Over 75% of adult Americans have difficulty sleeping regularly. Today more than ever we are constantly bombarded with fast-paced work schedules, family stress, and always-accessible technology. When you take into consideration the amount of distractions and aggravations we’re prone to in our daily lives, it’s no wonder why so many people have sleeping problems.
A sleep disorder is a collection of conditions characterized by arduous symptoms that are often chronic and disruptive to typical daily life. Disruptions can be slight to debilitating and, if left untreated, have the potential to contribute to more serious health problems.
There are multiple symptoms that may point to a sleep disorder. Keep in mind, just because you are experiencing one of these does not necessarily mean you have one, however these are some key symptoms to look out for:
- Trouble falling asleep
- Inability to stay asleep
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
Types of Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders can be caused by anything from existing health problems to environmental stressors. Allergies and respiratory infections have been known to cause the blockage of important airways that are necessary for a good night’s sleep. One such disorder is Sleep Apnea. Individuals with this disorder are often not aware they have it, and are informed by a family member or significant other.
Sleep Apnea is characterized by inconstant breathing periods followed by loud snoring or snorting. Treatment includes breathing machines, surgery, or certain lifestyle changes. If left untreated, Sleep Apnea can lead to heart failure or stroke.
Additionally, chronic pain such as migraines, back pain, arthritis, or fibromyalgia can make it near-impossible to fall asleep. Sleeping problems like insomnia develop in those suffering from chronic pain and/or stress and is characterized by trouble falling asleep and the inability to stay asleep. This leads to a depressed and irritable mood during the day and constant daytime fatigue.
As you can imagine, this only creates an extremely unpleasant and difficult life for those going to school, working stressful jobs, or individuals with other physical or mental disorders. Half of American adults experience insomnia either intermittently or chronically at some point in their life.
Monitor Your Sleep
If you think you may have a sleeping disorder or you are having difficulty falling asleep, it may be wise to start monitoring your sleeping habits to look for inconsistencies. Keep a sleep diary of the times of night you wake up or are experiencing physical disruptions like snoring, headaches, or jerking of the limbs. Keeping a sleep diary on your nightstand allows you to actively track and record your habits as they occur, which you can than bring to your doctor to help properly diagnose your condition.
A more thorough option of sleep study is a polysomnogram, or PSG. PSGs are typically performed as an overnight stay in a sleep laboratory and are completely painless. Different electrodes monitor your brain activity, heart rate, and airflow to paint a more accurate picture of where your sleeping problems lie. This sleep observation can be monumental in helping understand sleep disorders.
Your sleep is one of the most important processes of your life. Memory storage, mental processing, and vital rest all take place during those precious night hours. For this reason, it’s important to clearly understand and define any difficulties you may be having with your sleep. It is only then that you can move forward with a correct diagnosis and treatment plan to get you back to bed.
Try to maintain some of these easy-to-implement sleeping habits to ease your mind before bed:
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the hours leading up to bed
- Keep your room at a cool, comfortable temperature
- Relax before you go to sleep
- Maintain a consistent routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day
- Keep your bedroom dark and quiet
- If you can’t sleep, don’t force it. Do something low-energy and relaxing until you can
Don’t suffer with sleepless nights. Sometimes poor quality sleep may be due to sleeping disorders that need to be detected and treated. Let Dr. Mayank Shukla help you improve your sleep quality by detecting your sleeping disorder. Visit his New York Sleep Center today.