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Different types of sleep disorders

Sleep is an essential activity for humans. We need sleep in order for our bodies to recover from our daily activities and in order to run properly, but sleep disorders have become prevalent in our society. When sleep disorders are discussed, usually the first question asked is what is the most common sleep disorder? The most common sleep disorder is insomnia. Keep reading to find out more about insomnia and other sleep disorders.

What is the most common sleep disorder and the treatment for it?

Insomnia is by far the most common sleep disorder. When a person has insomnia, they are unable to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Insomnia can be a short-term problem or a chronic issue.  Short-term insomnia is usually caused by a stressful event that has occurred in your life, such as a death in the family or by a change in your routine, such as a change in your work schedule or jet-lag from traveling.

The most common treatment for insomnia is medication. However, there are a variety of methods besides medications that can be used to treat insomnia. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol are very often culprits of causing insomnia. Avoiding one or both of these will very often correct bouts of insomnia.  Relaxation techniques such as meditation can also be useful for treating insomnia.  The use of tablets, cell phones and televisions can also be disruptive to sleep patterns. Limiting exposure to these types of devices before bedtime can definitely assist in improving insomnia.

What are other types of sleep disorders and treatments?

Even though insomnia is the most common type of sleep disorder, there are several other disorders that many people suffer from. A few of the most common sleep disorders outside of insomnia are:

Sleep Apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your airway repeatedly becomes blocked during sleep and you actually stop breathing. Snoring loudly or choking noises can indicate the possibility that you are suffering from sleep apnea. Each time this happens, your brain is being deprived of oxygen and you wake up, whether you realize it or not. This process might only happen a couple of times per night, or in severe cases, it might happen hundreds of times per night.

Treatments for sleep apnea include wearing a device called a CPAP which provides constant oxygen flow while you sleep and keeps your airways open. Other treatment options for sleep apnea include surgery or positional therapy (sleeping in different positions). Additionally, weight loss can help improve sleep apnea. Being overweight puts extra strain on your breathing and your body and losing weight can be an extremely effective treatment option for sleep apnea.

Narcolepsy: Narcolepsy causes the sufferer to fall asleep no matter where they are or what they are doing. People who suffer from narcolepsy fall asleep uncontrollably, and it can happen regardless of what activity they are taking part in. They might be sitting in a meeting or eating a meal and fall asleep. People with narcolepsy are unable to regulate their sleep-wake cycle and there is literally nothing they can do to stop themselves from falling asleep. 

Narcolepsy is treated with medication and by adhering to a schedule of nap and sleep times.

Restless Legs Syndrome: Restless leg syndrome causes the person to have an uncontrollable urge to move their legs while resting. RLS can cause pain and uncomfortable feelings and sensations such as tingling, aching, or burning. 

Reslless leg syndrome is treated with medication or behavioral cognitive therapies.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder: People suffering from this disorder act out their dreams during sleep because they lack the muscle paralysis that is supposed to occur during sleep. This condition can be particularly dangerous because people who have it might hit, punch or kick during their sleep. 

REM sleep behavior disorder is treated with medication. It's important to seek care for this condition because it is one of the conditions most likely to cause injury to yourself or someone else.

Knowing what is the most common sleep disorder is and what other types of sleep disorders and treatments people suffer from can be essential in helping you get a good night's rest. We hope that we've provided you with information you can use to make sure you are getting the best rest you can!