It’s estimated that between 50 and 70 million Americans have some type of sleep disorder. The most common sleep disorders can range from mildly frustrating to extremely disruptive and some, if not treated properly, can even pose a danger of death. Knowing the common types of disorder and their symptoms can help you determine if you or a loved one has a sleeping disorder and if yours is serious enough to seek treatment.
Common Sleep Disorders
From not sleeping through the night to wandering through (or out of) the house, there are many types of sleep disturbances you or your loved one may experience. Here are the most common.
- Obstructive sleep apnea. This disorder affects almost 18 million Americans and it’s estimated that 1 in every 15 adults has some form of the disorder. Symptoms include excessive snoring, unusual sleep positions, excessive daytime fatigue, and cognitive-behavioral issues.
- Parasomnias occur while an individual is asleep and can include sleepwalking, night terrors, nightmares, and confusional arousals.
- Not being able to fall asleep in a timely manner is an issue that plagues millions of Americans. It can be due to stress, underlying conditions such as depression or anxiety disorders, or it can be related to the use of prescription or non-prescription medications.
- Restless Leg Syndrome. RLS is the irresistible urge to kick or otherwise move the legs and most often occurs during the evening when an individual is trying to sleep. This can prevent sleep or cause periods of sleep disruption during the night.
- Teeth grinding. This is also known as bruxism and is often due to high levels of stress. Those who do this during the night aren’t even aware of it, but it can lead to headaches, jaw pain, and tooth damage and can be disruptive to a sleep partner.
Sleep disorders can cause a variety of negative consequences including daytime fatigue, irritability, anxiety, lack of concentration, chronic pain, depression, and worsening of any other medical conditions.
How to Treat Common Sleep Disorders
Depending on the type of sleeping disorder, there are different options when it comes to treatment. In some cases, simple lifestyle changes may be all that is necessary to treat a sleeping disorder. Finding effective stress management techniques, disconnecting from electronic devices an hour or two before bedtime, exercising more, and improving diet can improve sleep and overall health.
However, some sleeping disorders will persist regardless of how healthy a lifestyle one leads. For these individuals, additional treatments may be needed. These can include sleeping pills, nasal strips, melatonin supplements, CPAP breathing machines, medications for other health conditions that are causing the disorder, dental guards, or oral devices that assist breathing.
The Importance of Getting a Diagnosis
Sleeping disorders can be difficult to diagnose because many of them occur during the night when an individual isn’t aware of what they are doing. This is further complicated if an individual lives or sleeps alone as there is no one there to witness their sleeping behavior. While most people are aware if they have night terrors or insomnia, determining if you have sleep apnea or teeth grinding can be more difficult. If you are having excessive daytime sleepiness, wake up not feeling restful, or wake up with headaches, jaw tenderness, or other types of pain, it’s important to see a sleep specialist who can perform tests or screenings to determine if you are suffering from a sleep disorder and discuss possible treatment options.
Do you think you have a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea? Fill out this screening form today to find out and learn the next steps!