Common Sleep Disorders Tips

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Parasomnia's Go Bump in the Night

A Parasomnia can be a number of sleep disorders that keep one from getting a normal sleep. A few of the most common parasomnias are Sleep Walking, Sleep Terrors, and Gritting of the teeth.
Sleep Walking occurs when one gets up during sleep and walks around. This can be very dangerous if a person leaves the house. Their have been cases in which people walked out into busy streets and were killed by oncoming traffic.

Sleep terrors or screaming occurs during sleep and can disrupt the whole house. As a person sits up in bed, screaming and trashing about they are normally not aware of the situation. A person having a sleep terror is hard to arouse from sleep and is confused if woke.

Teeth Gritting is also a Parssomina called Bruxism. Bruxism is damage or wear to the teeth caused by gritting of the teeth during sleep. Symptoms can include jaw discomfort, fatigue, pain, and headaches.

Are those who suffer from dementia more prone to sleep disorders?

Sleep Disorders in Dementia

Sleep problems are different for those who suffer from dementia. Those with dementia also have problems such as arthritis, dehydration and infections that may also contribute to poor sleep. Those with Alzheimer's Disease are light sleepers that are easily awakened and have sleep patterns that are generally abnormal.

Experts suggest those suffering from sleeplessness and dementia seek relief from outside walks in the sun, temperature control in the bedroom, and avoiding caffeine beverages at night. Naps during the day are not helpful because they may make sleeping at night more difficult.

What are some common types of sleep disorders?

Five Common Types of Sleeping Disorders

There are many different types of sleeping disorders. Here are descriptions of five common ones:

1. Nightmare Disorder: Nightmares are frightening dreams that occur during REM sleep. During these, the heart rate usually increases, the breathing rate increases and the child experiences profuse sweating.

2. Sleep Terror Disorder: Extreme panic and a sudden, loud, terrified scream during sleep, followed by physical activities such as hitting objects or moving in and out of the bedroom. Persons with this disorder can injure themselves. The person often remembers either nothing or just parts of these dreams.

3. Sleepwalking Disorder: A person is performing acts in their sleep, usually with their eyes open. Acts can include wandering aimlessly, carrying objects without any purpose, going outdoors, even driving. They may mumble. However, it is usually impossible to communicate with a sleepwalker.

4. REM Sleep Behavior Disorder: Sufferer has dream-enacting behaviors that include talking, yelling, punching, kicking, sitting, jumping out of bed, arm flailing, and grabbing. People act out distinctly altered dreams that are vivid, intense, action-packed, and violent.

5. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD): The primary symptom of RLS is insomnia (inability to sleep), whereas PLMD is known to make one extremely sleepy during the day. About 80 percent of those with RLS also have PLMD or involuntary leg twitching or jerking movements during sleep that can occur every 20-30 seconds.

Do I have a sleep disorder?

Do YOU Have A Sleep Disorder?

If any of the following sounds familiar to you, you MAY have a sleep/wake disorder. Ask your family doctor for a referral to a specialist where you will be able to receive a professional diagnosis.

1. Do you have trouble sleeping, staying awake, or suffer from early morning headaches?
2. Does your spouse/family complain about your loud snoring at night?
3. Have you lost a job because you can't get to work on time, or can't stay awake during the day?
4. Do you fall asleep in class or have difficulty concentrating?
5. Is your social calendar empty because you are just too tired to participate?
6. Have friends, teachers, or co-workers labelled you as disinterested, inattentive, or unmotivated?
7. Have you become wary of driving because you doze off at the wheel?
8. Do you lose muscle control - perhaps even collapse - when you laugh, get angry, or show other strong emotions?
9. Have you been delegated to the couch because you have a tendency to act out your dreams?
10. Do you ever get a crawling sensation in your legs?
11. Are your bedclothes in disarray each morning, even though you believe you've had a restful sleep?
12. Are you a shiftworker who wants to sleep when you can't, and then can't when you should?
13. Are you often depressed because you don't have the energy to complete an everyday routine?
14. Does your family think you have lost interest in them?

What are the symptoms of a sleep disorder?

