Despite treatment, sleeping pills, and transforming your home into a sleeping paradise, you still can’t sleep. If that’s the case, you could be suffering from one of the nearly 100 different types of sleep disorders. Some of them are terribly serious, others are benign. Whatever the case, you desperately crave some shut eye. Yes, even six hours would be pleasant right now.
Before you spend countless hours navigating Dr. Google, perhaps you should determine if you have these common types of sleep disorders that affect millions of people worldwide.
Here are eight different types of sleep disorders:
1. Sleep Deprivation
While not technically a sleep disorder, studies have found that sleep deprivation can have long-term negative consequences on your overall health. While there are some short-term benefits, like increased brain activity to compensate for other dissipating areas, health experts do not recommend insufficient sleep. It can lead to a wave of problems in the future; everything from depression to diabetes to memory loss.
If you have children, then you have likely endured long stretches of very little sleep. Congratulations on surviving this far!
When you cannot fall asleep, then you might be suffering from insomnia. This is a common type of sleep disorder for many people, which can be rather uncomfortable because you feel tired a lot and you spend your waking moments worrying about not clocking in sufficient hours of sleep.
This type of sleep disorder can lead to a wide variety of health issues that disrupt your daily life.
Just where does your insomnia come from? Your diet, stress, an underlying disease, emotional effects, and depression.
3. Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Not too many of us take snoring seriously. Yes, if your significant other is snoring all night long, it can impact your sleep. But we never think it is something that is going to harm you or others.
Well, think again.
Snoring could be a signal that you cannot keep your throat open while you sleep. Moreover, snoring can perhaps be a sign of sleep apnea, a chronic medical condition where you stop breathing during sleep. This can cause oxygen levels in the blood to decline for at least 10 seconds, resulting in the obstruction of the upper airway.
Overall, snoring and its companion, sleep apnea, can lead to a variety of worsening medical conditions, like heat failure, stroke, hypertension, and even sudden death.
4. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) and its associate, periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS), can create plenty of unpleasant feelings, particularly in your legs. You will feel aches, burning, and tingling – some feel like bugs are crawling on their legs. This may be caused from iron deficiency, obesity, or even pregnancy (if so, congratulations!).
How do you treat it? Well, short-term relief includes rubbings, stretching, walking, and replacing your bed or futon mattress. A more long-term remedy could consist of iron replacement and medications.
5. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Do you feel like you have that two o’clock feeling all the time? Are you always exhausted? Perhaps you have chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS.
This is described as an unexplained perpetual fatigue that you cannot treat with more sleep. Unfortunately, it disrupts your life because you are extremely tired and unable to perform the most basic of daily activities.
Of course, medications will likely be utilised, but it could also be a symptom of something more serious.
6. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
If you feel a little bit down right now, then it’s probably because what is lurking outside the window: a permanent cloud cast over your town with a short amount of daylight and cold weather. While some people enjoy this type of weather, others cannot handle these extremes, leading to a seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
What does this have to do with sleep? Well, SAD is a type of mood disorder connected with excessive sleepiness throughout winter. You experience this because there is a paucity of light reaching your biological clock in a small region of the brain (we’ll forego the technical terms for now). Serotonin and melatonin are essential in your sleep patterns and overall mood.
Serotonin (happiness hormone) is paramount in the day and melatonin (sleepiness hormone) is dominant at night to help you fall asleep. You get this from vitamin D, and because you don’t receive enough of this vitamin between December and March, your sleep patterns are disrupted.
7. Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)
Excessive fatigue and chronic insomnia could be the result of upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS). It is a common sleep disorder that occurs by the thinning of the airway, causing daytime sleepiness, constantly awakenings during sleep, and loud snoring. It can metastasize into hypotension, dizziness, chronic insomnia, and intense headaches.
So far, the more popular methods used to treat UARS is CPAP therapy, dental devices, and lifestyle changes.
8. Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD)
It is estimated that around 20 to 25 percent of the working Canadian population does shift work. This means that your hours may be from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., midnight to 8 a.m., or 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. While you may not have a choice in the matter since you need to put food on the table, it is damaging to your health. There is even a sleep disorder called shift work sleep disorder (SWSD).
Like jet lag or long bouts of exhaustion, SWSD can mean a hard time “falling asleep or staying asleep.” The polls show that those who do shift work think they get an adequate amount of sleep, but when further probed about their sleeping patterns, many report excessive exhaustion, insomnia, or even falling asleep on the job.
In the age of constant distractions – smartphones, Netflix, and the honking of horns on your busy street – it is hard to go to sleep. All you want out of life is a week of just sleeping. Wouldn’t it be nice? It would be for the millions of parents who are surviving on three hours of sleep per night. Even if you have the option of sleeping but you find it impossible, then it is important to tackle the problem right away.
Otherwise, you’ll be walking around like a corpse. And that wouldn’t be a good thing.