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What Is Chronic Sleep Disorder

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What Are The Reasons Sleep Studies Are Conducted

Chronic Irregular Sleep in Kids Linked to Mental Illness?

A healthy sleep cycle begins with NREM sleep, or non-rapid eye movement. During this sleep stage, the brain begins to slow down, resulting in slowed breathing, a decreased heart rate, and overall decreased body functions.

After roughly two hours, the body enters into the next sleep cycle, known as rapid eye movement sleep. During this stage, the brain becomes more active, eye movements increase, leg movements increase, and dreams begin to occur.

Sleep disorders disturb the ability of a person to receive a full nights sleep, resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness. A sleep study may be performed in sleep centers if your physician suspects sleep disorders, including:

How Are Sleep Disorders Treated

There are a variety of treatments recommended by healthcare providers:

  • Counseling: Some sleep specialists recommend cognitive behavior therapy. Such counseling helps you recognize, challenge and change stress-inducing thoughts that can keep you awake at night.
  • Medications and/or supplements.
  • Practice sleep hygiene such as keeping a regular sleep schedule.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Manage the temperature so that youre comfortable.

Your healthcare provider will recommend treatments based on your unique situation.

Common Treatment Types For Insomnia

Medications tailored to your own specific needs are prescribed. For instance, if anxiety or depression are the underlying cause of your condition, your physician may prescribe you with antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. Medications for sleep can be used as well, but are typically prescribed to be used on a short-term or as-needed basis.

Non-medical methods, such as cognitive behavior therapy, hypnosis, sleep restriction, stimulus control, and relaxation techniques, can also be used to treat insomnia. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol, are also advised.

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Common Treatment Types For Sleep Apnea

There are various ways sleep apnea can be treated, including:

CPAP Therapy. A CPAP machine is used to keep your airways open as you sleep. The machine uses mild air pressure and is attached to a mask or prongs that fit in your nose.

Alternatives. There are other alternatives if you dont like the idea of wearing a mask to bed. You can choose to:

  • Wear a dental or oral appliance. To find out more, this article, Pros and Cons of Dental Sleep Apnea Treatment Devices, provides the ways in which an oral appliance can help patients with sleep apnea, as well as the shortcomings of a using a dental device for sleep apnea.
  • Have surgery. If oral appliances and CPAP dont work for you, surgery is an option.
  • Undergo a weight management program. Losing weight may help improve or eliminate your symptoms if youre obese or overweight.
  • Try positional therapy. Some people primarily suffer from sleep apnea when they sleep on their back. Positional therapy often involves wearing a device that keeps you sleeping on your side.

How Much Sleep Is Necessary

Types of Sleeping Disorders

Experts generally recommend that adults sleep at least seven to nine hours per night, although some people require more and others require less.

A recent National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America poll found that adults sleep an average of 6.4 hours per night on weekdays and 7.7 hours on weekends. The poll showed a downward trend in sleep time over the past several years. People sleeping less hours tend to use the internet at night or bring work home from the office.

The National Sleep Foundation also reported that older adults average seven hours of sleep on weekdays and 7.1 hours on weekends. Sleep is most often disturbed by the need to use the bathroom and physical pain or discomfort in older adults.

A downward trend in sleep time has also been observed in children. Optimal sleep time varies by age. An earlier Sleep in America poll found a discrepancy between recommended and actual sleep time in children, with actual sleep time 1.5 to two hours less than recommended. Caffeine consumption caused a loss of three to five hours of sleep and having a television in the bedroom contributed to a loss of two hours of sleep each week in children.

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Treatment For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Unfortunately, there is no cure for ME/CFS. People with the disorder shouldnt give up hope, however. A variety of treatments may be used to lessen or eliminate symptoms.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy . CBT teaches patients how to recognize fears of potential fatigue. With the aid of CBT, patients can also learn how to redirect thoughts that may provide a more positive outlook about recovery.
  • Exercise. Through graded exercise therapy, patients with ME/CFS exercise to increase overall physical and mental function.
  • Sleep Management. Poor sleep is a common symptom of ME/CFS. Treatment of sleep disorders that accompany ME/CFS can lessen its overall effects. Patients can begin by improving their sleep hygiene. However, additional steps, such as prescription medications or therapies for specific sleep disorders may be necessary.
  • Pharmacologic Therapy. Currently, there are no drugs that specifically target ME/CFS. Instead, patients may take drugs to treat symptoms of ME/CFS, such as pain, depression, and sleep deprivation.
  • Stress Reduction and Relaxation. Certain practices can help with managing chronic pain and fatigue. These include meditation, massage, and acupuncture.

Sleep Apnea And Insomnia: How Are They Related

What can be surprising for some to learn is the relationship between insomnia and another sleep disorder, Sleep Apnea. Many sleep specialists report that it is not uncommon for an individual with Sleep Apnea to experience insomnia at the same time.

The reason for this is insomnia patients can experience issues with breathing when they do fall asleep. As Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that causes an individuals airway to become partially or completely blocked during sleep leading to pauses in breathing, waking up frequently during the night can lead to insomnia symptoms.

