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Do you find yourself dragging from bed to the coffee pot every day?  Do you lack the energy needed to make it through your workday?  You may have a sleep disorder.  According to the American Sleep Association, 50-70 million adults have some type of sleep disorder.  Getting enough sleep is vital to your health.  It restores your mind and body.

By not getting the rest you need, your body cannot properly repair itself, and it can be detrimental to your health.  Lack of sleep can cause Mood Disorders, Immune Function, Heart Disease, and Obesity, just to name a few.  There are many different types of disorders; here are the most common ones and what they do to your much-needed snooze time.

Insomnia

 

 

Everyone has had a bout with this nasty condition.  However, there are several types of Insomnia.  Acute Insomnia is temporary and is usually caused by some form of a stressor.  Perhaps some unfortunate news or a work presentation the next day.  Although a pest it’s not nearly as destructive as Chronic Insomnia.  That annoying process of staring at the ceiling for hours no matter how exhausted you are, as your mind refuses to rest.

Sometimes you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or returning to sleep once you wake up.  To be diagnosed with Chronic Insomnia, you must have it three times a week for a period of three months.  Do not let this condition continue if it persists.

Contact your doctor and let them know so they can provide help.  A few things you can do that are natural are breathing exercises, meditation, and a natural supplement such as Melatonin.  Before adding any sleep-aids speak with your pharmacist if you are taking any medication beforehand.

 

Sleep Apnea

 

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Sleep Apnea is a scary condition.  I woke up to my husband frantic because I had stopped breathing on several occasions.  Come to find out I have sleep apnea.  The most common Sleep Apnea is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  This happens when the tissue in the back of your throat collapses while you sleep.  Central Sleep Apnea is when your brain fails to signal you to breathe.

If you sleep solo and aren’t sure whether you may have it, there are warning signs to let you know to tell your doctor.  For instance, if you wake up gasping or choking, that is a huge red flag.  Also, touch and go sleep, and waking up to a sore throat in the mornings can clue you in as well.  The most common cure for this condition is using a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Device, also known as a CPAP machine while you sleep.

 

 

Night Terrors

 

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As if nightmares weren’t bad enough, there is a terrible condition known as Night Terrors.  This condition is more common in children, but adults can also suffer from these.  Night Terrors differ because they are rarely remembered and are “acted” out while one sleeps.  The person may kick, thrash, scream, sit up and look awake but are still asleep!

At times it can even lead to sleep-walking.  These terror episodes can be the cause of underlying conditions such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Mood Disorders, and possibly medications.  The first thing a doctor should do is to see if it’s from one of those conditions.  If that is the cause, hopefully addressing the source will make them cease.  Sometimes therapy is used to relieve stress, and sometimes medication as well.

 

Narcolepsy

 

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Narcolepsy is a condition where people will involuntarily fall asleep.  Our brain produces a chemical called Hypocretin, and it acts on alerting our brain to stay awake.  People with Narcolepsy lack the production of this chemical and, without it has trouble staying awake.  They may also experience hallucinations upon falling asleep or trying to wake up.  As if this wasn’t bad enough, it can also cause vivid nightmares.  To treat effectively, you will be provided with a combination of medication and behavioral changes.

 

Restless Leg Syndrome

 

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Restless leg syndrome, aka “jimmy legs,” is a syndrome that gives you the persistent urge to move your legs.  You will feel uncomfortable sensations such as tingling like pins and needles throughout your legs.  This condition is more frequent at night, which is why it is considered a sleep disorder.   Approximately 10% of the United States population is affected by this syndrome.

The majority of cases are not known and thought to be genetic, but it can also be caused by Chronic Diseases, Pregnancy, and Medications.  You can ease your symptoms by reducing tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol intake.  Adding things like exercise, leg massages, and applying heating pads will help too.

 

 

Take Action

 

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If you are feeling worn out and don’t seem to feel rested no matter what, seek professional help.  Also, applying a healthier lifestyle such as exercise, diet, and relaxation techniques will assist your body to heal.  We need an average of 7-10 hours of sleep per day to prevent a decline in our health.  Always listen to your body; it knows what we need.

 

Resources:

 

https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-statistics/

https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/what-happens-when-you-sleep

https://sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/content/treatment

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/symptoms-of-sleep-apnea

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/sleep-apnea

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea-treatment

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/narcolepsy-and-sleep

https://www.webmd.com/brain/restless-legs-syndrome/restless-legs-syndrome-rls#1

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