Could You Have a Sleeping Disorder?

Are your restless nights a symptom of a larger problem?

As someone who is constantly parenting, working, or exercising, sleep has never really come easy to me. My mind tends to focus on many things at once, and I always try to jam pack my day with activities and productivity. As you can imagine, that doesn’t always make it easy to drift into a deep slumber at the end of the day.

That being said, through a clever blend of relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and discipline I have found my sweet spot when it comes to falling asleep. However, it may not be as easy for you, especially if you suffer from a sleep disorder.

More than a third of adults in America get less than 7 hours of sleep, so sleep disorders are increasingly common. A sleep disorder can involve difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep. They can have negative impacts on your daily energy, mood, cognitive ability and overall mental and physical health. There are five main sleep disorders:

Insomnia effects up to 50% of Americans at some point in their lives. It occurs when a person has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. It can be caused by any number of triggers, such as stress, hormones, or digestive issues, and can lead to issues like depression, irritability, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating.

READ MORE: How to Figure Out if You are Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep Apnea is a medical condition where a person stops breathing in their sleep, which can cause them to wake up. It can be caused by an obstructed air flow, or an issue with the connection between the brain and the breathing muscles. Either way, extreme snoring is a symptom of this disorder. If you suspect you have sleep apnea you should definitely see a doctor.

Parasomnias involve strange movements or abnormal behaviors during sleep, such as sleepwalking, sleep talking, nightmares, bedwetting, and teeth grinding.

Narcolepsy happens when you suddenly fall asleep without warning, while wide awake. This sleep disorder can also include sleep paralysis (where you cannot move right after waking up), and it can also be linked to neurological issues like multiple sclerosis.

Restless Leg Syndrome is characterized as an overwhelming urge to move your legs, sometimes including a tingling feeling. RSL is sometimes associated with ADHD and Parkinson’s disease.

Sleep disorders can be caused by any number of triggers, from stress, anxiety, and depression to chronic pain, respiratory problems, and a larger illness.

The good news is, most sleep disorders are treatable. Creating healthy sleeping habits is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health, so if you suspect you may suffer from a sleeping disorder, get to a doctor, get diagnosed, and get back on the road to a healthy night’s rest.

Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

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