Not getting enough sleep defines our quality of life. Sleep disorders like insomnia, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea may affect our mental health, weight, relationships, and productivity levels. Moreover, long-term sleep disorders can lead to diabetes, depression, and heart disease. So, to be better at being awake, we constantly have to trace how good we are at sleep.
Every one of us can experience some kind of sleeping difficulties from time to time. Sometimes, we all undergo some stressful times, at work of personal level. According to experts, you should sleep at least 7-9 hours per night to get enough rest. People who suffer from sleep deprivation tend to use their mobiles at night and bring their work laptops at home. Also, sleep quality can be deteriorated by the delicate need to frequently use the bathroom or physical pain.
Your sleeping difficulty may be defined as a sleep disorder if:
- you experience sleeping problems regularly
- you are constantly tired and feel the need to take daily naps, even after getting enough hours of sleep
- you struggle with staying awake while working, watching television, or reading
- your concentration and productivity levels are down, and you have hard times sticking with your schedule
The most common sleep disorders are insomnia, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea.
Insomnia means that you have a problem with falling asleep or staying asleep. People with insomnia may often wake up during the night, toss and turn before falling asleep, or wake up too early and feel fatigue in the daytime.
Near 50% of adults have experienced occasional insomnia. For one in 10, this is a long-term problem. Short-term insomnia can be caused by stressful times or by environmental factors such as excessive light, noise, or heat. The chronic condition contributes to depression, long-term stress, or discomfort at night.
Restless legs syndrome
Restless legs syndrome is a condition that gives you every now and then the feeling that you need to move your legs. The urge to move your legs constantly and unintentionally can be quite tiresome, especially when it happens at night, making it difficult to fall asleep. Often, people with restless legs syndrome need to walk around at night or shake their legs to help to get rid of this sensation. This, in turn, can be associated with problems like feeling dizzy in the daytime, irritability, and low productivity.
People with narcolepsy experience uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime. These episodes may occur at any time of any day, at the meetings, after lunch, while watching TV, or even while chatting with your partner or friends. First signs of narcolepsy usually show up between the ages of 15-25. In many cases, narcolepsy is left undiagnosed.
Sleep apnea can affect children as well as adults, and it refers to a condition in which your breath is disrupted at night. This literally means that while at sleep, you may have hard times breathing or might even stop breathing for a little while. Sleep apnea may cause headaches in the morning and low levels of productivity and concentration. Sleep apnea can be a serious problem because your body permanently consumes less oxygen than it actually needs.
How can sleep disorders be treated?
There are a bunch of lifestyle changes that can bring some relief to sleep disorders:
- Set up your bedroom – it should remain comfortable, cool, quiet, and dark and should be used only for sleep and intimate moments. Remember, no eating, working, or watching television while in bed.
- Stick with your routine – you should go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Try a relaxing routine before bed – a warm bath, listening to music, meditation or reading.
- Avoid going to bed with a negative mindset – while heading to bed, leave all frustrating emotions behind.
- Get regular exercise in the mornings or afternoons. If you have trouble with sleeping, you should avoid working out 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Minimize the noise – the bedroom should be quiet at all times. If you happen to live right next to noisy traffic, try using background sounds like white noise or earplugs.
- Minimize light in your bedroom – yup, that means putting away all your tablets and phones. If you struggle with light coming from windows, try a sleep mask or blackout curtains. Blackout curtains also help to control the temperature, as they block direct sunlight.
- Manage the heat – recommended temperature in the bedroom is around 15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius. If warm nights are expected, then pay attention to your bedding – the best bed linen and blankets are made of breathable fibers like bamboo that won´t make you sweat at night. This means it actively transfers the moisture from your skin to the upper layers, keeping you cool and comfortable at night.
If these tips don´t work, you should consult with your health care provider or a sleep specialist who will examine your overall health and symptoms. Also, you may be asked to keep a sleeping diary or undergo a sleep study.