What Exactly is a Sleep Disorder or a Sleeping Problem?
A sleep disorder is a syndrome that constantly impairs the capacity to get ample quality sleep. All of us have trouble sleeping from time to time. That is usually due to fatigue, travel, sickness, or other temporary disruptions to the daily routine. However, whether you frequently have trouble falling asleep, wake up tired, or feel sleepy during the day, you might be suffering from a sleep disorder.
Sleep disorders are responsible for more than just daytime drowsiness. They may have a detrimental effect on your mental and physical health as well as your attitude, stamina, and stress tolerance. Weight gain, vehicle crashes, decreased work performance, memory issues, and broken relationships will all result from ignoring sleep issues and disorders. Quality sleep is a must, not a privilege, if you want to feel the best, remain healthy, and reach your full potential.
Having problems sleeping can be a frustrating and debilitating experience. You don’t get enough sleep at night, leaving you exhausted in the morning, and any energy you do have easily depletes during the day. Yet, no matter how tired you are at night, you can’t seem to fall asleep. As a result, the loop repeats itself. You should not, however, have to contend with a sleeping disorder. You can do several things to spot what’s behind your sleep disorder and how to enhance your sleep, well-being, and quality of life.
Signs and Symptoms of a Sleep Disorder
How can you say if the sleeping problems are merely a mild inconvenience, indicate a more severe sleep disorder or are an inherent medical condition?
Begin by reviewing the symptoms, paying particular attention to the obvious signs of sleep deprivation during the day.
- Catch yourself feeling irritable or tired during the day?
- Have trouble staying awake while you’re sitting still, watching TV, or reading?
- Ever fall asleep or get sleepy while driving?
- Have trouble focusing?
- Have people tell you that you seem tired?
- Have slow reflexes?
- Have a hard time keeping your feelings in check?
- Feel like you need to sleep nearly every day?
- Need caffeinated drinks to stay awake?
You may have a sleep disorder if you are exhibiting any of the above symptoms on a daily basis. The more “yes” responses you gave, the more likely you will have a sleep disorder.
Common Sleep Disorders
There are many types of common sleep disorders. Here is a list of some of the most common examples.
Stress, jet lag, a medical condition, the meds you take, or even the quantity of caffeine you imbibe can contribute to insomnia or the inability to sleep well at night. Other sleep disturbances as well as mood disorders such as anxiety and depression can cause insomnia.
Whatever triggers your insomnia, strengthening your sleep hygiene, modifying your daytime regimens, and learning to unwind will help you overcome it without the need for sleep practitioners or prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills in the majority of cases.
Sleep apnea is a common (and curable) sleep disorder where breathing temporarily halts during sleep, awakening you consistently. You do not recollect these awakenings if you have sleep apnea, but you would certainly feel tired, grumpy, and stressed during the day, and your work will suffer as a result. Sleep apnea is a debilitating and potentially fatal sleep condition. Please contact Granite Recovery Centers as soon as possible, and learn how to protect yourself.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
RLS (restless legs syndrome) is a sleep condition in which you feel compelled to move your legs (or arms) at night. When you’re sleeping or laying down, you get the impulse to shift because of unpleasant, tingly, stinging, or crawling sensations. However, there are a plethora of techniques for managing and alleviating symptoms, including self-help interventions that can be used at home.
Narcolepsy is a sleep condition characterized by inexplicable, prolonged daytime sleepiness. It’s triggered by a malfunction of the brain’s sleep-wake cycle control mechanism. You may experience “sleep attacks” when conversing, working, or even driving if you have narcolepsy. Despite the fact that there is still no cure, a combination of therapies will help relieve symptoms and enable you to take part in several daily routines.
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders
Our 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, also known as circadian rhythms, is regulated by an internal biological clock that we all possess. The primary stimulus that affects circadian cycles is light. When there is little light at night, the brain activates melatonin’s secretion, a sleep-inducing hormone. The brain signals the body that it is time to wake up when the sun rises in the morning.
You can feel groggy, woozy, and sleepy at unexpected times if your circadian cycles are disturbed or thrown off. Circadian cycles have been attributed to a wide range of sleeping issues and conditions and anxiety, psychosis, and seasonal affective disorder (the winter blues).
Shift Work Sleep Disorder
When the daily schedule and circadian clock are out of balance, shift-work sleep disorder ensues. Many individuals have to work night shifts, extra jobs or revolving shifts in the modern, 24-hour world. These routines push you to operate when your body wants you to sleep and rest when your body tells you to wake up.
