Common Sleep Disorders That Can Impact Your Personal Life & Work31 Oct
The amount of sleep you get determines how you live your life. Relationships, work, parenting – they all rely on you to be happy, focused and energized. If you’re having trouble sleeping, your daily life could start to spiral downhill. It’s important to address why you’re having sleep disturbances and how to manage them in order to enjoy life to its fullest.
What Are the Most Common Sleep Disorders?
Three of the most common sleep disorders are insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy. Here is an overview of each and how they can affect your life.
About half of us have experienced insomnia at some point. Whether it’s having a hard time falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, or waking too early in the morning, it can make for a tough time functioning the next day. If you experience insomnia regularly, your home life, friendships, and work can start to suffer.
At home, you may:
- Feel crabby and become angry at the kids and your spouse more easily
- Have no desire to take care of the house due to your lack of energy.
- Lose interest in getting together with friends due to depression.
- Become forgetful and unable to keep up with family schedules.
At work, you’ll:
- Have difficulty concentrating on important tasks.
- Become impatient with co-workers.
- Have accidents while operating equipment.
- Become stressed more easily.
Treatment for Insomnia
If you’ve been losing sleep for at least three nights a week for a month or longer, it’s important to see a doctor who knows about common sleep disorders. Chronic insomnia is an indication of depression, anxiety, chronic stress, or chronic pain.
Some possible ways to reduce insomnia episodes include:
Establishing a daily routine: A routine that includes exercise and healthy eating, and a bedtime routine in which you quiet down, dim the lights, and remove all electronics at the same time each night.
Relaxation and meditation: Try different techniques, such as breathing exercises, to reduce your stress levels.
Sleep aid medications that your doctor recommends: These could include benzodiazepine hypnotics, non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, and melatonin receptor agonists.
Join a study: A sleep study to determine if there are underlying issues causing your insomnia.
Obstructive sleep apnea happens when soft tissue in the throat relaxes and collapses into the airway, blocking oxygen from getting to the lungs. When the airway isn’t completely blocked, you’ll snore. When it’s all the way blocked, you’ll gasp or choke. Since your brain wakes up throughout the night to remind you to breathe, it never gets to enter deep sleep. Deep sleep is when tissue is repaired, and cognitive function is restored, so sleep apnea wreaks havoc on your daily life.
Your health and safety:
- The respiratory effort to continue functioning while you sleep puts a strain on the heart, increasing your risk of heart attack, heart failure, and more.
- Constant sleep disturbances will put you at risk of falling asleep while driving, putting you and your family in danger.
Your personal life:
- Snoring in the bedroom can keep your partner from sleeping, resulting in both of you waking up tired and crabby.
- You’re more likely to suffer from depression and withdraw from family life if you’re extremely exhausted.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
See a doctor if you are excessively tired during the day, or if your partner has noticed you stop breathing at night. Your doctor may be able to tell if you have sleep apnea upon exam or may recommend a sleep study. If he finds that you suffer from sleep apnea, treatment may include:
Make some changes: Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, cutting back on alcohol and quitting smoking.
Alter your position: Sleeping on your side or at an incline rather than flat on your back.
Wear a CPAP machine: Wearing a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine, or CPAP, which keeps your airway open to allow you to keep breathing as you sleep.
If you have chronic daytime sleepiness or fall asleep throughout the day, you could have narcolepsy. With narcolepsy, you can fall asleep at any time, even at work, at school, or while driving, so narcolepsy must be addressed.
Symptoms of Narcolepsy
Sleep Paralysis, which is when you can’t move or speak while falling asleep or waking up, even if you are aware of your surroundings. This is because your body is still in REM sleep, which keeps your voluntary muscles “paralyzed.”
Hallucinations, which can be frightening to yourself or those around you.
Cataplexy, which is an inability to move or speak, usually triggered by surprise, fear, anger, stress, or humor. This happens when you’re fully conscious.
Nocturnal sleep disturbances, causing you to wake up four or five times at night, which causes excessive sleepiness during the day. It’s a vicious cycle.
Treatment for Narcolepsy
There is no definite reason for narcolepsy and no known cure, but your doctor can recommend a treatment plan to reduce symptoms so you can keep your life on track and keep you safe.
Medication. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe stimulants to help you stay awake, antidepressants to alleviate cataplexy and sleep paralysis, and Sodium Oxybate to help you sleep at night.
Lifestyle changes. It may help to take short 15-minute naps during the day to alleviate daytime sleepiness, avoid caffeine 2 hours before bed, and to keep a consistent sleep/wake bedtime schedule.
Join a support group. This is a great way to feel like you’re not alone and learn coping tips from others who suffer from narcolepsy.
If You Suffer From a Sleep Disorder, Don’t Suffer From an Uncomfortable Bed Too
You have enough trouble sleeping – the last thing you need is an uncomfortable bed. At Mark’s Mattress Outlet, you’ll find the best selection of quality mattresses that relieve painful pressure points as well as adjustable bases that help you sleep at an incline – which many doctors recommend for sleep apnea patients.
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