Understanding Sleep Disorders: 5 Common Types and Treatments

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Sleep disorders are health problems that affect the quality of your sleep, making you unable to sleep well or follow a regular sleep pattern. There are many factors linked to sleep disorders, including health problems and lifestyle.

With about 100 specific sleep disorders, researchers have categorized and studied them for better understanding. It turns out unhealthy bedtime habits and daytime activities are big culprits when it comes to these sleep conditions.

Sleep disorders are common health problems today, affecting an estimated 70 million Americans. You could develop a sleep disorder if you’re not getting sufficient sleep.

The thing is, while sleep problems may seem harmless, they pose long-term health risks. If you’re having sleep disturbances, it’s important to check if you have a sleep disorder and address it as soon as possible.

This post discusses some common types of sleep disorders and their treatments.

  • Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that hampers your ability to breathe when you’re asleep. It’s a common sleep disorder that tends to cause snoring and difficulty in breathing. The disorder has two subtypes.

  • Central Sleep Apnea: CSA occurs due to a reduced effort to breathe because the brain doesn’t communicate well with the muscles that control breathing
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: OSA causes the muscles in the back of the throat to collapse, blocking the upper airway and interrupting normal breathing. As a result, you may end up choking or gasping for air, which affects your sleep.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Multiple options exist for treating sleep apnea depending on the type and its severity. Doctors usually prescribe non-invasive therapies involving breathing aid machines called PAP devices.

Besides PAP machines, doctors may prescribe oral appliances that keep your airway open.

In severe sleep apnea cases, a specialist may recommend surgery to correct your breathing.

  • Insomnia

As a common sleep disorder affecting nearly 50% of American adults, insomnia is generally different for each person. People with insomnia usually have difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep.

Insomnia is a sleep disturbance with many causes, ranging from bad sleeping habits and surroundings to stress and medical issues.

Most people experience episodes of sleeplessness for various reasons. But when it persists for more than three months, it becomes insomnia.

Insomnia Treatment

Treating insomnia may involve interventions like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) or medications that induce sleep. A specialist may prescribe both of these measures as well.

Besides medications, you can also treat insomnia using alternative measures that help you relax and induce sleep, such as meditation or herbal preparations.

One of the herbs that help with insomnia is cannabis, specifically varieties rich in CBD, like the Blue Razz strain.

  • Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome makes staying still when sitting or lying down challenging. If you have the disorder, you experience unpleasant sensations in your legs that give you the urge to shake or move your legs.

RLS can be highly disruptive to sleep. While it’s not entirely clear what causes RLS, it’s linked to certain health conditions and medications.

Treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome

Treatment for restless leg syndrome ranges from medications like gabapentin and pregabalin to relief measures like foot wraps.

  • Sleep Bruxism

Sleep bruxism is involuntary teeth grinding that occurs in some people when asleep. The disorder imitates chewing movements but often involves more force.

The teeth grinding and clenching during an episode of sleep bruxism exerts pressure on the masticatory muscles, resulting in jaw, head, and neck pains, which may disturb your sleep.

Treatment for Sleep Bruxism

There aren’t any treatments that can completely stop teeth grinding and clenching of the masticatory muscles. However, your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to relieve symptoms associated with sleep bruxism. Dental devices like night guards and dental splints may also help.

  • Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a night terror disorder that causes temporary paralysis, making you unable to move or talk.

During an episode of sleep paralysis, an individual experiences a state of wakefulness that may involve hallucinations and sensations of danger.

While much remains unknown about what causes sleep paralysis, it appears to have many causes.

Sleep Paralysis Treatment 

Treatment for sleep paralysis may involve counseling to identify underlying problems and develop steps to promote healthy sleep.

Final Thoughts

Sleep disorders can wreak havoc on your overall health as your health suffers when you fail to get quality sleep due to these disturbances. You may also lose the energy and motivation to go about your daily activities.

It’s important to take sleep disorders seriously and seek help because many of these conditions have treatment and coping measures.


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