The Science Of Sleep: 4 Common Sleep Disorders

Common Sleep DisordersDo you have troubles getting to sleep at night? Or do you wake up multiple times throughout the night? There are a number of sleep disorders that impact sleeping patterns in various forms.

Adults should sleep between 7-9 hours each night, while children need about 9 solid hours of sleep each night. There are two different types of sleep, REM and non-REM (NREM). As you sleep, you filter through four different stages, 4 being the deepest REM sleep and 1 being the lightest. While you sleep your body naturally filters in and out of these stages, but if you are constantly being woken up you are not able to properly cycle through the deepest stages of sleep. This can cause you to wake up feeling exhausted.

In this blog we describe 4 of the most common sleep disorders, as well as ways to help you get a better sleep tonight.

1. Circadian Rhythm Disorders

You have an internal clock that helps your body know when to fall asleep and when to wake up. This internal clock is located in the nerves near the back of the eyes, and is reset by exercise and light. If your clock is not operating normally this is known as a circadian rhythm disorder, which can be related to jet lag, changes in work schedules, waking up too late or waking up too early. Basically, anything that disrupts your natural sleep cycle.

2. Insomnia

If you suffer from insomnia you probably feel like you never get enough sleep at night. Insomnia causes you to wake up often, too early, or struggle falling to sleep altogether. There are a number of potential causes including stress, anxiety, depression, certain medications and other sleep disorders such as Circadian Rhythm Disorders.

Insomnia can be acute or chronic, and comes in two different types, primary and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia is an individual sleep disorder that is not related to other health conditions or personal problems. Secondary insomnia is caused by a secondary ailment such as illness, stress, medication, substance abuse, and so forth.

3. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea causes the upper airways to become blocked for a short period of time while you are sleeping. This loss of air causes you to wake up throughout the night. As explained before, frequently waking up in the night disrupts your body’s ability to reach the deepest stages of REM sleep. Sleep apnea requires some sort of treatment; otherwise sufferers are more prone to heart attack and stroke, as well as constant fatigue.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Pauses in your breathing during sleep
  • A constant feeling of exhaustion, no matter how much time you spend in bed
  • Feel short of breath when you awaken
  • Chest pains, nasal congestion, or dry cough
  • Headaches

4. Oversleeping

Getting too much sleep is just as much of an issue as not getting enough sleep. Just like with anything, too much sleep is not a good thing. Depression is a common cause of oversleeping, it’s important to identify what makes you sleep so often. By sleeping too much you up your risks for diabetes, obesity, headaches, back pain, heart disease and even death. Several studies have uncovered the same pattern, people that sleep over 9 hours each night have higher death rates than adults that sleep closer to 7 or 8 hours each night.

What Can You Do To Get Some Rest?

Sleep is adamant for your brain and body to properly function. During sleep the body repairs itself, preparing for another day. Too little sleep or too much sleep will eventually catch up to you, so it’s important to get on a good sleeping schedule in order to protect your health and wellbeing over the long haul.

  • Start keeping a sleeping journal, record your activities for the day, what you eat, and how you feel alongside how well you slept during the night. This allows you to notice patterns in your sleeping habits hinting to potential triggers that negatively impact your sleep.
  • Keep the room you sleep in dark, cool, and quiet. Environment is very important when it comes to getting a good night sleep.
  • Give yourself a couple hours before bedtime without any electronic devices, televisions, or cell phones. The light radiating from electronic screens reduces your body’s production of melatonin, which messes with your internal clock, and disrupts natural sleep patterns.
  • Your sleep disorder might have to do with your daily routine, are you getting enough stimulation, and exercise?

Discussing your sleep disorder with a doctor is beneficial to uncovering root problems and finding beneficial solutions. Visit Urgent Medical Center today if you are currently suffering from a sleep disorder.

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