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Sleep Disorders

By emmacharrison Apr 07, 2013 865 Words
“Understanding Sleep Problems”
More then half of American’s experience a sleep problem at some time in their life. Weather it is stress-induced insomnia, poor sleep hygiene, or a poor environment. The most common form of sleeping problem would be insomnia. Insomnia is the inability of a person to fall asleep, stay asleep, or fall back asleep upon waking. People that have insomnia often complain about impairments of attention, memory, ability to work and function. Insomnia can also affect one’s mood and cause anxiety. Insomnia can last anywhere from 2-3 weeks (short-term) to long periods of time (chronic). There are several physical, social, and mental health issues that can effect sleep patterns and cause insomnia including, but not limited to: anxiety disorders, medical conditions, depression, stress, bipolar disorders, restless leg syndrome, etc. Sleep habits and hygiene can help reduce our susceptibility to sleep insomnia. Going to bed at different times, napping, poor sleep environment, working night shifts, lack of exercise, etc. are all factors that can cause insomnia. As far as treatment and signs of this disorder go, sleep studies can be conducted to look at your symptoms, which include restlessness, waking during the night and trouble falling asleep Treatment often begins by looking at ones lifestyle and seeing how it can change. This can be a long process. Patients often want a “quick fix” and begin taking prescriptions. Some medications can cause memory problems over time and can cause withdrawal after one quits taking the drug. Many modern drugs, however, have been proven to be safe and efficient in fixing this problem.

“Sleep Apnea”
Sleep apnea is defined as a brief interruption of breathing during sleep. The throat being sucked close because the muscles are so relaxed during sleep can cause these interruptions (obstructive sleep apnea). The breathless spells can last for 10-20 seconds up to a minute, which then wakes up the person briefly so they can catch their breath. Often times, patients stop breathing 5 to 30 times or more in an hour. This problem is normally a chronic condition. This results in poor sleep quality that makes you tired during the day. Often, sleep apnea goes undiagnosed. Because people cannot hear themselves snoring or breathing, the condition can go unnoticed. To be diagnosed, one must go into a sleep center where they are then viewed during their sleep. If untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, etc. While sleep apnea may cause snoring, it can be unrelated. Sleep apnea is also weight related. According to the video, there are sever treatments of sleep apnea. Nasal CPAP machines blow pressurized air into the back of the throat so that it cannot collapse on itself. Some surgical solutions are trimming the soft palate for reducing snoring, surgery to the jaw and throat, or even antidepressants. All of these (except the antidepressant) create more room in the mouth, which reduces the ability to stop breathing during the night. As quoted in the video, “there are several treatments for apnea but the sure is weight loss.”

“What is narcolepsy?”
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes excessive sleepiness and often can cause daytime sleep stacks. While there is no direct cause, it is believed to be a nervous system disorder. Experts believe that it is caused by a reduction in the amount of hypocretin produced. It is also believed to be genetic. Disruptions in environment or even trauma to the head can increase your likeliness of narcolepsy. Often times, people with narcolepsy have vivid dreams or hallucinations. A person with this disorder may also feel paralyzed while sleeping or just waking up. When expressing strong emotions such as laughter, a person with this disorder experiences loss of muscle tone. Narcolepsy can prevent people from being able to work, drive, or participate in normal activities. Drugs can be prescribed to patients but are likely to cause addictions. For those with this disorder, naps and a sleep schedule are high suggested.

Night Terrors
Night terrors are a common sleep problem among children. It is most common in children between ages 2. Children who have night terrors are usually described as bolting upright with their eyes wide open, with a look of fear and panic on their faces. These reactions can also be accompanied by a blood-curling scream. These children will usually be sweating, breathing fast, and have a rapid heart rate. Although is may seem that they are awake, the children will appear confused and will not recognize you. Typically, terrors last about 5 to 30 minutes after which children return to their normal sleep. The diagnosis of night terrors is children waking in the night screaming and being inconsolable. Often times, night terrors are confused with nightmares. There is no treatment for routine night terrors. Children who are overtired often trigger them. Sleep medication can be used for a short time. Unlike nightmares, night terrors occur in stage 4 sleep which means that they occur during deep sleep. A child having a nightmare can be easily woken and comforted while a child with night terrors are inconsolable and may be confused.

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