Sleep Disorder Symptoms

Symptoms of a sleep disorder include:

1. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS): can manifest itself as sleep attacks (irresistible sleepiness and/or an unusual, susceptibility to drowsiness.
2. Sleep Apnea: involves frequent cessations of breathing during a sleep period. Loud snoring usually accompanies each resumption of breathing. Awake, respiration is normal; asleep, the sufferer is unaware of breathing irregularities.
3. Cataplexy: a rapidly occuring loss of voluntary muscle tone, usually triggered by emotions such as laughter, anger, elation or surprise. A cataplectic attack can range from a brief experience of partial muscle weakness to an almost complete loss of muscle control lasting several minutes; the victim is conscious, but cannot move.
4. Disrupted Night-Time Sleep: multiple awakenings during each sleep period, often accompanied by a craving for food.
5. Hypnagogic Hallucinations: intense, vivid, sometimes terrifying experiences which occur at the beginning or end of a sleep period. Any or all of the normal senses may be involved and the experience is often very difficult to distinguish from reality.
6. Night Terrors (not to be confused with nightmares): usually affect young children who awaken in panic and confusion within an hour of falling asleep. Tghe pulse races and there is disorientation, but no memory of dreaming. Nightmares are not a disorder, but a natural dream phenomenon; only if they are recurrent and deeply disturbing is help necessary.
7. Automatic Behaviour refers to doing things (usually of a routine nature) with greatly reduced awareness of and intelligent control over the activities involved. One is generally unable to recall the specific details of one's activities.
8. Sleep Paralysis is an awareness of one's ability to move despite the desire to do so. It occurs as a person is falling asleep or waking up.
9. Sleepwalking (somnambulism) episodes occur occasionally in children, typically before the age of 10 and stopping by age 15. Frequent sleepwalking in adults is more serious, begins later in life, occurs more frequently, shows no family history, and is often related to major stress. Although sleepwalkers can avoid objects, they are clumsier than when awake and speech is usually unintelligible.
10. Bedwetting (enuresis) is found in about 10% of girls and 15% of boys at age five. Cases in older age groups may be related to physical disorders, congenitally small bladders or infections, or may be a result of generalized anxiety.

How does ethnicity effect the prevalence of sleep disorders?

Sleep Problems and Ethnicities

Research has found that ethnicity can be a factor in sleep problems. According to the Center for Sleep Disorders Research and the National Institute of Health research:

- Young African Americans are twice as prone to Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB) than young Caucasians.

- Frequent snoring is more common among African American and Hispanic women and men compared to non-Hispanic Caucasians, independent of other factors including obesity.

- Researchers have found that sleep problems and poor mood are related to ethnicity.

- Sleep disordered breathing was a factor in the curtailed sleep of minority women.

- Hispanic and African-American women slept less than European-American women, according to both objective recordings and their own sleep logs.

- Non- Hispanic women were much more depressed.

Hispanic, African-American and Native-American women experienced longer but more disturbed sleep, and more depression.

Why do the elderly have problems sleeping?

Sleep Disorders and the Elderly

About one-third of the older population suffers from insomnia or lack of sleep.
Some of the reasons for sleep disorders are prevalent as we get older. Among them are daytime sleepiness, a condition known as Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB), Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD).

More than one half of people older than 64 years who live at home and two thirds of people older than 64 years who reside in a long-term care facility are estimated to have some form of sleep disturbance. Research is concentrating more on sleep disorders in the elderly and coming up with safe solutions for this group of Americans with special needs.

How can I keep my Circadian Rhythm in Check?

Keeping Your Circadian Rhythm in Check

So now that you understand circadian rhythm, you might be wondering just how much sleep you need to keep yours in check.

You've probably figured out by now how many hours of sleep you need per night to avoid feeling lethargic the next day. Now compare it to the expert calculations. Here is what the experts say about the amount of sleep you need.

Sleep requirements differ from one person to the next, depending on age, physical activity levels, general health and other individual factors. But in general:

- Primary school children need nine to 10 hours. Studies show that increasing your child's sleep by as little as half an hour can dramatically improve school performance.

- Teenagers need about 9 to 10 hours too. Teenagers have increased sleep requirement at the time when social engagements and peer pressure cause a reduction in sleep time.

- Adults need about 8 hours, depending on individual factors. We tend to need less sleep as we age, but be guided by your own state of alertness - if you feel tired during the day, aim to get more sleep.

What is periodic limb movements?

Definition of Periodic Limb Movements (PLM)

Periodic Limb Movementse (PLM) - or nocturnal myoclonus - is characterized by episodes of limb movements that typically recur at intervals of 15 to 40 seconds during Non-REM sleep. The movements usually involve the legs, but sometimes the arms as well. Episodes generally last from five minutes to two hours and alternate with periods of normal sleep. It is not the same as "hypnic jerks" which startle many of us as we fall asleep. The victim of myoclonus is usually unaware of leg movements, but complains of fragmented and unrefreshing sleep.

How much sleep do I need if I'm a healthy adult?

Sleeping Disorders and Symptoms: Children vs. Adults

Sleeping disorders and sleep deprivation in adults can result in the following symptoms:

- Constant yawning
- The tendency to doze off when watching TV or when you're not active for a while
- Grogginess when waking in the morning
- Sleepy grogginess experienced all day long (sleep inertia)
- Poor concentration and mood changes (more irritable)

What is night terrors?

