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Sleep disorders that can be harmful for you

The human body is an efficient machine, but it’s also very complex. As with many complex machines, there are countless parts that work together to run everything smoothly. One important function of the body is the ability to sleep. While this may not seem like a complex function, it involves many processes that must coordinate together in order for you to get the most out of your sleep. Sleep disorders are not uncommon and affect many people at some point in life. The following article will discuss some common sleep disorders and how they can be harmful for you.



Some common types of sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. You may still feel tired when you wake up. Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance and quality of life. Chronic insomnia is usually a result of stress or factors that disrupt your sleep. Treating these causes can resolve your insomnia, but sometimes it can last for years.


  • Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that causes loud snoring and keeps you from getting enough rest. Sleep apnea can affect anyone, even children. But certain factors increase your risk.


  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS)

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which you feel an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, which is usually because of an uncomfortable sensation. Moving temporarily alleviates the discomfort. Researchers suspect the condition may be caused by an imbalance of the brain chemical dopamine, which sends messages to control muscle movement.


  • Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder affected in people in which they often feel so sleepy and inattentive that they cannot stay awake for long periods of time, regardless of the circumstances.


The Symptoms of Sleep Disorders

The symptoms of sleep disorders vary depending on the severity and type of the disorder. Sleep disorders can also be a result of another condition.


General symptoms of sleep disorders include:


  • difficulty falling or staying asleep

  • daytime fatigue

  • strong urge to take naps during the day

  • unusual breathing patterns

  • unusual or unpleasant urges to move while falling asleep

  • unusual movement or other experiences while asleep

  • unintentional changes to your sleep/wake schedule

  • irritability or anxiety

  • impaired performance at work or school

  • lack of concentration

  • depression

  • weight gain


How are sleep disorders treated?

There are a number of different treatment options for different sleep disorders, but they all involve a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes.


Depending on the type of sleep disorder you have, doctors may recommend a medical treatment that can include:


  • Sleeping pills or melatonin supplements

  • Allergy or cold medication

  • Medications for underlying health issues

  • An assistive breathing device or surgery (usually for sleep apnea)

  • A dental guard (usually for teeth grinding)


Making lifestyle adjustments can also improve your quality of sleep, especially when combined with medical treatments. You may want to consider:


  • Increasing vegetables and fish to your diet while reducing sugar intake

  • Exercising to reduce stress and anxiety

  • Establishing a regular sleeping schedule and sticking to it

  • Drinking less water before bedtime

  • Limiting caffeine intake, especially in the late afternoon or evening

  • Cutting back on tobacco and alcohol use

  • Eating smaller, low-carbohydrate meals before bedtime



If you're still having trouble sleeping, you should schedule an appointment with John Corbett Psychologist.




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