Sleep Disorders
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Scientists have learned about the cyclical patterns of different kinds of sleep and their connections to breathing, heart rate, brain waves, and other bodily functions. Depending on the type of sleep disorder, natural sleep remedies can help.

What are sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders are conditions that alter how you sleep. Any sleep disorder can affect your general health and quality of life. Lack of high-quality sleep can affect your ability to perform routine activities like driving. It can also increase your risk of other medical issues.

Some of the indications and signs of sleep disorders include the following:

- excessive daytime sleepiness

- irregular breathing or 

 -increased movement during sleep. 

Other signs include an irregular sleep and wake cycle and difficulty falling asleep.

There are different types of sleep disorders, separated into classes that explain why they occur or how they affect you. Sleep disorders are also grouped according to behaviors, issues with your natural sleep-wake cycles, breathing problems, difficulty sleeping, or just how exhausted you feel throughout the day.

Some common types of sleep disorders include:

• Insomnia, where you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep during the night.

• Sleep apnea, where you experience abnormal patterns in breathing while you're sleeping. There are lots of types of sleep apnea.

• Restless legs syndrome (RLS), a form of sleep motion disorder. Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, causes an uncomfortable sensation and an urge to move the legs as you attempt to fall asleep.

• Narcolepsy, a condition characterized by extreme sleepiness during the day and falling asleep suddenly during the day.

There are several ways to help diagnose sleep disorders. Doctors can usually treat most sleep disorders effectively once they are correctly diagnosed.

Types of sleep disorders

Although sleep is a fundamental behavior in all creatures, its functions in maintaining health aren't entirely understood. Recently, however, scientists have learned about the cyclical patterns of different kinds of sleep and their connections to breathing, heart rate, brain waves, and other bodily functions.

There are five phases of human sleep. Four of these stages are with non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, and exceptional brain wave patterns and physical alterations. Dreaming occurs in the fifth phase during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

• Stage 1 NREM sleep. This phase occurs while a man is falling asleep and represents about 5 percent of a typical adult's sleep period.

• Stage 2 NREM sleep. This phase marks the beginning of "true" sleep. About 50 percent of sleep time is phase two, REM sleep.

• Stages 3 and 4 NREM sleep. Also referred to as delta or slow-wave sleep, these are the deepest levels of human sleep and represent 10-20% of sleep time. They often occur during the initial 30-50 percent of the sleeping period.


REM SLEEP DISORDER

• REM sleep. REM sleep accounts for about 25% of total sleep time. It usually starts about 90 minutes after the individual falls asleep, a significant step named REM latency. REM sleep alternates with NREM sleep around every hour and a half during the evening. REM periods increase in time duration throughout the evening.

The typical length of night sleep varies among individuals. Most adults sleep between seven to nine hours each night.

Sleep disorders are classified based on their causes. Primary sleep disorders are the ones that are not caused by other factors such as mental disorders, prescription drugs, substance abuse, or medical conditions. The two big classes of primary sleep disorders are the dyssomnias and the parasomnias.

See: Ayurveda Prescription Helps 53 Year Male with Insomnia Issues

Dyssomnias primary sleep disorders

Dyssomnias are primary sleep disorders whereby the individual suffers from changes in the amount, restfulness, and timing of sleep. The most significant dyssomnia is primary insomnia, which can be defined as difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep, which lasts for at least one month. It's estimated that 35 percent of adults in the USA experience insomnia during any given calendar year. Primary insomnia typically begins during youth or middle age.


Hypersomnia is characterized by excessive sleepiness during regular waking hours. The individual has lengthy episodes of daytime sleep or episodes of daytime sleep daily, even though he or she's sleeping well through the night. The number of individuals with primary hypersomnia is unknown, although 5-10% of individuals in sleep disorder clinics have the disease. Primary hypersomnia affects young adults between the ages of 15 to 30.


Nocturnal myoclonus and restless legs syndrome may result in either insomnia or hypersomnia in adults. Patients with nocturnal myoclonus awaken due to cramps in the calves and feel tired the next day. RLS patients have a tingling or tingling feeling in their calves, which could be relieved by moving or massaging the legs. RLS often prevents the individual from falling asleep until the wee hours of the morning.


Narcolepsy is a dyssomnia where recurrent "sleep attacks" may occur, resulting in abrupt loss of consciousness lasting 10-20 minutes. The individual feels refreshed after sleeping but typically feels drowsy again a few hours later. Narcolepsy has three prominent symptoms as well as sleep strikes: cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle tone and equilibrium ), hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. About 40 percent of patients with narcolepsy have or have had another mental illness. Although narcolepsy is known as an adult disorder, it's been reported in children as young as three years old. Nearly 18 percent of patients with narcolepsy are ten years old or younger. It's projected that 0.02-0.16 percent of the general population suffers from narcolepsy.


