The 7 main sleep disorders

Sleep is an essential biological process for life. However, it is also a daily facet that lends itself to the development of specific disorders.

They are different sleep disturbances which prevent us from having restful sleep and which affect our daily life with various symptoms already mentioned in another article earlier.

    Sleep disorders: what are they?

    As the name suggests, sleep disorders are psychological disorders that negatively affect the quality of life of people and which they show up in the times when you are sleeping or trying to sleep.

    This means that suffering from any of these problems for an extended period can lead to other health complications as a result, especially in the case of sleep disorders that prevent good sleep. It should be remembered that not getting enough sleep over the long term leads to significant cognitive impairment and increases the risk of physical and mental illness.

    Types of sleep disorders

    Here is a summary of the sleep disturbances, With its main symptoms and distinctive features.

    1. Insomnia

    Among the most common disorders is insomnia, which affects 25% of the population. This can be due to some underlying disorder such as depression or anxiety. Insomnia is defined as the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Each person needs certain hours to feel rested, whereas the normal is between 7 and 9 hours.

    People with insomnia often feel drowsy all day long, which interferes with their daily life, and at night it will be difficult for them to fall back to sleep despite the fatigue. In insomnia; the said “restless legs“It is a tingling in the legs that forces the patient to move them. It occurs at night and makes it difficult to sleep.

    • More information and advice on insomnia on: “Fighting insomnia: 10 solutions for better sleep”

    2. Sleep apnea

    It is a common disorder in which the person who has it becomes pause in breathing during sleep. This usually lasts a short time and the person returns to normal breathing with a loud snoring. This is usually a chronic disorder that affects sleep as it progresses to sleep REM phase and he goes into a light sleep, which prevents the person from resting properly.

    The first to notice this symptom is usually a family member because the person does not notice it. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, which is due to an obstruction in the airways that prevents air from passing through. It is generally more common in overweight people.

    If they are not treated properly, the consequences can be serious because in times of anoxia (lack of air in the brain), the neurons associated with sleep can be damaged. And increase the likelihood of having a heart attack.

    Other less common disorders are narcolepsy and the cataplexy.

    3. Narcolepsy

    This neurological disease is due to a brain abnormality that alters the neuronal mechanisms of sleep; It consists of episodes of sudden sleep during waking hours, being able to fall asleep for 2 to 5 minutes anywhere and wake up empty. It can happen just while driving, talking or walking. These people do not dream of slow waves and go straight into the REM phase. Narcolepsy can also occur in dogs.

    In this disease we find some variants such as cataplexy: It is a total paralysis which occurs during the awakening. The person has muscle weakness and may become completely paralyzed and fall to the ground. What is happening is that the phenomenon of REM sleep is happening at an inappropriate time. The person is conscious during these seizures.

    • hypnagogic hallucinations: Dreams lived before the person fell asleep. They are dreams while you are awake.

    • Sleep paralysis: It usually occurs just before bed or when you wake up in the morning, but at a time when it is safe for the person.

    • More information on sleep paralysis in: “Sleep paralysis: definition, symptoms and causes”.

    4. Behavioral disorders associated with REM sleep

    In REM sleep, we are physically paralyzed. Without this paralysis, we would represent our dreams.

    In REM sleep disorder (which is a neurodegenerative disease), patients they represent their dreams, Get up and move without realizing it. The patient may suffer injuries.

    4. Disorders associated with slow sleep

    During this phase, especially in phase number 4 of sleep (one of the deepest), many people experience inappropriate behaviors; such as sleepwalking, bedwetting (wetting the bed) and night terrors. In the case of enuresis, it is a type of deterioration which occurs very frequently in boys and girls.

    5. Sleepwalking

    In children, this is usually due to fatigue, lack of sleep, or anxiety; in adults, it can be due to mental disorders, alcohol among others. These people can get up and walk normally, perform actions … these episodes are usually very short and if they do not wake up they will fall back to sleep but can stay asleep elsewhere.

    In sleepwalking is the eating disorder associated with sleep; The person eats while they sleep. To avoid this, they usually store food with a key.

    • To learn more about sleepwalking, we recommend the article “Sleepwalking: the king of sleep disorders”.

    6. Night terrors

    Night terrors are more common in children between the ages of 3 and 7. The child may sweat or breathe restlessly, in shock and very disoriented.

    In short, you need restful sleep to be 100% in our daily life. Therefore, if you suffer from any of the symptoms described, consult your doctor and he can diagnose you correctly and take action if necessary. Many of these disorders have very effective treatments.

    • Learn more about night terrors: “Night terrors: panic while sleeping.”

    Bibliographical references:

    • Mathias, JL; Alvaro, DC (2012). Prevalence of sleep disorders, disturbances, and problems after head injury: a meta-analysis. Sleep medicine. 13 (7): pages 898 to 905.
    • Mai E, Buysse DJ (January 1, 2008). “Insomnia: prevalence, impact, pathogenesis, differential diagnosis and evaluation”. Sleep medicine clinics. 3 (2): pages 167 to 174.
    • Meltzer, Lisa J .; Johnson, Courtney; Crosette, Jonathan; Ramos, Mark; Mindell, Jodi A. (2010). Prevalence of diagnosed sleep disorders in pediatric primary care practices. Pediatrics. 125 (6): e1410 – e1418.
    • Roepke, SK and Ancoli-Israel, S. (2010). Sleep disorders in the elderly. The Indian Journal of Medical Research, 131: pages 302-310.
    • Thorpy, MJ (2012). Classification of sleep disorders. Neurotherapy, 9 (4): pages 687-701.

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