Symptoms of 3 Common Sleep Disorders You Should Not Ignore
Sleep disorders can morph your needed, relaxing sleep into a much dreaded activity. If you struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or frequently wake up feeling unrested or fatigued, then your sleep and health could be compromised by a sleep disorder.
According to the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, there are over 100 different types of sleep disorders with varying symptoms and effects on sleep, daytime alertness, and overall health. However, there are three particular sleep disorders that are much more common and come along with symptoms you should not ignore: Sleep apnea, Insomnia, and REM Sleep Behavior Disorder.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that impacts your breathing patterns and frequency during sleep, and causes you to actually stop breathing periodically throughout the night. According to The National Sleep Foundation, there are two types of sleep apnea: Obstructive and Central.
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused when the muscles in the back of your throat cannot keep your airway open during sleep. Central sleep apnea occurs less frequently, and is caused when your brain fails to send the proper messages needed to regulate and control breathing. Regardless of which type of sleep apnea you may have, the effects can drastically effect the amount of oxygen that gets into your blood and body, and can contribute to heart disease and memory issues.
The symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Excessive daytime drowsiness
- Problems with concentration or memory
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that frequently impacts your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep long enough to get adequate rest. According to the Mayo Clinic, if left untreated, chronic insomnia can lead to significant, negative results in your health, work, and overall quality of life.
Symptoms of insomnia can include:
- Trouble falling asleep at night
- Issues with staying asleep
- Waking up too early, without being able to go back to sleep
- Tension headaches
- Digestive issues
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering details
- Waking up unrefreshed
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
REM sleep behavior disorder is a parasomnia that often occurs in tandem with other common sleep disorders and certain diseases such as Parkinson’s. This parasomnia causes you to vividly and violently act out your dreams, which occur during REM sleep.
According to Sleep Education, here are some of the symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder:
- Kicking, jumping, flailing, or shouting while asleep
- Acting out vivid dreams, and having clear recall of dreams after awaking
- Injury to sleeping partners
What You Need to Do if You Exhibit Regular Symptoms of a Sleep Disorder
If your sleep is being impacted frequently and significantly by any of the symptoms of these common sleep disorders, you should mention your symptoms to a doctor, and get a referral to a professional sleep center for a sleep study. The results of your sleep study will typically reveal the identity of your sleep issues, and help you discover the root source of your sleep disorder. This information can help you work on better sleep habits and implement behavioral modifications that will improve your sleep and health.