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Common sleep disorders

Common sleep disorders

We look at common sleep disorders to help you take action and get the quality sleep you desperately need.

Somnipathy is the medical term for sleep disorders and can include issues such as insomnia, sleep apnoea, restless and dead leg syndrome as well as narcolepsy to name a few. Sleep disorders have a negative impact on your life. Issues associated with sleep disorders include your safety, weight management, focusing at work or school, mental and physical wellbeing and more.

Sleep disorders are issues that prevent you from achieving quality sleep. These issues will cause daytime drowsiness and other problems. Less serious sleep issues happen to all of us but you may suffer from a sleep disorder if-

  • Your regularly have trouble sleeping
  • You have daytime tiredness.
  • You can’t function properly during the day.

According to the Cleveland clinic in the U.S, about one third of people don’t get enough quality sleep. Of that group, 70% suffer from a sleep disorder of some sort.

How much sleep do we need?

Many “experts” recommend anywhere between seven to nine hours per night. This is however open to interpretation. The fact is that we cannot gauge the quality of our sleep with hours. Our sleep quality has to be gauged on the amount of unbroken sleep we get during the night.

The consequences of poor-quality sleep

When you do not get the best quality sleep, you are susceptible to daytime drowsiness. This interferes with your ability to function at your best both mentally and physically. This can lead to lack of focus, learning disabilities, impaired memory, personality changes and even depression. Lack of quality sleep also interferes with your ability to make decisions, incresed irritability and dulled reactions which could result in injury in many different situations.

Causes of sleep disorders.

There are many factors that contribute to sleep disorders. These can be physical as well as phycological and can include-

  • Any physical issue that interrupts your sleep, such as ulcers
  • Medical issues like asthma
  • Psychiatric issues like depression or anxiety
  • Environmental which would include stimulants or a sleep space that is too brightly lit for example
  • Nightshift. This breaks the routine your body is used to
  • Genetic issues such as narcolepsy, yes it IS genetic
  • Medications that interfere with your sleep pattern

Signs common sleep disorders

  • Struggling to stay awake during the day
  • Lack of concentration and focus
  • Performance problems at work or school
  • Being told you look sleepy
  • Memory loss
  • Delayed responses
  • Difficulty ion controlling your emotions
  • Frequent day time napping

Diagnosing sleep disorders

If you suspect that you have any of the issues we have mentioned, it is a good idea to consult your GP, or, even better a sleep expert. There are numerous sleep labs in South Africa that can assist you in identifying what is wrong and also offer some remedies or treatments.

Treatments for sleep disorders

There are several ways to treat sleep disorders. These include –

  • Counselling. Getting to the bottom of your stress causes can help you sleep better at night
  • Medications and supplements. Some may find that a simple supplement or herbal option will help you achieve quality sleep.
  • Create a healthy sleep environment. Making sure that your room is dark, quiet and a good temperature will do wonders for your sleep regime.
  • Get regular exercise. Getting your body active will help your sleep pattern.

There are many ways to identify whether or not you have a sleep disorder. The safest way to go about getting a diagnosis is consulting your GP. While we can suggest certain remedial actions, the final say should be from a professional in this field and your GP can point out the right way forward for you. It could also be that you just need to look at your bed and how suitable it is for your sleep health

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