Breathing-related sleep disorders

Breathing-related sleep disorders are syndromes, where problems with their breathing disrupt the patient's sleep. There are three forms of breathing-related sleep disorders:

• Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is the most frequent type, marked by episodes of congestion in the upper airway during sleep. It's found primarily in obese folks. Patients with this disease typically alternate between phases of snoring or gasping (if their airway is partially open) and periods of silence (if their airway is obstructed). Loud snoring accompanies the disorder.

• Central sleep apnea syndrome is mostly found in older patients with heart or neurological conditions, which affect their ability to breathe correctly.

• Central alveolar hyperventilation syndrome is usually present in extremely obese folks. The patient's airway isn't blocked, but their blood oxygen level is too low.

• Mixed-type sleep apnea syndrome has symptoms of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are dyssomnias that result from a discrepancy between the individual's daily sleep/wake patterns and the requirements of social actions, shift work, or traveling. There are three circadian rhythm sleep disorders types:

-delayed sleep phase (going to sleep and arising after others),

- jet lag (travel to a different time zone), and 

- change work.

See: Relaxing Yoga Poses to help you sleep

Parasomnias primary sleep disorders

Parasomnias are primary sleep disorders where the specific sleep stages or transitions between waking and sleeping influence the patient's behavior.


Nightmare disorder is a parasomnia where frightening dreams awaken the patient. Approximately 10-50 percent of kids between three and five years old have nightmares. They happen during REM sleep, usually in the second half of the evening.


Sleep terror disorder is a parasomnia wherein the individual awakens screaming. Unlike nightmares, sleep terrors typically happen in stage 3 or stage 4 NREM sleep during the first third of the night. The patient could be confused for several minutes and might not recall the incident the next morning. Sleep terror disorder is most frequent in children 4-12 years old. It affects about 3 percent of children and fewer than 1 percent of adults.


Sleepwalking disorder

Sleepwalking disorder (somnambulism) occurs when the individual is capable of complex movements during sleep, such as walking. Sleepwalking occurs during stage 3 and 4 NREM sleep during the first part of the evening. Patients with the sleepwalking disorder walk around, eat, use the restroom, unlock doors, or even speak with others.10-30% of children have at least one episode of sleepwalking. But, only 1-5 percent meet the criteria for the sleepwalking disorder. The disease is most common in children 8-12 years old.


Sleep disorder symptoms

Sleep disorders associated with other conditions

Compounds, living situations, and physical or psychological disorders that may lead to sleep disorders include:

• Emotional disorders, particularly depression or among the anxiety disorders, can lead to sleep disturbances. Psychiatric disorders are the most frequent cause of chronic insomnia.

•Hormone imbalances can also cause sleep problems.

• Job-related anxiety is a common element in sleep disorders. People in law enforcement such as police officers, or emergency workers such as firefighters, and first responders have a higher-than-average speed of sleep disorders.

• Such compounds as alcohol, drugs, and caffeine often produce disturbances in sleep patterns.

• Emotional stress can cause sleep problems.

• Medical conditions like Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, viral encephalitis, brain disease, and thyroid disorder can lead to sleep disorders.

• Sleeping arrangements can be a variable. Individuals who have to share a bedroom with someone who snores heavily occasionally develop sleep disorders. Additionally, research has indicated that co-sleeping (small children sleeping in the same bed as their parents) is trying for the kids and leads to sleep disorders.

• Such prescription drugs as antihistamines, corticosteroids, asthma medications, and drugs that affect the central nervous system may affect sleep patterns.


Sleep disorder symptoms

The causes of sleep disorders related to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) categorization of these disorders are listed above.

Symptoms of sleep disorders include being very tired during the day and having difficulty falling asleep at night. Some people might fall asleep at inappropriate times, like while driving. Other symptoms include breathing in an unusual pattern or feeling an uncomfortable urge to move as you're attempting to fall asleep. Strange or bothersome movements or experiences during sleep are also possible. An irregular sleep and wake cycle is just another symptom of sleep disorders.

The most important signs of sleep disorders are insomnia and sleepiness during waking hours. Insomnia is the more common of both symptoms and encircles the inability to fall asleep at bedtime, repeated waking through the night, and/or failure to return to sleep once awakened.

Sleep disorders can have several adverse health consequences, along with overall feelings of tiredness. Studies have shown that individuals with sleep disorders are at higher risk of having severe automobile accidents and fatal workplace injuries.

See: Acupuncture for sleep disorders

Sleep disorder diagnosis

Diagnosis of sleep disorders usually requires a mental history in addition to medical history. Physical examinations aren't typically revealing, except for sleep apnea syndromes. The doctor may also speak to other family members to obtain information regarding the patient's symptoms. Psychological tests or inventories are utilized because sleeplessness is often associated with mood or psychiatric disorders.

Patients could be asked to keep a sleep diary for one or two weeks to assess sleep disturbance. They list medications that are taken, the period spent in bed, and the quality of sleep.

If breathing-related sleep disorders, myoclonus, or narcolepsy are possibilities, the patient could be tested in a sleep lab or at home with cellular devices. Polysomnography records physiological functions that could be used to help diagnose sleep disorders, in addition to researching sleep.