While both of these are recognized as independent sleep disorders, they often co-exist together and exacerbate the issues of the other.

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Insomnia And Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Division of Sleep Medicine

Many sleep disorders manifest with insomnia and usually excessive daytime sleepiness .

  • Insomnia is difficulty falling or staying asleep, early awakening, or a sensation of unrefreshing sleep.

  • EDS is the tendency to fall asleep during normal waking hours.

Sleep disorders may be caused by factors inside the body or outside the body .

What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Disorders

Insomnia The Health Risks of Sleep Loss

The symptoms of sleep disorders depend on the specific disorder. Some signs that you may have a sleep disorder include that:

  • You regularly take more than 30 minutes each night to fall asleep
  • You regularly wake up several times each night and then have trouble falling back to sleep, or you wake up too early in the morning
  • You often feel sleepy during the day, take frequent naps, or fall asleep at the wrong times during the day
  • Your bed partner says that when you sleep, you snore loudly, snort, gasp, make choking sounds, or stop breathing for short periods
  • You have creeping, tingling, or crawling feelings in your legs or arms that are relieved by moving or massaging them, especially in the evening and when trying to fall asleep
  • Your bed partner notices that your legs or arms jerk often during sleep
  • You have vivid, dreamlike experiences while falling asleep or dozing
  • You have episodes of sudden muscle weakness when you are angry or fearful, or when you laugh
  • You feel as though you cannot move when you first wake up

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What Is A Sleep Disorder

A sleep disorder is a condition that prevents you from getting restful sleep and can cause daytime sleepiness and problems in functioning. Signs you may have a sleep disorder include persistent difficulty going to sleep or staying sleeping, irregular breathing or movement during sleep, and feeling sleepy during the day.

What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Sleep Disorders

  • What kind of sleep disorder do I have?
  • How severe is my sleep disorder?
  • Do you think my sleep disorder will go away on its own, or will I need treatment?
  • How can I improve my sleep hygiene?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Do I need a referral to see a specialist?
  • Do you recommend any medications to help with my sleep disorder?
  • How often should I return to see you?
  • Are there medicines I should take?
  • Are there medicines I should stop taking?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Sleep disorders may not be deadly, but they affect your quality of life so often and so severely that they can disrupt your thinking, weight, school/work performance, mental health and your general physical health. Common ones like narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea prevent you from getting the long, deep sleep you need to function at your best.

If youre struggling with your sleep, dont hesitate to see your healthcare provider. Your health, and therefore your quality of life, depends on good sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene and follow your healthcare providers instructions.

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Symptoms And Consequences Of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Sleep plays an important role in consolidating memory, restoring the immune system, and other vital processes. As a result, a lack of quality sleep may result in a host of symptoms that you may not immediately connect to sleep.

Even if you dont consciously feel sleepy, you may be suffering from excessive sleepiness if youre experiencing any of the following:

  • Trouble staying alert
  • Slower reaction times
  • Risk-taking behaviors

Being sleepy can have wide-ranging effects on health and daily life. Consequences of daytime sleepiness include:

  • Increased risk of car and work accidents
  • Worse quality of life
  • Problems regulating mood and emotions
  • Social and relationship problems

Excessive sleepiness may be particularly dangerous for young adults, shift workers, medical staff, and people who drive a lot.

Long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to a higher chance of developing diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. Daytime sleepiness in children may affect development, while in older adults, daytime sleepiness heightens the risk for falls and may be a risk factor for cognitive impairment, memory loss, and earlier mortality.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Titration

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Continuous positive airway pressure titration is important as each patient requires a different amount of air forced into their lungs to maintain adequate respirations and tidal volume. CPAP titration testing allows medical professionals to determine the right amount of pressure needed in a sleep lab, so they are able to maintain proper levels at home. This sleep study generally requires a follow-up appointment to ensure efficiency.

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How Are Sleep Disorders Diagnosed

If you suspect that you may have a sleep disorder, discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider. He or she can perform a physical exam and help you identify the difficulties you are having with sleep. Keeping a sleep diary for two weeks may be helpful to your healthcare provider. Some illnesses can cause disturbed sleep, so your healthcare provider may order tests to rule out other conditions.

If your healthcare provider suspects that you have a sleep disorder, he or she may refer you to a sleep disorder clinic. A sleep specialist will review your symptoms and may suggest that you undergo a sleep study.

A sleep study or polysomnogram is a test that electronically transmits and records specific physical activities while you sleep. A sleep study can be done at home for select patients. The recordings become data that is analyzed by a qualified healthcare provider to determine whether or not you have a sleep disorder.

In order to determine if you have a sleep disorder, it is important to pay attention to your sleep habits by keeping a sleep diary and discussing patterns and characteristics of your sleep with your healthcare provider. Many common sleep problems can be treated with behavioral treatments and an increased attention to proper sleep hygiene. Consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your sleep patterns.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms In Children And Adolescents

Children exhibit symptoms of ME/CFS similarly to adults, with a few exceptions:

  • Increased likelihood of dizziness when standing. Also called orthostatic intolerance, this symptom tends to be the worst in children and adolescents and exacerbates other symptoms.
  • Headache and stomachache. Rather than experiencing muscle weakness or pain, children report increased headaches and stomach pains.
  • Sleep problems. These include daytime sleepiness, difficulty falling or staying asleep, and vivid dreams.

