What is Sleep Disorder?

Sleep disorder is not a severe mental health condition, but it is associated with several mental problems. When a person is facing a sleep disorder, their ability to sleep well on a regular basis gets affected adversely. This condition is common among adults and teenagers who are having a lot of stress in their personal life.

Sleep disorder affects the overall health and quality of work, by increasing the risk of several mental conditions like depression and anxiety. Day time sleepiness or irregular sleeping affects the wake cycle and productivity. As there are several types of sleep disorders, each is categorized according to the symptoms it shows and how it affects you.

Each sleep disorder affects an individual differently. Some might have natural wake cycles, breathing problems, while others may not be able to sleep at all. Here are some symptoms and types of sleep disorder to help you understand the conditions better:

Symptoms:

  • Feeling sleepy throughout the day
  • Restlessness while doing any chores
  • Irregular sleep and wake cycle
  • Irritation and anxiety
  • Disturbed performance at school and workplace
  • Lack of concentration
  • Problematic breathing pattern
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss

Some common types of sleep disorder:

  • Insomnia: In this condition, the person faces difficulty falling asleep and stays away throughout the day and night even after doing hard work.
  • Sleep Apnea: In this case, an individual will experience abnormal sleep patterns, like difficulty breathing or sudden sweating while in a deep sleep. There are some more subtypes of sleep apnea, depending on the symptoms the person is showing.
  • Narcolepsy: In this condition, an individual will have a strong urge to sleep during the day time. They become more restless and get uncomfortable sensations.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome: Also called RLS or Willis-Ekbom disease, is a type of sleep movement disorder. In this condition, the individual will have a sudden and constant urge to move their body parts, more specifically, legs, while trying to fall asleep.
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder: In this condition, the person will act extremely vivid and might experience sudden vocal sounds leading to violent actions. They also get unpleasant dreams every day, and it gets more challenging for them to sleep peacefully.

Treatment:

A sleep disorder can be diagnosed with both medication and therapy. The doctor or therapist will first take an assessment to know your exact condition, and gather much information about the symptoms. It's important to know the medical history before giving any medication to a person going through a sleep disorder. Hence therapy is considered to be the safest as you won't be asked to take sleeping pills or melatonin supplements.

Here are some effective therapies for sleeping disorders used by therapists:

  • Client-centered Therapy
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Color therapy

Behavioral techniques in CBT for sleep disorder:

CBT therapy or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy are the best therapies used for eliminating negative thoughts and worries that are behind the sleep disorder.

The standard CBT techniques used are Stimulus control therapy, sleep restriction therapy, Relaxation technique, and How to improve sleep environment and hygiene. Sometimes an individual remains passively awake throughout the night because of which they are not able to get sound sleep.

Self-help tips to overcome sleep disorders:

  • Know what you are consuming: Many times an individual suffers from sleeping disorder because of the food they consume. Excessive consumption of alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine can affect the sleep routine. Try eating healthier food and stay away from junk. Good and healthy food will keep your mind and body fit inside out.
  • Do more physical activities: Physical activities or exercising releases chemicals to boost your mood. And when your body gets physically tired, you are more likely to take rest. Your body will doze off, and you will get a sound sleep in the night or the daytime.
  • Reduce anxiety or stress: Look after the stressors and write it down somewhere. Find out what is the major concern behind you not getting sound sleep. You can also take a relaxing bath with soft music to relax your muscles, if you are feeling stressed.
  • Seek help when needed: If all these tips are not able to help you better, then don't ignore it and see your health care professional as soon as you can. Because sleep disorders are often associated with dire mental conditions, be sure to speak up everything to the therapists. If you are having a medical background of any problems, then avoid taking sleeping pills or other related drugs.

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