October 30, 2014
You can’t always blame your snoring bedmate or your barking dog if you don’t feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning. You can’t take it out on your sofa bed or pillows either. Chances are, the reason why you still feel so tired is because you have a sleeping disorder.
If you’re constantly having trouble falling asleep, then you’re #1 suspect is obviously insomnia. But what about the other culprits? To assure yourself of healthy, uninterrupted sleep, you have to be aware of the obstacles that can hinder it. Let’s take a look at the three most common sleep disorders and how we can treat them.
As the disorder that involves breathing problems during sleep, sleep apnea is divided into three types. First is Central Sleep Apnea where the one experiences shallow and infrequent breathing intermittently or at cycles. Second is Obstructive Sleep Apnea where the one experiences pauses in breathing while the third is complex or mixed sleep apnea, a combination of CSA and OSA.
Symptoms include snoring, waking up tired, feeling sleepy during the day, and difficulty concentrating. It’s a very common sleeping disorder, affecting both adults and children. If left untreated, it could lead to various cardiovascular diseases. Treatment always starts with behavioral therapy and patients are advised to avoid alcoholic beverages, sleeping pills and other sedatives.
Wearing Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) masks is one of the most common remedies for sleep apnea. This device “splints” the patient’s airways open by letting pressurized air flow into the throat. More extreme treatments involve surgery, although this should only be done if recommended by your doctor.
Don’t mistake this sleeping disorder for nightmares, which occur during REM sleep. People usually suffer night terrors during the third stage of non-REM sleep. During these bouts, you will experience feelings of terror and dread so intense that you may jolt from your sleep wide-eyed, screaming and sweating. Both adults and children experience night terrors, although it’s more common for the latter.
Studies show that people with more delta sleep activity are more prone than others. It was also discussed that the context of the dream may contribute to the intensity of the disorder. There are only two known treatments for night terrors: scheduled awakenings, a therapy known to prevent it, and medication. However, night terrors eventually subside, especially for children, and do not usually need further extended treatment.
As the most infamous sleeping disorder, insomnia is characterized by a person’s inability to fall or stay asleep. Though all people are at risk of sleeplessness at some point, insomnia is more prone to the elderly. It could be short term or long term depending on the person. And unless treated, it could lead to serious complications and even death.
There are two treatments for insomnia: non-pharmacological and the pharmacological. Non-pharmacological cures include cognitive behavioral therapy, where patients are taught to improve sleeping habits and debunk any myths they have learned about sleeping. Pharmacological cure or medication, on the other hand, is ideal for short term insomnia. Prolonged use of sleeping pills and sedatives should only be practiced if recommended.