Sleep can be a complex process. There are a number of factors, both internal and external that can affect the quality of your sleep. Sleep disorders are one of the most significant barriers for getting a good night’s sleep.
How do you know if you have a sleep disorder, and what can you do to get better? Find out more below!
Sleep disorders cause disruptions in your sleep patterns. Currently, there are over 80 recognized sleep disorders. When you have a sleep disorder, you may suffer a number of symptoms, feel less rested in daily life, and experience difficulty with sleep.
It’s important to recognize the difference between infrequent sleep troubles and an actual sleep disorder.
You may have a sleep disorder if you’re:
- Unable to sleep on a regular basis
- Are tired or drowsy even after a full night of sleep
- Are unable to perform well during the day
Sleep is incredibly important, so recognizing the root cause of your sleep troubles is crucial to getting better sleep and feeling better in general.
Sleep disturbances can affect the quality of your sleep in a myriad of ways. If you’re having frequent sleep disturbances because of a sleep disorder, you may notice:
- You wake up throughout the night
- You lie in bed awake for long periods of time
- You have trouble falling asleep
- You have trouble falling back asleep after waking
- You’re unable to sleep in as long as you want
- You wake up feeling tired instead of well-rested
When you have these sleep troubles, the overall quality of your sleep is hindered.
When you have reduced sleep quality or poor sleep habits, feeling tired or groggy is just the start of potential physical and mental issues. Missing out on regular or consistent sleep can cause a number of mental health issues like depression and anxiety, impair cognitive ability, reduce memory retention, and contribute to how susceptible you are to conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Some sleep disorders are more common than others. Here are some of the most common disorders and how they can impair the quality of your sleep.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it hard to fall asleep. It also makes it difficult to stay asleep. This is the most common of all the sleep disorders. Here are some symptoms you can watch out for:
- Can’t fall asleep when you want to
- You wake throughout the nightIt’s difficult to fall back asleep after waking
- Sleep isn’t refreshing
- You feel fatigued or your mood is affected during the day
- You wake up too early in the morning
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the way your mind regulates sleep. When someone has narcolepsy, it can be difficult for them to control their sleep and waking states.
Here are some symptoms of narcolepsy to watch out for:
- Unable to control falling asleep during the day
- Sudden muscle weakness brought on by certain emotions
- Excessive sleeping during the day
Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep. The loss of breathing can occur for 10 seconds or more. There are two types of sleep apnea.
Let’s take a look at both:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): Obstructive sleep apnea is more common and occurs when the airway is blocked. The soft tissue at the back of the throat is the common cause.
Here are some symptoms of OSA:
- Excessive snoring
- Restless sleep
- Gasping for air while sleeping
- Feeling fatigued and tired during the day
Delayed sleep phase syndrome is a disorder that causes you to stay up much later than normal and to sleep through much of the morning. Although this is more common in teenagers, it occurs in plenty of adults as well.
Here are some symptoms to note:
- Unable to fall asleep when you want to
- Sleeping in way past normal waking hours
- Feeling tired if you have to wake up too early
Night terrors cause episodes of crying, restlessness, screaming, or fear while someone is still asleep. Typically, they won’t have much memory of their night terrors when they wake up.
Here are some symptoms that would indicate night terrors:
- Screaming or shouting while sleeping
- Kicking and thrashing while asleep
- Difficulty waking during an episode
- Frequent sleep disturbances from the episodes
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), causes your legs to have a tingling sensation or an intense urge to move while resting. RLS is most prominent in the evening and at night, which is why it commonly causes sleep troubles.
Here are some symptoms to keep in mind:
- Legs feel tingly or prickly when resting or sitting
- You feel a need to move your legs while resting
- The sensations in your legs make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep
Parasomnia is a category of behaviors that occur when someone is falling asleep, waking up, or during their sleep phase. Sleepwalking is one of the most common, but bedwetting, night terrors, sleep-related eating disorder, and more.
Parasomnia symptoms may include:
- Trouble sleeping during the night
- Being tired or fatigued during the day
- Waking up confusedBeing informed by housemates or partners of activities you don’t remember
Jet Lag is a common sleep disorder, albeit a temporary one. Jet Lag Disorder occurs when you pass through multiple time zones. This switch in your day and night cycles can cause your circadian rhythm to be off, ruining your normal sleep patterns. Typically, jet lag will go away in a few days, but it can sometimes take weeks to readjust.
Here are some symptoms of jet lag:
- Sleep and wake cycles are reversed after a flight
- You feel fatigued during the day
- You have trouble falling asleep when you want to
The symptoms of sleep disorders vary based on the disorder you have. You can look at specific disorders to see if your symptoms line up, or you can look at some general symptoms and consult an expert. Here are some of the common symptoms that occur in people with sleep disorders:
- You wake often during the night and you have trouble falling back asleep
- Falling asleep at night often takes you 30 minutes or longer
- You wake up too early in the morning and can’t sleep as long as you want to
- You fall asleep at random intervals throughout the day
- You don’t wake up feeling rested, even if you got a full night of sleep
- Your partner or someone else in your house notices you have issues while you’re sleeping
- You are regularly fatigued during the day and feel tired
- Your mood is affected by your sleep habits
- Your legs or arms have a tingling feeling when you’re at rest
- You’re unable to keep a consistent sleep schedule
When you’re noticing that you have trouble sleeping or you notice any symptoms of a sleep disorder, it’s a good time to seek treatment.
The causes of sleep orders can vary, and will largely depend on the type of disorder. But in general, sleep disorders can be brought on by factors like:
- Pre-existing physical conditions like heart or lung disease, nerve disorders
- Mental illnesses and mood disorders
- GeneticsSide effects of medication you’re taking
- Sleep habits
- Your environment
- The aging process, sleep disorders are more common in people over 65
- Work schedule
- Stress levels
These can all cause or contribute to a sleep disorder. Sleep is also a very complex process, and sometimes the cause is unknown. In general, identifying the cause of a sleep disorder can make it easier to treat.
The treatments for your sleep disorders will vary based on your condition. For many conditions, restful sleep habits and sleep hygiene can improve your sleep. Some conditions will require medical help.
Your treatments will normally involve:
- Practicing healthy sleep habits and making lifestyle modifications - There are a number of ways to improve your sleep hygiene, such as exercising, eating healthy, keeping a consistent sleep schedule, creating the optimal sleep environment, practicing relaxation techniques, timing your caffeine and alcohol consumption properly, and much more.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) - CBT can retrain your thoughts and ideas surrounding sleep.
- CPAP Machine - A continuous positive airway pressure machine can help you breathe at night if you have sleep apnea
- Medication and supplements - Though it’s better to improve your sleep without pills or supplements, they are sometimes prescribed.
If you need help improving your sleep habits and if you want to sleep without pills or melatonin or supplements, then Sleep Reset can help you.
Many sleep disorders can be overcome with mindful sleep habits. The trouble for most people is sticking to these habits and knowing how to implement them. With Sleep Reset, you’ll get a personalized plan to improve sleep and a dedicated sleep coach to help you every step of the way. Sleep Reset is a natural solution that forgoes the grogginess, side effects, and dependency that comes with sleeping pills.
By identifying and addressing your sleep problems at the source, we can help you fall asleep faster, get deeper sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed. It all starts with our easy and quick Sleep Quiz. Take our sleep assessment today to see how Sleep Reset can help you!