcers or chronic heartburn which make it difficult to fall or stay asleep. Disorders like sleep apnea which involve the breathing could be related to conditions like asthma and might require related intervention.
While sleep disorders could cause depression and anxiety, the roles could be reversed too – with mental health issues being the root cause of a sleep disorder.
A sleep disorder could also be the result of other lifestyle-related issues such as alcohol or drug abuse, working strange or irregular hours, medications or even simply ageing.
You Can Get it Diagnosed
Luckily, health professionals are there to help you, and if you’ve been struggling with sleep for a long time, you can go and get it checked out.
Before you assume you have a sleep disorder, try to rule out environmental or habitual causes of poor sleep – such as staying up too late watching TV, scrolling on your phone or being surrounded by people in a noisy dorm room or house shared with housemates.
When you see a professional for your sleep problems, they might ask you about your lifestyle and sleeping habits, such as your work hours, how long you typically sleep, whether you nap often and how much energy you have during the day.
Certain disorders can be diagnosed by various tests, so be prepared to have these options presented to you.
Living your life without proper rest can be debilitating. You’ll struggle to find the energy or motivation to do normal daily tasks, lose focus during work or school hours and potentially even fall asleep while working, studying or even driving.
This can be dangerous and frustrating in many ways, which is why sleep disorders are serious and need to be addressed before they get worse. Do not allow your sleep troubles to impact your mental and physical health – if you suspect you have a problem, call a doctor today and seek help.