A sleep disorder is any type of alteration that disrupts the normal course of sleep. Sleep disorders provoke some difficulty in sleeping at night, producing an excessive need to sleep during the day
Main types of sleep disorders
The main slep disorders are:
A) Insomnia, wakefulness or trouble sleeping or staying asleep at night
Insomnia is a sleep disorder. It is defined as the inability to sleep at night, inability to sleep the hours required or night sleeping interruption.
There are many causes that can cause insomnia. All of them produce a disorder characterized by poor sleeping quality in the person who suffers it and which leads to a general state of fatigue, sleepiness and discomfort during the day. Some variants of the disorder of insomnia are:
– The learned insomnia (psychophysiological insomnia): The personal stress or anxiety prevents sleep properly. The affected person develops a very complex ritual around the dream that really keeps him/her awake. (The person affected is too much concerned about some personal worries, such as whether the teeth brushing has been done or not, whether the light is off or on. He is worried about the fact that he has to sleep faster to get up the next day in good condition, etc.).
– Insomnia dependent on stimulants: The person in questions needs to take sleeping pills. At the same time the body becomes tolerant to these drugs so one needs to increase the dose. This creates a vicious circle that prevents a peaceful sleep.
– Restless legs syndrome: This syndrome is characterized by the need to move the legs during sleep, resulting in insomnia. (More information in the listing above)
– Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): The stomach acids get back up into the esophagus, especially when a person is lying down, causing heartburn and, consequently, creating a cycle of poor sleep.
– High-places insomnia syndrome: This occurs in people who usually are in the area above 4000 m, as climbers, pilots or aircraft personnel.
– Obstructive sleep apnea: It is a disorder that is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep lasting less than 10 seconds. This determines a lesser quality in the sleep that is manifested in a need, often uncontrollable, to sleep during the day. Patients with this disorder may fall asleep easily at home, driving, or at work (More information about obstructive sleep apnea)
– Central sleep apnea: It is caused by a lack of communication between the brain that controls breathing and breathing muscles. It is much less common than obstructive sleep apnea and occurs in people who have suffered injuries in the lower brain stem, that is the part of the brain responsible for controlling breathing. Of all the people who have sleep apnea, only 10% have this type. (More information about central sleep apnea)
– Mixed sleep apnea: It combines the two factors previously discussed.
– Insomnia by food allergy: Usually occurs only in young children between 2 and 4 years. The problems caused by food intolerances, such as gastrointestinal pain or breathing problems. It prevents them to sleep normally.
– Sleeplessness caused by toxins: Some toxins can cause insomnia.
– Child insomnia by incorrect habits: It takes place in children who associate sleeping with any particular practice or object (sleeping with stuffed animals, rocking the cradle to sleep, sleeping with music, television, etc.). In the absence of these habits, children have trouble falling asleep.
A very common type of insomnia occurs in adults who need some special object to feel secure and sleep peacefully (two clocks, personal stereos, etc)
Insomnia by nocturnal leg cramps: Nocturnal leg cramps are involuntarily and generally take place at night. This type of cramp specially occur in older people or in younger people who have been doing exercise before going to sleep. They can be responsible for insomnia.
(See full study on insomnia in the listing above)
B) Disorders with hypersomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness.
Sleepiness or somnolence is the need to sleep during the day when, under normal conditions, one should be usually well-awake. It is technically known as hypersomnia, which means “excessive sleep”. Among the disorders that cause drowsiness, we can mention the following:
– Obstructive sleep apnea: The absence of a good restoring night sleep that this disorder provokes determines the need to sleep during the day.
– Central Sleep apnea: It also impedes to sleep well at night, so it creates daytime sleepness.
– Mixed sleep apnea: As in the previous two is responsible for daytime sleepiness.
– Narcolepsy: It is a compulsive need to sleep during the day with episodes of hallucinations before falling asleep. The person with narcolepsy may fall asleep at any time of day when performing any type of activity. They are usually short periods of sleep, about 15 minutes long. (More information about ” Narcolepsy” in the listing above)
– Restless legs syndrome: The need to move the legs during sleep causes wakefulness at night and therefore, brings forth daytime sleepiness. (More information about this syndrome in the listing above)
C) Disorders alterations in sleep schedules.
These disorders occur in people who are forced to change the timing of sleep:
– Shift work syndrome: A condition caused by work shift changes from day to night or vice versa.
– Jet lag syndrome: A condition produced by rapid change in time zone when traveling by plane
– Sleep state misperception: disorder in which some people manifest sleep problems when objectively they have slept enough.
– Irregular sleep-wake syndrome: A type of syndrome in which sleep schedules rhythms are not established. It occurs in older people with neural disorders or people without a pattern of institutionalized behavior, that’s to say people who should not wake up at a particular time because they do not work, or do not go to school, etc.
– Advanced sleep phase syndrome: There is a compelling need to go to bed earlier than what would be normal. It is also very usual for people who suffer this syndrome to get up earlier in the morning.
– Delayed sleep-phase syndrome: It is a phenomenon that occurs in adolescents. The production of hormones that regulate sleep occurs later than in adults with the result that many times this population has the need to go to sleep later and, consequently, it is forced to get up later too.
D) Parasomnias or behaviors that interfere with sleep.
These disorders occur mainly in children. Among all worthy of mention, we have the following:
– Sleepwalking: It is the habit of leaving the bed and doing activities while being asleep (walking, going to the toilette, singing, eating, leaving home, driving etc. People affected go back to be and go on sleeping without being aware of what they have been doing.
– Terror during sleep: It is characterized by a terror attack and subsequent scream. People affected usually leave the bed and walk out the bedroom, hitting objects.
– Nightmare disorder (dream anxiety attack): Frightful dreams with another related symptoms such as tachycardia and abundant sweating.
The natural treatment of sleep disorders involves using a series of natural remedies that can help prevent or improve
More information about sleep disorders and their natural treatment.