Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep? Do you wake up feeling unrested? Do you have any other sleep problems? If so, you may be experiencing a sleep disorder. Below we review three of the most common sleep disorders and their treatments.
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, affecting approximately 10% of adults chronically and 30-40% intermittently. Insomnia takes many forms and causes trouble falling asleep, frequent awakenings or waking too early and not being able to go back to sleep.
Insomnia may be acute (short term) or chronic (long term). You’re diagnosed with chronic insomnia if your sleep problems persist at least three nights per week for at least three months.
Treatment for insomnia includes practicing good sleep hygiene, cognitive-behavioral therapy and sleeping pills.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. During these pauses, your brain rouses you briefly so you can resume breathing again. In most cases, these episodes are so brief you don’t remember them the next day. The result is poor sleep, daytime fatigue, dry mouth and more.
There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central and complex.
- With obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles that hold up the soft tissues in the mouth and throat collapse, causing a physical obstruction that leads to snoring and pauses in breathing.
- With central sleep apnea, the brain fails to send signals to the breathing muscles to do their jobs.
- With complex sleep apnea, both obstructive and central factors are at play.
Each type of sleep apnea is treated differently. Obstructive is treated with lifestyle changes, oral appliances and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Central sleep apnea is usually treated by managing the underlying condition.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that involves excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations. The main symptom is feeling so tired during the day you fall asleep at inappropriate times, like during savasana at Studio Yoga. This sleep disorder is thought to be caused by a lack of hypocretin, a brain chemical that promotes wakefulness and muscle tone.
Treatments for narcolepsy include stimulants, sodium oxybate and antidepressants. For more information about these common sleep disorders or to schedule an appointment with a sleep expert, call Texas ENT & Allergy today.