Sleep disorders are conditions that impair sleeping activities and potentially prevent the body from gaining the benefits of a good night’s sleep. As a result, these disorders pave the way for weakening the immune system and the rise of other chronic diseases.
Briefly discussed below are the common things people should know about sleep disorders before visiting a sleep clinic or physician.
What Happens When a Person Experiences Sleep Disorders?
Inadequate sleep often leads to interference with the brain’s cognitive function, memory loss, and behavioral changes. It also degrades one’s motor coordination, leading to slow reaction times and even chronic fatigue. Being awake for 18 hours (6AM-10PM), negatively impacts your driving ability just as much as having a blood alcohol content of 0.05%, which is the legal limit in BC.
Furthermore, sleep loss can lead to major adverse bodily diseases, weak immunity, and disarray of muscle to fat ratio.
What are the Causes of Sleep Disorders?
Based on a recent study, sleep disorders affect more women than men. There are many factors—both habitual and external—that can cause sleeping issues. Sleep disorders disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm, despite the cause’s variances.
Some of the factors that initiate sleep disruption include:
- Physical pain and ailments, such as ulcers
- Interference with regular breathing patterns, such as asthma
- Psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety
- Environmental factors such as chronic pollution
- Vices like alcohol
- Skewing the biological clock, such as working the night shift
- Hereditary factors
- Medications that affect sleeping
- Stimulants such as caffeine
What Is Insomnia?
A large percentage of sleep disorders lead to insomnia. Insomnia is defined with the common meaning of what sleep disorders are: difficulty in falling asleep. Insomniacs often develop one or more symptoms:
- Sleeping issues
- Prematurely waking up in the morning
- Increase sensitivity to all sleeping interference
- Sleep that doesn’t contribute to rest
- Chronic fatigue
Insomnia can be acute or chronic. Acute insomnia occurs with mild symptoms and can happen on occasion. Most cases of acute insomnia develop along with life stressors and fluctuating hormones. In contrast, chronic insomnia involves more severe symptoms because of prolonged disruption of the body’s homeostasis.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder that occurs due to an anomaly in the breathing pattern during sleep. Cases surrounding sleep apnea can range from mild occurrences of loud snoring to sudden unexplained death syndrome (SUDS).
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) pertains to the blocking of the airway. Symptoms include snoring, fatigue, restlessness, and interruption of sleep. Central sleep apnea (CSA) is significantly worse as it is caused by the central nervous system that ceases the prompting of the body to keep breathing. People with CSA may routinely gasp for air, but at its worst, it can cause death. Both types of sleep apnea can lead to and cause chronic insomnia, as the brain leans that sleeping is a dangerous thing to do.
What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by an unexplained urge to move the legs. RLS often happens when resting after prolonged exercise. We know there is a link to low iron levels and RLS, but blood levels are not always an accurate indicator of iron levels in the brain, which is the important factor for RLS. The complexity of sleep disorders means that we are always learning more about them.
How Are Sleep Disorders Diagnosed?
If you are feeling or showing symptoms of a sleep disorder, keep track of your daily sleeping habits and discuss them with your doctor. Doctors typically perform physical examinations to help you determine factors that lead to a lack of sleep.
You will likely be referred to a sleep disorder clinic and undergo wither an at home sleep study (Level III) or in lab sleep study (Level 1). The study will be reviewed by sleep specialist physician to give you recommendations, and you may enter full follow up care with them depending on the type of sleep disorder you have.
Sleeping disorders can be a great hindrance and annoyance in one’s life. But more importantly, it’s a disease that needs prompt diagnosis and treatment whenever available.
Whether you’re looking for a cure for your sleeping problems or seeking sleep apnea solutions in Vancouver, Surrey or Victoria, Sleep Better Live Better will provide the sleeping treatment you need. Visit our clinic for your sleeping disorders today!