6 Sleeping Disorders To Watch Out For - [And Find Out Self Help Remedies]

How hard is it to getting a good night’s sleep? It seems very easy, but for some people this is a great challenge. Sleeping disorders might be the reason that one would wake up after a night’s sleep and still would feel tired and lack energy.

When you do not get enough hours of sleep you cannot do daily tasks properly. By skipping sleep, you might experience a physical and mental breakdown. As each one’s body functioning is different, most adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep to be at optimum. It is very important to know the amount of sleep one requires so that the body can function normally.

In this article, we shall discuss in detail the types of sleep disorders, symptoms, causes and also the self-help remedies that can aid in overcoming this disorder.

What Is A Sleep Disorder?

That state that affects your capability to have a sufficient sleep is what referred to as a sleep disorder. Experiencing sleeping troubles every single night can be devastating and even annoying. Here are the symptoms of sleep disorder:

- waking up often in the middle of the night

- having difficulty to get to sleep

- waking up feeling exhausted and lack energy

Effects of sleep disorder:

  • Feeling fatigued, unmotivated, and even lethargic during the day
  • Start experiencing premature aging of the skin
  • ​Unable to manage stress and control emotions
  • Become moody and irritable which increases the risk of depression
  • ​Lowers creativity and are unable to solve problems and make rational decisions
  • ​Low concentration when learning or listening to a conversation due to impairment in the brain
  • ​Experiencing memory problems
  • The immune system becomes weak, and starts having regular colds and infections
  • Putting on weight (reduced levels of the chemical, leptin, that makes you feel full and increased levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone, ghrelin.)​
  • ​Lowers the coordination of motor skills and increase risks of getting involved in accidents
  • Becoming at risk of serious health issues such as Alzheimer's disease, heart diseases, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancer
  • ​Needing to take a nap to help you get through the day
  • Having trouble waking up in the morning

What Sleeping Disorders Need To Watch Out For?

1. Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can be brought about by a health condition, jet lag, stress, amount of intake of coffee and other type of medication (antidepressants, epilepsy, and steroid medicines).

It can also be as a result of mood issues (depression and nervousness).

Occasional insomnia come and go for a few days, but when it lasts for months to years then it can cause serious health problems.

Relaxing, reviewing your daily habits and having better sleep hygiene can aid in curing many insomnia cases.

2. Sleep Apnea

It is a very common sleep disorder that can be treated. It causes your breathing to stop for short periods, waking you up regularly.

People with sleep apnea do not remember waking up. They only feel fatigued, stressed and can be irritable at daytime.

If left untreated, the brain and parts of the body might be lacking oxygen while sleep and can cause serious health problems. You should consult a doctor immediately, as there are treatments for sleep apnea that are proven effective. 

3. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

RLS causes an overpowering urge to move your feet and sometimes hands at nighttime. That urge to be in motion happens when you are sleeping, and it is mostly caused by painful, sensitive, itchy or strange sensations.

Low levels of iron in the brain and imbalance of dopamine are some of the causes of RLS considered by experts.

4. Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy entails excessive sleepiness during the day that cannot be controlled. Its cause is a brain dysfunction mechanism that is in charge of sleeping and waking.

If you are suffering from Narcolepsy, you may be “attacked” by sleep while at work, talking and even while driving.

Though there is no found cure, best to consult the doctor to aid in controlling the symptoms.

5. Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

The internal biological clock that controls the sleeping and waking cycle is referred to as circadian rhythms. The key factor that manipulates circadian rhythms is sunlight.

During the night when the light is minimal, the brain prompts the production of melatonin hormone that causes sleep. And when the sun rises the brain sends a message to the body saying it is waking up time.

The moment the circadian rhythms are interrupted this will make you feel confused and sleepy at awkward times.

Below are some of the Circadian rhythm sleep disorders which are quite common:

A. Shift work sleep disorder

This sleep disorder happens when your biological clock and work program are adjusted. In some jobs, people are required to work night shifts, and others even have rotational shifts. These work plans compel you to work on times that your body wants to sleep.

