Sleep deprivation causes insomnia, which has been found to cause serious health problems, from elevated blood pressure to cardiovascular disease, and even cardiac arrest.
People living with insomnia often wake up frequently throughout the night and then struggle to fall back asleep, they also consistently wake up much earlier, or they frequently suffer from unsatisfactory quality of sleep. For most circumstances, these difficulties filter down into people’s everyday lives and contribute significantly to fatigue, emotional instability, and concentration problems.
Approximately 1 in 10 adults have some sort of insomnia; and around half of the general population has at least an occasional bout of sleeplessness at some point in their lifetime. Treatment options for chronic insomnia differ depending on the extent of the severity and specific circumstances, but a comprehensive list can be obtained via the National Sleep Foundation.
If you’re not sure what’s causing your interrupted sleep, the following are the three most common causes and could be worth talking to your doctor about.
Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder
This disorder is where a person physically acts out their dreams, with sounds, arm and leg movements (that can be quite violent at times). It occurs when the person is in REM sleep mode, and can occur a number of times a night. It’s caused by nerve pathways that prevent muscles moving during REM – no longer working effectively.
Risk factors for this disorder include certain medications, particularly anti-depressants; being male and aged 50 years and older; and having a neurodegenerative disorder such as Parkinson’s Disease, stroke or dementia. Those living with narcolepsy are also more likely to have this disorder.
Sleep apnea is where your breathing starts and stops frequently while sleeping. Sleep apnea can be observed in two different types called OSA or obstructive and CSA or central. It’s also possible to simultaneously suffer from both OSA and CSA, which is a condition referred to as complex sleep apnea syndrome. Severe symptoms of either one of these neurological disorders will need medical diagnosis and treatment.
OSA is the most common form of this disorder, which is caused by blockage of throat muscles which stops air from flowing correctly through allowing it to reach the lungs. The most common symptoms of this type of sleep apnea is excessively loud snoring, and the frequent sleep interruptions also cause fatigue problems during the day are also common.
CSA is the less common sleep apnea which happens when the mind doesn’t warn the muscles to maintain the respiratory process adequately. Frequent night-time awakenings are also much more common among those who have CSA.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is distinguished by a commonly inescapable compulsion to shake or start moving the legs. RLS affects people outside of the domain of sleeping problems, but many of those who experience appears to still have flare-ups throughout extended periods of stillness, especially during sleep.
Patients who frequently suffer from RLS also experience these symptoms during the day in the form of moodiness, fatigue, as well as having trouble with concentration. Some people are able to treat milder RLS with home-based methods such as massage, stretching, and the use of heat or ice packs, however more severe cases will usually require some form of specialized medical treatment.
Getting enough sleep each night is achievable for the majority of us, but it can be a real challenge for some. Around 70 million American people struggle with one of approximately 80 different sleep disorders every night. Since these various conditions often go undiagnosed and untreated, people need to know the common symptoms for proper identification. If you’d like further advice, get in touch with our team today.