Sleeping is a very important part of our daily routine as without it our bodies and mind cannot relax and be ready for the next day. However, everyone is not that lucky to enjoy a full night sleep without any interruptions. Millions of people have a serious negative effects on their health because of the sleeping problems.To assist and shed light on this crucial yet often overlooked topic, I will discuss the causes, kinds and treatments of these type of disorders in this article.
Causes of sleeping disorder:
There can be a variety of physiological and psychological reasons to have difficulty in sleeping. Some of these includes:
Medical conditions: Serious medical conditions including Sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome(RLS), narcolepsy and insomnia can be a major cause for sleep disorders. In the case of sleep apnea, poor sleep is caused by difficulty in breathing as breathing stops continuously during the night. On the other hand, RLS can also disrupt the sleep as the person has a continuous urge of moving their legs . People suffering from insomnia have trouble in falling sleep or cant sleep for a long time , thus are mostly sleep deprived.
Mental Health Disorders: Depression, anxiety and PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) are some of the diseases which can cause sleep deprivation. In anxiety and depression, it is very difficult to sleep because of the constant feeling of emotional distress, thoughts and worry. Meanwhile, symptoms of PTSD includes nightmares, night sweats as well as disturbed sleep due to the triggering by any past past traumatic experiences.
Lifestyle factors: Irregular sleep patterns, excessive use of caffeine or alcohol ,a sedentary lifestyle and use of phone at a bad time usually before bedtime Are some of the lifestyle factors contributing to sleep disorders .The circadian rhythms of the body which is a major factor in controlling the sleep wake cycle, is usually disrupted by irregular sleep patterns causing sleep disorders
Types of sleeping disorders:
There are several types of sleeping disorders i-e:
Insomnia: The Most common sleeping disorder is insomnia in which the person has problem of getting sleep aswell as staying sleep.It can be of two type: acute and chronic and can result in disability of a person to perform well during the day
Sleep apnea: It is a very serious disorder which results in pauses in breathing while sleeping which in turn disturbs the sleep. It may cause tiredness during the day, snoring and choking sounds.
Read more about Sleep apnea here
Restless leg syndrome (RLS): It is a syndrome that causes the urge to move the legs which is often uncontrollable accompanied by feelings like tingling, itching, or crawling. It is usually harder to sleep in this disease as it gets worsen during the night
Narcolepsy: Narcolepsy is a neurological condition that is usually prevalent during stressful and emotional circumstances and results in excessive daily sleep and feeling of paralysis of muscles
Natural methods to control sleep disorders:
Sleep disorders can be of varying severity and can have variety of causes , thus consulting with a healthcare professional is necessary to understand the severity of the disease.
However, here are some general ways of controlling sleep disorders:
Regular sleep schedule: Try to maintain a healthy schedule of sleeping and waking up even on weekends. This helps to maintain the normal circadian cycle of your body and promotes better sleep.
Create a good sleeping environment: Make an environment favorable for sleep i-e ensuring that the lights are turned off and it’s not noisy in the room. For this use curtains that stops light from entering and earplugs to block out the sound and have a peaceful sleep.
Limit stimulants before bedtime: Stimulants like nicotine, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided near the bed time as they may disrupt the normal sleep cycle and cause difficulty in sleeping.
Decrease screen time: The harmful rays emitted by electronic devices reduces the production of melatonin which is a hormone essential for regulating the sleep cycle. Put your phone away an hour or more before going to bed.
Control stress:In disrupting sleep, anxiety and stress has a major role. Try to control stress and anxiety by opting to different stress relieving approaches like mindfulness, relaxation exercises or talking to a therapist
Avoid naps: Apart from being refreshing , naps can also disturb the sleep wake cycle. So try taking less naps during evening and have a proper sleep at night
Sleeping medications: This should be the last resort to get relieved from sleeping disorders and should be taken only if all other measures fail. Also the sleeping pills should be taken according to the doctors prescription as These are highly addictive and can have dire consequences.
Treatments for sleeping disorders:
The treatment options for sleeping disorders are as follows:
Medical interventions: Different type of disorders have different treatment options for instance : there are many stimulant drugs for narcolepsy, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure for sleep apnea, different medications for RLS and prescribed medication by Health care practitioner for narcolepsy
Behavioral therapies: Different behavioral therapies ,which focus on improving sleep hygeine and improving negative thoughts , i-e CBT-1 for Insomnia and alot of other therapies such as relaxation therapies and stimulus controlled therapies
Management of underlying medical conditions: Other medical conditions like depression anxiety can also exacerbate the sleep disorders thus , treating such disorders can also help in maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.
Alternative therapies: Different therapies alternative to the allopathic medicines i-e accupuncture and different relaxation techniques are also very helpful in controlling sleep disorders however it is essential to contact with a relative health care practitioner for the efficacy and safety of such methods.
Sleep aids and clinics: Different sedative and hypnotics are prescribed for aiding in sleeping however because of the sid effects and the addiction they pose to the person are very strong so they must be taken under the supervision of a health care practitioner. Also, People with extreme sleep disorders are advised to go to clinics for the assessment and management as these clinics provides thorough sleep evaluations, sleep studies, and personalized treatment regimens.
Potential future treatments for Sleep disorders:
Therapeutic agents: New safer and more effective medications heaving less side effects are being researched for by the scientists. For instance, medications like orexin antagonists for treatment of insomnia and dopamine agonists for Rest Less Syndrome disease are being investigated by targetting the different neurotransmitters in brain to control the sleep wake cycle.
Hi, I’m Affan lateef , a pharmacist by profession. I have a degree in pharmacy and over 5 years of experience helping people achieve their health goals. I write about various topics like health, artificial intelligence in health, mental health, diet and weight loss. Follow me here on these platforms given below.