Natural sleep remedies

General recommendations with natural sleep remedies for becoming more relaxed sleep include:

• Waiting till one feels tired before going to bed.

• Not using the bedroom for working or watching tv.

• Arising at precisely the exact same time every morning.

• Quitting smoking and drinking carbonated fluids.

• Limiting fluids after dinner and preventing alcohol.

• Avoiding high-sugar or high-calorie snacks at bedtime.

• Avoiding highly stimulating activities before bed, like watching a scary movie, playing aggressive computer games, etc..

• Preventing tossing and turning in bed. Instead, the patient must get up and listen to relaxing music or see.


Herbal remedies for sleep disorders

herbal remedies which are useful in relieving insomnia include:

• catnip (Nepeta cataria): bad sleep

• chamomile (Matricaria recutita): stress

• chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium): sleeplessness

• hops (Humulus lupulus): overactive mind

• lime blossom (Tilia cordata): anxiety

• linden (Tilia species): Stress

• oats (Avena sativa): inadequate sleep and nervous fatigue

• passionflower (Passiflora incarnata): anxiety and muscular cramps

• skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora): nervous tension

• squawvine (Mitchella repens): sleeplessness

• St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum): melancholy

• valerian (Valeriana officinalis): anxiety

• vervain (Verbena Officinalis): nervous tension, sleep apnea

According to Prevention magazine, insomnia is the most common condition treated with herbal formulations in the United States; it accounts for 18 percent of all use of herbal preparations. Some herbs used for insomnia are better than others. Persons that are using alternative remedies, whether to treat insomnia or other conditions, should always tell their doctor what they're taking, how much, and how frequently. This warning is crucial because some herbal preparations that are secure in themselves may interact with prescription drugs.


Dietary supplements and alterations

Some naturopaths suggest Vitamins B6, B12, and D to relieve sleeplessness. Calcium and magnesium are natural sedatives that help to describe the traditional recommendations of drinking a glass of warm milk at bedtime. Tryptophan may alleviate insomnia. As turkey is high in tryptophan, a turkey sandwich for a bedtime snack may be helpful. Melatonin is widely utilized to induce sleep, although adequate studies of its effectiveness are lacking.


Other natural remedies for sleep disorders:

A vast array of other therapies that may be useful in treating sleep disorders include:

Acupressure. The pressure points on both heels, the bottom of the skull, between the eyebrows, and on the inside of the wrists can be helpful to alleviate insomnia.

Acupuncture. The specific remedy for insomnia is dependent upon the cause.

Aromatherapy. Using essential oils of bergamot, lavender, basil, chamomile, neroli, marjoram, or improved promotes comfort.

Ayurveda and Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic treatments for insomnia include scalp and soles massage with sesame, Brahmi, or jatamamsi oils, a hot bath, or a nutmeg ghee paste applied to the forehead and around the eyes. Nightmares are also treated with scalp and soles massage with Brahmi or bhringaraj oils, tranquility tea (jatamamsi, Brahmi, ginkgo, and ginger root), and yoga. Sleep apnea is treated by suggesting alterations in the sleep positions, humidifying the air, and Nasya or nose drops with hot Brahmi ghee.

Biofeedback. This technique can promote comfort.

Traditional Chinese medicine or Acupuncture. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine view insomnia as a symptom of excess yang energy. Either magnetite or dragon bones are listed for insomnia related to hysteria or fear.

Chiropractic. Spinal manipulation can reduce pressure upon the nervous system, thus allowing comfort.

Colored light therapy. Treatment with pure green light can help balance the nervous system and might relieve insomnia.

Homeopathy. Homeopathic remedies are chosen based on the particular causes of insomnia. They include Nux vomica (alcohol or substance-related insomnia ), Ignatia (emotional upset), Arsenicum (stress ), Passiflora (mental stress, aches, and pains), and Lycopodium (talking or laughing during sleep).

Light/dark treatment involves making the bedroom very dark at night and exposing the individual to early morning sunlight (or a lightbox).

Low-energy laughter treatment (LEET) is a clinically proven treatment for chronic insomnia. LEET treatment entails delivering electromagnetic fields via a mouthpiece.

Massage. Therapeutic massage may relieve the muscular tension associated with chronic insomnia.

Meditation. Regular meditation practice can counteract psychological stress.

Reflexology. Using the reflexology points for your diaphragm, pancreas, ovary/testicle, pituitary, parathyroid, thyroid, and adrenal gland helps relieve insomnia.

Visualization may help to promote comfort.

Yoga can promote relaxation by releasing muscle tension.

Summary

If you think that your sleep problems could result from a disorder, there are lots of things you can do to solve your sleep problems from natural treatment tips and suggestions like practicing better sleep habits, or a sleep evaluation for pre-screened disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. The prognosis is dependent upon the specific disorder. Natural therapies and holistic treatments often require several weeks to have noticeable effects. Children usually outgrow sleep disorders. Narcolepsy, however, is a lifelong disease.

References

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