Some adjust to the work shift comfortably while others experience problems for lack of quality sleep. Due to being deprived of sleep your productivity goes down and you are at risk of getting injuries.

The solution could be to take breaks frequently, have healthy meals and do more exercise.

B. Delayed sleep phase disorder

When your biological clock is delayed for three to six hours, you tend to go to bed and rise later than others. Not only does this disorder make you a night owl, it also makes it hard for you to maintain normal hours of sleep.

Delayed sleep phase disorder is mostly experienced by teens. The light therapy, wherein different light strengths are used during daytime and nighttime, is available for those with this disorder. You can see your doctor to learn more.

6. Jet Lag

Jet lag is a temporary interruption that only happens when you are traveling to different time zones.

Its symptoms are headache, exhaustion, sleepiness during the day, difficulty sleeping at nighttime, and stomach upsets. The symptoms become more intense according to how long the flight takes, and also flying to the east result to worse jet lag than when you are flying west.

The jet lag is supposed to be gone in three days after the flight.

To overcome the above sleep disorders the first thing you should do is drink plenty of water during and after flight. It is best to also follow the time schedule of the location you will be going to.

Self-Help For Sleep Disorders

Use these following tips to have a good night’s sleep:

1. Stick to a regular sleep schedule

Despite your sleep issues, scheduling the same sleeping and waking up time gives the body a rhythm to follow and get used to. Prepare yourself to wind down and relax by listening to relaxing music, or reading a book before sleeping time.

2. Exercise regularly

Target at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday. The drop of body temperature after the exercise triggers sleepiness. Some people find that a strenuous workout before sleeping helps, although it depends for each person.

3. Avoid taking naps during the day

Taking a nap during the day can result to sleep difficulties during the night. And if you must take a nap make it before 3pm and not for more than 30 minutes.

4. Reduce caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine intake

Avoid drinks containing caffeine for a minimum of 8 hours prior to bedtime. Similar to caffeine, nicotine is also a stimulant. Even if alcohol makes you sleepy, it also disrupts the quality of sleep and can aggravate the symptoms of sleep disorders.

5. Keep off late meals

Keep off late meals from 2 hours to bedtime because some foods require a lot of work to be digested. Spicy foods can lead to heartburn, which aggravates when lying down.

6. Manage your stress

A pen and paper to write down your worries, and all other issues looming in your mind can help relieve the mind to relax better. Do yoga or tai chi to lessen stress and anxiety.

7. Create a relaxing bedtime environment

It is very hard to sleep on an uncomfortable bed, or to a bedroom that's too bright, noisy, or too hot or too cold. Use heavy curtains, or sleep masks over the eyes to block the outside lights. Have a specialized pillow that would cater to your style of sleeping, if you are a back or side sleeper. 

A sound machine, like the Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine, creates a soothing sound that effectively block noises of different frequencies. The simple Mack’s silicone putty for the ears might also do the trick for outside noise.

8. Use natural remedies

Certain natural products help with making you sleepy. These are some of Tim Ferris’ recommendation from his book, Tools of Titans:

- Put a few drops of California poppy extract in warm water and drink

- Two Tbsps. of Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with 1 Tbsp. of honey, in 1 cup of hot water, and drink

When To Call A Doctor

When you have attempted all the above self-help remedies, and still you do not succeed, it is now time to get an appointment with a specialist or get the family doctor to refer you to a clinic where you can get help. Get medical attention if you have these symptoms:

  • You get “sleep attacks” while you are talking, driving, walking or working
  • Your primary problem is sleepy during the day, and no self-help remedy has helped improve the symptoms
  • ​If you experience choking and gasping while asleep

Give your specialist as much information as you can, this includes even producing your own sleep diary.

The most important is to find the cause of the sleeping disorder to lessen and then prevent it from happening again.