Sleepy

Changes in sleeping patterns or habits that can negatively affect health.

Most common types

  • Restless legs syndrome

    A condition characterised by a nearly irresistible urge to move the legs, typically in the evenings.

  • Jet lag

    A sleep disorder that can affect those who travel quickly across multiple time zones.

  • Narcolepsy

    A chronic sleep disorder that causes overwhelming daytime drowsiness.

  • Night terror

  • Sleepwalking

    The act of getting up and walking around while asleep.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea

    Intermittent airflow blockage during sleep.

  • Insomnia

    Persistent problems falling and staying asleep.

 

Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that affect the ability to sleep well on a regular basis. Whether they are caused by a health problem or by too much stress, sleep disorders are becoming increasingly common in the United States. In fact, more than 75 percent of Americans between ages 20 and 59 report having sleeping difficulties fairly regularly.

Most people occasionally experience sleeping problems due to stress, hectic schedules, and other outside influences. However, when these issues begin to occur on a regular basis and interfere with daily life, they may indicate a sleeping disorder.

Depending on the type of sleep disorder, people may have a difficult time falling asleep and may feel extremely tired throughout the day. The lack of sleep can have a negative impact on energy, mood, concentration, and overall health.

In some cases, sleep disorders can be a symptom of another medical or mental health condition. These sleeping problems may eventually go away once treatment is obtained for the underlying cause. When sleep disorders aren’t caused by another condition, treatment normally involves a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes.

It’s important to receive a diagnosis and treatment right away if you suspect you might have a sleep disorder. When left untreated, the negative effects of sleep disorders can lead to further health consequences. They can also affect your performance at work, cause strain in relationships, and impair your ability to perform daily activities.

 

No health feed found.

There are many conditions, diseases, and disorders that can cause sleep disturbances. In many cases, sleep disorders develop as a result of an underlying health problem.

Allergies and Respiratory Problems

Allergies, colds, and upper respiratory infections can make it challenging to breathe at night. The inability to breathe through your nose can also cause sleeping difficulties.

Nocturia

Nocturia, or frequent urination, may disrupt your sleep by causing you to wake up during the night. Hormonal imbalances and diseases of the urinary tract may contribute to the development of this condition. (Be sure to call your doctor right away if frequent urination is accompanied by bleeding or pain.)

Chronic Pain

Constant pain can make it difficult to fall asleep. It might even wake you up after you fall asleep. Some of the most common causes of chronic pain include:

  • arthritis
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • fibromyalgia
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • persistent headaches
  • continuous lower back pain

In some cases, chronic pain may even be exacerbated by sleep disorders. For instance, doctors believe the development of fibromyalgia might be linked to sleeping problems.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety often have a negative impact on sleep quality. It can be difficult for you to fall asleep or to stay asleep. Nightmares, sleep talking, or sleepwalking may also disrupt your sleep.

Stress can be a risk factor.

Symptoms can differ depending on the severity and type of sleeping disorder. They may also vary when sleep disorders are a result of another condition. However, general symptoms of sleep disorders include:

  • difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • daytime fatigue
  • strong urge to take naps during the day
  • irritability or anxiety
  • lack of concentration
  • depression

Your doctor will first perform a physical exam and gather information about your symptoms and medical history. They will also order various tests, including:

  • polysomnography: a sleep study that evaluates oxygen levels, body movements, and brain waves to determine how they disrupt sleep
  • electroencephalogram: a test that assesses electrical activity in the brain and detects any potential problems associated with this activity
  • genetic blood testing: a blood test commonly used to diagnose narcolepsy and other underlying health conditions that might be causing sleeping problems

These tests can be crucial in determining the right course of treatment for sleep disorders.

Treatment for sleep disorders can vary depending on the type and underlying cause. However, it generally includes a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes.

Medical Treatments

Medical treatment for sleep disturbances might include any of the following:

  • sleeping pills
  • melatonin supplements
  • allergy or cold medication
  • medications for any underlying health issues
  • breathing device or surgery (usually for sleep apnea)
  • a dental guard (usually for teeth grinding)

 

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle adjustments can greatly improve your quality of sleep, especially when they’re done along with medical treatments. You may want to consider:

  • incorporating more vegetables and fish into your diet, and reducing sugar intake
  • reducing stress and anxiety by exercising
  • creating and sticking to a regular sleeping schedule
  • drinking less water before bedtime
  • limiting your caffeine intake, especially in the late afternoon or evening
  • decreasing tobacco and alcohol use
  • eating smaller low carbohydrate meals before bedtime

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can also significantly improve your sleep quality. While you might be tempted to sleep in on the weekends, this can make it more difficult to wake up and fall asleep during the workweek.

The effects of sleep disorders can be so disruptive that you will likely want immediate relief. Unfortunately, long-term cases can take a bit more time to resolve. However, if you stick with your treatment plan and regularly communicate with your doctor, you can eventually find your way to better sleep.

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