Sleep Disorders: What You Should Know

          The idea of simply getting into bed and drifting off to sleep is likely a fairytale for a lot of us.  Whether it’s a busy mind, a good book or simply not being able to sleep, it’s a common problem.  For others, staying asleep and feeling rested in the morning is the issue.  Regardless of the cause, it’s not uncommon for most people to feel constantly exhausted throughout the day.  Rather than just go with the flow, however, consider the idea that you may have a sleeping disorder.  It’s much more common than you might think. 

What is a sleep disorder?

            Almost as simple as the name implies, a sleep disorder is a condition that impacts a person’s overall health and wellness by preventing them from getting enough quality sleep.  When we don’t sleep enough, our bodies get run down, our concentration wavers and we often find ourselves wanting to nap during the day,

             A disorder can be short-term or long-term and it can impact anyone from children to elders.  There are quite a few kinds of sleeping disorders, but the most common ones are below.

  • Insomnia: A general term for a disorder in which someone has difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep throughout the night, insomnia is arguably the most common sleep disorder in Canada.  There is no known cause for insomnia and it can be anywhere from transient to chronic in its frequency.
  • Sleep Apnea: Another popular sleeping disorder, sleep apnea occurs when the body pauses in its breathing throughout your sleep cycle.  It can cause the sleeper to wake up as a result, and is often distressing to partner, since you effectively stop breathing.
  • Parasomnias: There are many kinds of parasomnias, but the general term is when you have a sleep disorder in which you do strange things while sleeping.  For example, sleep-walking or even grinding your teeth are considered to be in this category.  Night terrors are also considered to be parasomnias.  These often impact children and it’s commonly believed that they’ll grow out of them.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome: Restless Leg Syndrome (RLD) is a condition in which a person trying to sleep has a compulsion to move their legs.  For some, it’s an involuntary twitching.  For others, it’s a tingling or itchiness that causes the person to feel that they have no other choice but to move their legs.

            There are many sleep disorders out there, and they can have serious health and wellness impacts.  If you or someone you love is dealing with a sleep disorder, it might be a good idea to consult a specialist.  With treatment, those suffering from the disorders can heal and recover, allowing them to return to their normal energy levels and daily activities as a result.  From diagnosis to treatment, understanding sleep disorders and how they impact your life is a great first step to getting your life back under control.

3 Comments

  1. Junie

    Sleep apnea and insomnia are two disorders that run in my family. I am prone to insomnia but it seems to have lessened somewhat over the years. Regardless, it’s something I still struggle with on occasion.

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