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During The Sleep Study

One common test conducted during a sleep study is an electroencephalogram designed to monitor the activity in your brain. For this test, the sleep technician will apply a small amount of paste in various spots on your head, and attach an electrode to each spot.

As you sleep, the electrodes connected to you will constantly monitor various aspects, including breathing rate, heart rate, movement, sleep stages, and more. You will be monitored closely while not being disturbed, unless life-threatening effects occur as a result of a sleep disorder.

If you find yourself tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep, your doctor can prescribe a sleep aid that will not interfere with the various tests being performed. It is important that you only take a sleep aid given to you by your medical provider, so as not to disrupt or give false test results.

As a last resort, if you are unable to sleep, the test can be repeated at a later date to ensure accuracy and valid testing results.

Types Of Chronic Insomnia

Pharmacotherapy Failure in Chronic Insomnia Patients

There are two main types of chronic insomnia: primary and secondary.

Primary insomnia isnt due to other medical conditions or medications and is poorly understood by scientists. Specialized MRI scans are being used to study this condition. Primary insomnia may be related to changes in levels of certain brain chemicals, but research is ongoing.

Secondary insomnia is caused by other conditions or situations. This means that its a symptom that goes along with some medical issues, such as emotional stress, trauma, and ongoing health problems certain lifestyle patterns or taking certain drugs and medications.

Chronic insomnia can cause symptoms at night as well as during the day and can interfere with your ability to go on with your daily tasks.

Symptoms may include:

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Homeostatic Process Of Sleep

Slow wave activity is a physiological indicator of NREM sleep homeostasis. Slow wave activity can be considered an indicator of the depth or intensity of sleep. The stimulus reaction decreases depending on the increase of slow wave activity, and this activity is inversely correlated with alertness . In addition, the process of comprehensive slow wave sleep is high in the beginning of sleep but decreases gradually thereafter . Spectral analysis of brainwave activity revealed a change in density of average brainwave between 0.25-2.0 Hz depending on the process of sleep . A nap late in the afternoon includes increased slow wave sleep than a nap early in the afternoon . Shorter duration of night-time sleep produces increased slow wave activity in a nap the next morning . Concerning the effects of sleep deprivation, recovery sleep includes increased slow wave sleep following the deprivation of partial or full sleep . Especially, the increase of slow wave sleep is markedly enhanced in the first day of recovery sleep, as the extension of alertness period .

What Is Oversleeping

Oversleeping, or long sleeping, is defined as sleeping more than nine hours in a 24-hour period. Hypersomnia describes a condition in which you both oversleep and experience excessive sleepiness during the day. Narcolepsy and other sleep disorders commonly cause hypersomnia. Doctors might also call consistent oversleeping that causes you distress in daily life an excessive quantity of sleep . When the cause for your sleepiness cannot be found, the disorder is called idiopathic hypersomnia.

On average, most adults require seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. A good nights sleep promotes overall health and mental alertness. Without enough sleep, you may feel sluggish and unable to focus. On the other hand, too much sleep can also affect your health.

The exact amount of sleep you need each night depends on your daytime habits and activities, health, and sleep patterns. Older adults may need only six hours of sleep while other people, such as athletes, may need an extra hour of sleep. Occasionally you may require more sleep than normal, such as after strenuous activity or travel. If another hour of shuteye helps you feel your best, then that amount of sleep is right for your body. If consistently sleeping longer still leaves you tired or even nodding off during the day, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue.

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What Is Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep.

There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. Symptoms of OSA may include snoring, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, restlessness during sleep, gasping for air while sleeping and trouble concentrating.
  • In central sleep apnea , the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to tell the body to breathe. This type is called central apnea because it is related to the function of the central nervous system. People with CSA may gasp for air but mostly report recurrent awakenings during night.

What Are Chronic Sleep Disorders

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Chronic sleep disorders include any type of condition that prevents someone from getting a normal night’s worth of sleep or cause a person to sleep during the day rather than at night. Some chronic sleep disorders can cause a person to sleep at random times throughout the day other disorders may cause the person to sleepwalk. Chronic sleep disorders happen regularly, not just as an isolated incident, and they may cause issues in other aspects of the sufferer’s life. Sleep deprivation can lead to elevated stress levels, cognitive difficulties, and even disruption of normal body functions.

One of the more common chronic sleep disorders is insomnia. This condition occurs when a person cannot get to sleep or has difficulty maintaining sleep throughout the night. Insomnia can be caused by a number of conditions many people who have injuries to the body may be kept awake for long periods of time while the wound heals. The pain caused by the wound or injury may prevent the person from relaxing enough to get to sleep, or some medications taken for injuries may cause sleeplessness. Restless leg syndrome can also cause insomnia, as can a range of other conditions. Middle-aged and elderly men frequently have to get up during the night to urinate, which can lead to insomnia.

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