Definition of Night Terrors

Night Terrors (not to be confused with nightmares), usually affect young children who awaken in panic and confusion within an hour of falling asleep. The pulse races and there is disorientation, but no memory of dreaming.

What are parasomnias?

What are Parasomnias?

Disruptive sleep-related disorders are called parasomnias. Parasomnias are characterized by undesirable physical or verbal behaviors, such as walking or talking during sleep. They occur during specific stages of sleep.

There are two categories of Parasomnias:

1. Primary parasomnias: disorders of sleep states. They are further classified according to whether or not they occur during the REM stage of sleep (rapid eye movement stage, which means the eyes move rapidly and dreaming occurs) or the non-REM stage (non–rapid eye movement stage, which means eye movement does not take place).

2. Secondary parasomnias: disorders of other organ systems that can take place during sleep. For example, seizures (convulsions), respiratory dyskinesias (difficulty in performing respiratory movements), arrhythmia's (abnormal heart rhythms), and gastroesophageal reflux (food or liquid regurgitating from the stomach into the foodpipe).

If I'm having trouble sleeping, what do you suggest doing?

Tips for Combating Lack of Sleep

Having trouble sleeping? Here are some tips for finally getting to sleep during those sleepless nights. Of course, if your insomnia is lengthy, you should talk to your physician to rule out one of many sleep disorders as the culprit.

- Sleep as much as you need but not more. Too much sleep is not good for you either. Sleep enough to feel refreshed.
- Make sure the bedroom is quiet and dark.
- Exercise in the late afternoon but not too late at night. Too much activity late can make it difficult to get to sleep because you are too stimulated.
- Don't worry about problems when you go to bed. Just tell yourself you will be better equipped to solve problems when you have had a good nights sleep.
- If you can't sleep, get up and read or have a light snack until you feel tired.
- Try to get up at about the same time every day no matter what time you went to bed the night before. This helps establish a sleep/wake cycle and will eventually help you feel sleepy at the same time each night.
- Keep the room temperature comfortable - not too cold or too hot (65 F is recommended).
- Don't go to bed until you feel tired. If it's your bedtime but you're not tired, read or engage yourself in some other light activity until you feel sleepy.
- Avoid napping during the day because you will be less sleepy when it time to go to bed.
- Caffeine is a stimulate that will likely cause a disturbance in your sleep pattern.
- Alcohol may help you to fall asleep but it is not a quality sleep.
- Smoking affects your sleep as it uses up oxygen in the blood and affects your quality of sleep. Your body needs enough oxygen to get a good sound sleep.
- A light snack can help sleep but a heavy meal will not.

What are the differences between sleep disorders in men and women?

Sleep Disorders and Women

It is important to know that 75 percent of sleep research has been conducted on men. Therefore, female-specific research is often lacking. Yet, sleep complaints by women are double that of men.

Findings from studies based primarily in men are often considered to be representative of "normal" even when it is recognized that there are important sleep-related physiological differences in women and men.

While many female-specific sleep studies still need to be done, here is what we do know when it comes to women and sleep (or lack thereof).

- Body temperature, mood, and emotional state during puberty, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause have definite effects on sleep quality, daytime functioning, and well-being in adolescent girls and adult women.

- According to a 2002 National Sleep Foundation poll, more women than men experience symptoms of insomnia at least a few nights a week (63 percent of women as opposed to 54 percent of men).

- Sleep apnea (snoring, interrupted breathing during sleep, daytime sleepiness) is more prevalent in men. However, it increases in women over the age of 50. Experts think this has something to do with extra weight in women this age.

- Studies show that more than 66 percent of those with Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NS-RED) are women. This disorder is an uncommon condition that involves eating food during the night while sleeping. It can be caused by medications (drugs prescribed for depression or insomnia) or by sleep disorders (for example, sleep apnea or Restless Legs Syndrome) that cause awakenings and trigger sleep eating.

What is my Circadian rhythm?

Your Circadian Rhythm and What it Means

Your circadian rhythm is your internal body clock. Circadian rhythms are important in determining human sleeping patterns. Patterns of brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities are linked to a 24-hour cycle. Circadian rhythm sleep disorders mean there are disruptions in your circadian rhythm.

Circadian rhythm disorders can be caused by many factors, including:

- Shift work
- Pregnancy
- Time zone changes
- Medications
- Changes in routine

Circadian rhythm disorders are usually treated with the person's lifestyle in mind. Therapy usually combines proper sleep hygiene techniques and external stimulus therapy such as bright light therapy or chronotherapy.

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