Sleep problems are so widespread that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared a public health epidemic. One of the reasons is that According to the Sleep Association, between 50 and 70 million people suffer from sleep issues. This can significantly affect one's health, as a lack of sleep can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
The Most Common Sleep Problems
Now and then, we all have a bad night's sleep. There are two forms of insomnia: short-term and chronic insomnia.
Short-term insomnia is characterized as sleep disturbance that lasts less than three months, while chronic insomnia is defined as sleeping problems that last at least three nights a week for three months. Health issues such as chronic pain, the use of sleep-disrupting drugs such as nicotine and alcohol, and behavioral and mental health conditions such as stress and anxiety are all possible causes.
If you're one of the 10% to 30% of adults who have insomnia, there are various treatment options available. Cognitive-behavioral treatment is the gold standard, which entails good sleep hygiene such as going to bed and waking up at about the same time every day, minimizing or removing alcohol, and possibly cutting out caffeine. If behavioral changes are ineffective, medicine can be used.
Restless Legs Syndrome
You may have RLS if you have an uncontrollable and sometimes unpleasant urge to lift your legs or feet (usually on both sides of your body). According to Mayo Clinic, although this feeling may occur while sitting, most of the symptoms occur at night, disrupting sleep.
Crawling, scratching, aching, and throbbing are some of the sensations people with this condition describe. Movement brings relief. A variety of factors causes RLS. It's difficult to tell, but family history, pregnancy, and hormonal shifts may all play a part.
How to Get Rid of Restless Legs Syndrome
RLS symptoms can be alleviated by modifying one's lifestyle. Having daily exercise, avoiding caffeine, taking a warm bath, practicing good sleep hygiene, getting leg massages, applying cold or warm packs to your limbs, and using an RLS-designed foot wrap are examples of what you can do.
Your doctor can also prescribe medicine for sleep disorder or perform tests to decide whether you have an iron deficiency, which may occur alongside RLS symptoms.
Sleep Apnea (sleep deprivation)
One of the most common sleep disorders is sleep apnea. It may influence both men and women and children and adults (though more men experience apnea). The problem is that many people go undiagnosed with sleep apnea, which can harm their health by raising their risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Disrupted breathing (it's either difficult to breathe, or you avoid breathing for up to a minute at a time), morning headaches, intense daytime exhaustion, irritability, trouble thinking clearly, and a short attention span are all signs of sleep apnea.
Other symptoms include:
Snoring (which your bedmate can hear first).
- Needing to go to the bathroom regularly during the night.
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea? Smoking, sleeping on your back, family history, alcohol, obesity, nasal congestion, hormone disorders such as hypothyroidism, and even your anatomical features may all be contributing factors.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you think you (or your partner) have sleep apnea, see a doctor who will help you work out a treatment plan. Some people may be able to overcome the problem by making lifestyle changes such as losing weight, sleeping on their side, and reducing the number of sedatives they take.
On the other hand, others need specialized equipment such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) system to hold their airways open when sleeping.
Do you find yourself nodding off during the day, even while talking or working? Have you ever had a sudden desire to sleep in the afternoon, probably for as long as 30 minutes? These are the most common symptoms of narcolepsy, but other symptoms, such as a sudden loss of muscle tone, may also occur. This is known as cataplexy, and it can result in slurred speech or complete muscle fatigue. A strong emotion usually brings it about.
While there is no cure for narcolepsy, the doctor may prescribe medications and recommend lifestyle changes such as napping, exercising regularly, keeping a consistent sleep-wake schedule, and avoiding alcohol and nicotine.
These are also known as night terrors, and unlike nightmares, where you wake up from your dream, a person who is having night terrors remains asleep while screaming and flailing. During this case, they can also sleepwalk.
According to Mayo Clinic, terrors affect children more than adults and can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. The causes range from sleep loss and stress to fever and sleep disturbances. Other sleep-related issues, such as drugs, sleep apnea, and alcohol abuse, may also trigger night terrors.
Night Terrors treatment
Since night terrors can cause harm, the first line of defense in a recovery plan is to improve protection and determine the causes or triggers. Doctors will seek lack of sleep symptoms and treat any other medical or mental health issues that could be causing the sleep terrors first. They can even encourage you to deal with the stress and, in rare situations, take medication.
Sleepwalking, contrary to its name, does not only suggest walking while sleeping. Sleepwalkers may also dress, drive, urinate (usually in inappropriate places), and even engage in sexual activities. These activities typically last less than half an hour with the majority lasting less than ten minutes.
You may return to bed and fall asleep at that time, or you may wake up while still in bed, sometimes confused. Stress, sleep apnea, RLS, alcohol, medications, fever, brain injury, family history, and sleep deprivation are all possible causes of this condition in children.
Sleepwalking episodes are usually not treated because they become less frequent as you get older. If assistance is needed, you can work with your doctor to determine the cause of restless sleep and develop a treatment plan.
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