Sunday, December 3, 2006

Causes of sleeping disorders

The causes of sleeping disorders may be of different types. But though they differ the end result of them all is the same: the body's natural cycle of sleeping and keeping wake is disrupted.

So the causes of sleeping disorders can be of the following types:
  • Environmental
  • Psychiatric
  • Physical
  • Medical
The variety of causes of sleeping disorders presupposes that treatment should be directed in a way to eliminate the disturbing cause. So, first of all try to establish what's happening in your life. For example acute insomnia can be caused by life stresses (job loss, death of a relative, or moving), an illness or environmental factors (noise, light, temperature).

Other causes of sleeping disorders can include:
  • aging: about half of people over 65 have some sleeping disorder.
  • genetics: there's a genetic basis for narcolepsy, a neurological disorder of sleep regulation that affects the control of sleeping and staying awake.
  • medications: quite a number of medications can interfere with sleep (antidepressants, cold medicine, blood pressure medicine).
So, in order to strive agains your sleeping disorder first find out the cause of it. Keep a sleep diary. It can help you to diagnose and measure improvements in treating your sleeping disorders.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Most common sleeping disorders

The most common sleeping disorders are:
  • bruxism (involuntarily grinding teeth while sleeping),
  • delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) (inability to wake up and fall asleep at the desired times),
  • hypopnea syndrome (abnormally shallow breathing or slow respiratory rate while sleeping),
  • insomnia (inability to fall asleep and/or remain asleep for a reasonable amount of time),
  • jet lag (temporary condition resulting in out of sync sleep patterns as a result of rapidly traveling across multiple time zones),
  • narcolepsy (falling asleep spontaneously and unwillingly),
  • night/sleep terror disorder (abrupt awakening from sleep with behavior consistent with terror),
  • parasomnias (a variety of disruptive sleep-related events),
  • periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) (involuntary movement of arms and/or legs during sleep),
  • rapid eye movement behavior disorder (RBD) (acting out violent or dramatic dreams while in REM sleep),
  • restless legs syndrome (RLS) (irresistible urge to move legs while sleeping),
  • shift work sleep disorder (SWSD),
  • sleep apnea (obstruction of the airway during sleep),
  • sleep paralysis (conscious paralysis upon waking or falling asleep),
  • sleepwalking or somnambulism (engaging in activities that are normally associated with wakefulness, including walking, eating, dressing without the conscious knowledge of the subject),
  • snoring (loud breathing patterns while sleeping).
You can find a more detailed classification of sleeping disorders and their descriptions at the Sleep Education website.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Simple questions to ask oneself

Do you have difficulty with your memory?

Do you react slowly?

Do you perform below your potential in work, school, or sports?

Do you often get told by others that you look tired?

Do you have emotional outbursts?

Do you have difficulty with your memory?

Do you have difficulty staying awake when sitting still, such as when watching television or reading?

Do you drink much coffee or tea to make yourself going?

Do you have difficulty paying attention or concentrating at work, school, or home?

Do you feel like taking a nap almost every day?

Do you feel irritable or sleepy during the day?

Do you fall asleep sometimes while driving?

A positive answer to any of these questions might mean that you suffer from sleep deprivation. And sleep deprivation is the main symptom of sleep disorders. You should consult a physician or sleep specialist for a diagnosis if you suspect that you have a sleep disorder. Still in doubt? Simply ask yourself the above-listed questions!

What is a sleep disorder?

Getting a good night's sleep is essential for feeling refreshed and alert during the day. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to get the restorative sleep they need. Sleep is a complex neurological state. Its primary function is rest and restoring the body's energy levels. Sleep consists of a rhythmic combination of changes in physiological, biochemical, neurophysiological and psychological processes. When the rhythm is disturbed or the individual processes are abnormal during sleep, a variety of sleeping disorders may result. So sleeping disorders are the disorders in sleep pattern.

A sleeping disorder disrupts and disturbs man’s overall quality of life. Most of those who have this or that sleeping disorder are completely unaware of it. Many of those who are aware of it most often don’t seek any help.

Generally speaking, sleeping disorders can be characterized by:

Sleeping disorders- difficulty falling or staying asleep,
- unrefreshing sleep
- excessive sleepiness during daytime,
- sleeping too much,
- difficulty sleeping during normal sleep hours at nighttime,
- abnormal behavior during sleep which disrupts it.

Sleeping disorders are likely interfere with your work, studies, social activities, driving and whatever. In other words they have negative effects on your physical and mental well-being. Statistics say that sleeping disorders affect at least forty million Americans each year.