Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)A common sleep disorder is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which is when a person stops breathing repeatedly during sleep. Sleep Apnea is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition. When a person goes to sleep, the muscles that stiffen and open the throat will relax, leading to a slight sleep-related narrowing of the throat that can cause either partial or complete obstruction.
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)
A sleeping disorder that affects the limbs as well as a person's ability to sleep at night and function normally during the day is called Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD). Most people with this disorder are not aware of these movements.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
People who experience Restless Legs Syndrome often describe a very unpleasant "crawly, creepy" sensation that occurs in the legs (or sometimes the arms) when they are sitting or lying still, especially at bedtime. This sensation most often appears in the calves of the legs, and it is temporarily relieved by stretching and moving the legs.
Insomnia can be defined as a sleeping disorder in which a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. One out of three American adults suffer from Insomnia. This sleeping disorder disturbs a person's sleeping and waking hours, leading to daytime sleepiness and an inability to focus on daily tasks.
Narcolepsy can be defined as constant sleepiness and a tendency to sleep at inappropriate times. This disorder affects 1 in 2,000 people and has a significant, sometimes even disabling, impact on a person's life. A person with Narcolepsy generally suffers "sleep attacks" as well as continued sleepiness that isn't relieved by any amount of sleep. If it isn't recognized and managed appropriately, this disorder can drastically affect a person's life.
Parasomnia refers to a wide range of disruptive sleep-related events such as sleepwalking, confusion arousals, and sleep terrors. These events most often occur during sleep, and are usually infrequent and mild. However, in some people these events occur often enough and are so severe that they need medical attention.
Sleep and Heart Disease
Sleep-related breathing disorders have been shown to play a major role in causing several types of heart disease. Although all aspects of the relationship are not clear, there is a definite connection between sleep disorders and heart disease. Various studies have linked sleep-related breathing disorders with increased rates of high blood-pressure, increased risk of heart disease, and stroke.
Sleep and Depression
In some cases, sleep problems may be related to a condition called depression. Depression is viewed as a disease that involves how we feel about ourselves and how our body functions. However, just because a person doesn't sleep at night doesn't mean he/she has depression. Depression is only one cause of difficulty sleeping. If a person's sleep problems are related to depression, the key to improving sleep is treating the depression first.
Sleep and Health
Sleeping well is the first step to living well. This is why eliminating or reducing sleep problems is so important to a person's health and well being. If a person has trouble sleeping, or if he/she feels tired and sleepy much of the time, then that person may have a sleep disorder. There are treatments for most sleep disorders, but the first step is to recognize that there is a problem. The second step is finding the cause of the problem, and the third step is treating the problem.
People who develop certain lifestyle habits are more likely to enjoy good sleep. These habits or behaviors (known as Sleep Hygiene) can have positive effects on sleep. While Sleep Hygiene is mostly a matter of common sense, some of the following suggestions may help a person achieve a better night's sleep.