One of the most significant factors affecting your overall health is your ability to fall asleep, and the quality of this sleep. They don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing, after all; your quality of sleep reflects in your appearance, and how you perform important functions every day. Sleep disorders are very common around the world, and they usually involve neurological conditions that control your sleep and wake cycles.
The most common sleep disorder, insomnia affects nearly 1 in 3 people around the world, including mild cases. It is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, being awake for long periods of time, and light, restless sleep. It is a condition with a multitude of underlying problems such as high levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
Continuous attempts at falling asleep, tossing and turning all night, can lead to irritation, anger, and can increase anxiety and depression levels. People who suffer with insomnia tend to sleep very light, woken easily, as their brain is unable to phase into deep sleep cycles. Insomnia can lead to many other conditions and be detrimental to the way one functions at work, school, and during other everyday activities. Severe insomnia can lead to other mental illnesses, as well as delusions, derealization and even hallucinations.
Its full name is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and it is the second most prevalent sleep disorder among adults, though it is the most common sleep disordered treated in clinics and hospitals. This condition occurs when the upper respiratory tract becomes blocked by the soft tissue of the throat, for a couple seconds during sleep. The sensation of not being able to breathe wakes the person very abruptly, and if this occurs multiple times per hour, it can be very disrupting and prevent a person from having a good night’s rest. Sleep apnea usually requires surgery to be successfully treated.
Narcolepsy is sometimes considered the opposite of insomnia, although it can have just as many negative effects. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder where the brain cannot properly control sleep and wake cycles, meaning people with the condition constantly feel like they’re on the verge of falling asleep, and never fully awake. Those that suffer from narcolepsy experience very low energy levels, sudden fits of falling asleep in the middle of everyday activities, and other conditions such as cataplexy and sleep paralysis.
Restless Leg Syndrome
This condition is characterized by the constant need to move one’s legs, and sufferers experience itchiness, throbbing, and other unpleasant sensations that can only be relieved with movement. Though some think it’s silly to call this a sleep disorder, some sufferers of the condition can have extreme cases where their restless legs lead to sleep loss, and even wake them from sleep with twitches and sudden jolts through the legs.
Sleeping is a sensitive, vital process, and it is important that it isn’t disrupted. It is important that sleep disorders are treated as soon as possible so that one can get back to healthy sleep, giving them the rest they need to perform their best each day.