Young and restless? Middle-aged and sleepless? It’s more common than you think. In North America alone, it’s estimated that upwards of 70 million adults suffer from at least one sleep disorder—that’s a real problem your health can’t afford to ignore.
When you’re not getting the rest you need (and deserve), sleeplessness can take its toll. Sleep disorders impact your functionality, health, moods, and how you interact with family, friends, and co-workers. They limit your focus, worsen your decision-making skills, and they tend to make Mondays feel less lustrous than they already are!
Unfortunately, so many of us don’t even recognize chronic sleep disorders, often leaving them untreated for long periods of time. That’s why it’s so important to identify problematic sleep disorders and do something about them before they start to do something to us! To get you on the path to a healthier, more restful sleep, let’s take a brief look at some of the most common sleep disorders impacting adults.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder for many adults—and one our patients are diagnosed with every day. It occurs when the upper airway is partially or completely obstructed, limiting oxygen to blood cells and the brain. Undiagnosed sleep apnea can lead to dangerous complications such as heart attacks, high blood pressure and severe daytime drowsiness. Additionally, it can disrupt the sleep of others through loud snoring or sudden, frequent awakenings. Because of this, sleep quality can be severely harmed over time if sleep apnea is left untreated.
Sleep apnea is often brought on by excess body weight, smoking, overconsumption of alcohol, and back-sleeping. While lifestyle changes may help reduce the risk of apnea, sometimes treatment is essential for managing more serious cases.
Insomnia is typified by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. This includes waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to fall back asleep, waking up too early in the morning, or feeling unrefreshed from sleep. This, in turn, can contribute to daytime issues such as trouble concentrating, drowsy driving, fatigue and mood problems.
Insomnia varies by person and may be short or long-term. Short-term insomnia may be caused by day-to-day stressors, sicknesses, or factors in the immediate sleep environment, while long-term insomnia may be caused by chronic stress, injuries or mental health issues.
Restless Legs Syndrome
A sleep-related movement disorder, restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by an overwhelming desire to move one’s legs in the evening or at night—and we’re not talking about dancing! In fact, the sensation is often uncomfortable or even painful. RLS is often associated with intense muscle contractions in the calves or feet during sleep, leading to sudden, startling awakenings. The temporary pain can usually be dispelled by walking, moving the legs, or stretching out the specific muscle, at the cost of disrupting your sleep.
Are you experiencing signs or symptoms of any of these common sleep disorders? If you’re struggling with daytime tiredness or interrupted sleep schedules, you may require some lifestyle changes or even treatment. Book a free sleep consultation today so we can help you get back to sleeping better.
We wrote this post with reference to a journal on PubMed Central®. You can read the full journal here.