Many people are aware that they are not getting the recommended amount of sleep that they need every night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, from age 18 onward it is ideal for individuals to receive between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
Lack of sleep can have many negative repercussions in your life, including several that can impair your general health. It is important to receive adequate amounts of sleep by making sure to head to bed a bit earlier each night, but it is also possible for the quality of your sleep to be ruined by a number of potentially unknown sleep disorders that prevent you from achieving the quality of sleep that you need.
One of the most common sleep disorders, snoring is characterized by a difficulty to breathe that often results in loud noises as air forces itself through a partially obstructed throat. While this condition is nothing to fear, it can heavily impact the quality of your sleep or that of your partner. Snoring may also worsen to become a more serious sleep condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Like snoring, obstructive sleep apnea is the result of a blockage that inhibits airflow through the nose or mouth. This condition is especially concerning, as it causes pauses in breathing throughout the night as airflow is stopped completely until the brain wakes the body enough to resume its breathing functions. This momentary pauses typically result in chronic fatigue as well as serious conditions of the heart and vascular system.
Individuals who experience extreme difficulty in falling asleep, or in staying asleep, are likely to have a sleep disorder called insomnia. This condition can be both acute and chronic, meaning it can last for a short period of time (usually due to overwhelming amounts of stress) or it can last for months if not years at a time.
It is possible for a person to wake in the middle of a sleep cycle and be unable to move their body despite having a fully active mind and conscious awareness. This occurrence is known as sleep paralysis, which is generally quite alarming and terrifying for the individual to experience. Controlled breathing and other relaxation techniques are often great sources of relief to this sleep disorder, though some cases may also require prescribed medications to help reduce frequency of sleep paralysis episodes.
Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that often causes the person to suddenly fall asleep, even in inappropriate places or at abnormal times. In addition to daytime sleepiness, people with narcolepsy often experience sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations, and cataplexy.
Circadian Rhythm Disorders
Many individuals will encounter a circadian rhythm disorder at some point in their lives when their body is unable to sync with external time cues. This typically occurs after a significant time zone change, and is also extremely common in those suffering from blindness.
Restless Leg Syndrome
As mentioned, there are a variety of sleep disorders that can be caused by other conditions. Restless leg syndrome is one such condition that results in sensations through the legs that often make it difficult to achieve a restful sleep. These sensations are reported to feel similar to that of aching, tingling, burning, or even crawling on the skin. Restless leg syndrome belongs to a category of sleep disorders called parasomnias, which also include nightmares, sleepwalking, and night terrors.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
For those that achieve their recommended hours of sleep and still feel an extreme sense of tiredness, it is likely that their exhaustion is being caused by chronic fatigue syndrome ( CFS). This particular sleep disorder can be caused by other medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, but may also exist all on its own.
At Home Sleep Studies
We now offer a more comfortable option for sleep testing. The ResMed ApneaLink devices provide you with a cost-effective, easy-to-use method of diagnosing or screening patients for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in the home. The device reports apneas, hypopneas, flow limitation, snoring, blood oxygen saturation and the probability of Cheyne–Stokes respiration (CSR) breathing patterns within the recording.