Sleep disorders can negatively impact your health, so it’s important that you understand the risks. If you’re reading this, then you probably already have some questions or concerns about the quality of your sleep. Perhaps you know you’re not getting enough hours of sleep, but you don’t know what to do about it. The first step is determining if you have a sleep disorder.
If you’re interested in learning more about your sleep habits, read on for more information.
The Real Reasons Behind Insomnia
We all experience insomnia sometimes. If you occasionally have a hard time sleeping, it could be due to:
- Racing mind
If the things affecting your sleep are things you can control, try to create new habits to avoid encountering those issues. If your mind is racing at night with all the things you have to do, then make a list before you get into bed. If you stay awake due to the last cup of coffee you drank, make it a habit not to drink coffee after 2 p.m. You can even try and meditate every night before bed to try and cut down on stress and anxiety.
If writing out a to-do list to curb your stress and cutting down your caffeine consumption solves your sleep problems, great! You have successfully cured yourself of a potentially unhealthy condition. You found a way to make your life healthier and more enjoyable. However, if you have a diagnosed or undiagnosed sleep disorder that isn’t helped by calming your nighttime routine, you should understand the potential risks.
Get a Diagnosis
If you think you have a sleeping disorder, but you haven’t been diagnosed, make an appointment with your doctor. Nowadays, many sleep studies can be done in the convenience of your own home. You’ll wear a sleeping mask for a couple of nights and the attached computer will collect data about your quality of sleep. From there, your doctor will evaluate the data and work with you to create a treatment plan.
In some cases, your doctor may need you to go to a sleep study laboratory to have initial, or additional, testing done. It’s important to get started on this as soon as possible because it can take weeks to get an appointment at some sleep study labs.
Once you have a diagnosis, make sure you follow your doctor’s treatment plan to reap all the benefits of better sleep.
Even if you don’t end up with a specific diagnosis, you should still work towards better sleep. Meditation, less caffeine and tobacco, more exercise, breathing exercises, blackout curtains, no screen time 30 minutes before bed—these are all tips that can help anyone get a better night’s sleep—with or without a sleep disorder diagnosis.
Common Sleep Disorders
Some of the possible major sleep disorders diagnosis include:
- Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is an interruption of sleep that occurs when you temporarily stop breathing. Your body wakes you up to ensure that you resume normal breathing, but your sleep is interrupted throughout the night. The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask which delivers a constant flow of oxygen. Because the CPAP assists you in maintaining a constant oxygen flow, you no longer wake up throughout the night.
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High Blood Pressure
- Liver Problems
- Metabolic Syndrome
Insomnia is the inability to fall, or stay, asleep at normal hours during the day. Most people have experienced once-in-a-while insomnia, but if you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep on a regular basis, there are effective treatments, including meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy. Your doctor may decide to check your hormone levels, in case the answer lies there.
Untreated insomnia can lead to:
- Daytime Lethargy
- Difficulty Focusing
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that interferes with a person’s normal REM sleep. It is treated with medication, but there is evidence that the symptoms of narcolepsy might be alleviated by lifestyle changes, including:
- Short Naps During the Day
- Regular Exercise
- Avoiding Caffeine and Nicotine
Listen to Your Body
You know your body and your sleep cycle better than anyone else. If you’re concerned that you’re not getting enough quality sleep, if you feel excessively tired during the day, or if you can’t concentrate on your work or school tasks, then start researching sleep disorders.
You may find all the answers you need on the internet, but if basic lifestyle changes don’t work, then consult a doctor or sleep specialist. Sleep should be regenerative, not frustrating and stressful. You owe it to yourself to make sure you’re getting the best quality sleep possible. Take a closer look at your sleeping patterns today.
Carl Turner is a freelance writer from Marina Los Angeles, California. He has spent the past 15 years researching and writing informative articles for publication across many news and media outlets around the world. He enjoys writing about new and interesting industries.