Although some people respond to the demands of rotating shifts faster than others, most shift employees get insufficient rest compared to daytime workers. You can develop sleepiness and mental lethargy at work as a result of sleep deprivation. This lowers your productivity while predisposing you to the risk of injuries.
To lessen the effect of shift work on your sleep, do the following:
- Take frequent breaks and reduce the number of shift transitions.
- Seek a later shift rather than early when shifting transitions, so it is possible to adapt forward in time rather than backward.
- Regulate the sleep-wake period naturally by raising light exposure (use bright light) and lowering light exposure during bedtime. To shut out the light in your apartment, avoid watching TV or using computers, and use blackout shades or thick curtains.
- When it’s time to relax, consider taking melatonin, and create a sleep ritual to help your body begin to acclimate.
Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder
A condition known as delayed sleep phase disorder occurs when the circadian clock is severely delayed. As a result, you sleep and wake up much later than the rest of the population. This isn’t just a penchant for staying up late or being a night owl; it’s a condition that makes it impossible to maintain regular hours—get to early workouts, get the children to school on time, or maintain 9-to-5 employment.
- No matter how hard they try, individuals with delayed sleep process disorder are unable to fall asleep by 2 to 6 a.m.
- They fall into a normal sleep pattern when given the freedom to choose their hours, for example, on a school break or vacation.
Teenagers are the most heavily affected by delayed sleep phase disorder, but most of them will eventually grow out of it. Treatments like light therapy and chronotherapy may benefit those who continue to deal with an out-of-sync biological clock.
When you fly through time zones, you will experience jet lag, a transient disturbance of the circadian patterns. Daytime sleepiness, exhaustion, headaches, stomach issues, and insomnia are some of the symptoms. The longer the journey, the more conspicuous the symptoms get, and flying east exacerbates jet lag more than flying west. It generally takes one day to adapt to the local time for each time zone crossed. If you flew from Los Angeles to New York, transiting three time zones, the jet lag could dissipate in three days.
Track Your Symptoms
Recognizing and closely monitoring the symptoms and sleep habits is the first step towards addressing a sleep disorder or crisis.
Keep a Sleep Journal
A sleep journal will help you identify day and night routines that could be contributing to your sleeping troubles. Keeping track of your sleep habits and challenges will come in handy if you ever need to see a sleep specialist.
The following things should be included in your sleep diary:
- Time you went to bed and got up
- Actual sleep time and quality of sleep as experienced by you
- A log of how long you were up and what you did (for instance, “woke up, had a glass of milk, and started praying”)
- Before going to bed, your emotions and moods (anxious, happy, stressed, sad)
- Any medicines or drugs ingested, including the dosage and when you took them
The finer nuances will clearly show how those habits are inhibiting you from getting a full night’s sleep. After a week of using the journal, you may start to discover patterns. For example, you may find that you get up at night if you ingest more than one glass of wine in the evening.
Self-Help for Sleep Disorders
Although certain sleep disturbances can necessitate a trip to the hospital, several sleep issues can be resolved on your own.
Improve your regimens throughout the day. Whatever your sleep issues are, sticking to a stable sleep pattern, having regular exercise, minimizing your caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine consumption, and handling stress will improve sleep in the long run.
To prime your mind and body for sleep, cultivate a calming sleep environment. Make your bedroom silent, dim, and cool; steer away from heavy meals and excess fluids late at night; relax with a warm bath, reading, or calming music; and switch off screens at minimum one hour before bedtime.
We Can Help
Certified doctors deliver evidence-based clinical psychotherapies at Granite Recovery Centers, which are tightly woven into a comprehensive 12-step curriculum led by qualified facilitators.
Evidence-based therapy (EBT) is a set of scientifically accepted psychotherapeutic approaches that help people recognize, dissect, and rewire their dysfunctional emotions and behaviors. Many of the psychiatric therapies used at GRC include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), trauma therapy, and grief & loss therapy.
You’ll Establish Long-Term Friendships
People seek recovery because they can no longer live their lives as they are — a life of loneliness, guilt, and physical malady. You see a lot of people in recovery who have the same condition, have a lot of the same experiences, and have the same regrets.
You work together to surmount your disorder and help each other during some of the most challenging times. People always emerge from recovery with some of the strongest and longest-lasting friendships they’ve ever experienced. This type of alumni group support is particularly prevalent in centers that use the 12-Step curriculum, and it is permanent.