10 Tips for Understanding Sleep-Wake Disorders
If you are having problems with the quality, amount and timing of your sleep, then you are most likely suffering from a certain sleep-wake disorder. These can impact on one’s productivity during the daytime. Sleep-wake disorders are brought about when the body’s internal clock, doesn’t work properly or when it is out of sync with one’s surrounding environment. These disorders afflict a sizeable number of the world’s population, with the rise of sleep therapists in recent times, as has been covered comprehensively on frontlineer.com, showing just how common these disorders have become. This article will look to take a closer look at these disorders by highlighting some tips that should enable us understand them better.
In order to understand more on these sleep-wake disorders, we should delve a bit into the sleep cycle. It is understood that when one is sleeping normally, they circle through REM and four stages of non-REM sleep a number of times during the night with stage one of non-REM being the lightest and stage 4 the deepest. Sleep-wake disorders interrupt and make it difficult to be able to cycle normally through these sleep stages.
Another thing we need to take a look at when looking to understand sleep-wake disorders is the circadian system. This is the body’s internal timing system that is responsible for regulating daily behavior and bodily functions through cycles known as circadian rhythms, which repeat approximately every 24 hours. This system should be normally in sync with the external environment, allowing one to sleep at night and stay awake during the day. If it is out of sync, then sleep-wake disorders ensue.
The next thing we are going to highlight are the types of sleep-wake disorders caused by disorders in the circadian rhythm as discussed above, with more on the same to be found on frontlineer.com. They include jet lag, delayed sleep phase syndrome where one falls asleep and wakes up too late, advanced sleep phase syndrome where one falls asleep and wakes up too early as well as adjustments to shift work. Others include non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder as well as irregular sleep-wake rhythm disorder.
Another tip to understanding these sleep-wake disorders involves highlighting some of the common sleep disorders there are out there. These include insomnia, the most common sleep disorder whereby people with it feel like they don’t get enough sleep at night, snoring, sleep apnea which is whereby the upper airway becomes partially or even completely blocked, causing one to wake up as it leads to an interruption of regular breathing. Others include narcolepsy which is a brain disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and restless legs syndrome.
When looking to understand sleep-wake disorders, we can’t fail to highlight the impact of pregnancy when it comes to the same. This is because, especially in the first and third trimesters of their pregnancy, women experience daytime fatigue and sleepless nights. Later on in the pregnancy, as due date approaches, they may experience vivid dreams which coupled with general discomfort may make it hard to have deep sleep. Pregnancy clearly plays a part in sleep-wake disorders.
Another tip we have to highlight when it comes to understanding of sleep-wake disorders is the impact of nightmares, as per frontlineer.com. These frightening dreams occur during REM sleep and may lead to sleep-wake disorders. Night terrors and sleepwalking occur during Non-REM sleep and also affect the sleep cycle. The latter two occur often in children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old.
The next tip we are going to highlight has to do with the causes of these sleep-wake disorders. Some like insomnia may be caused by stress, anxiety or taking too much of caffeinated drinks, while others like sleep apnea are as a result of blocked airways as mentioned previously. An irregular or untraditional working schedule, such as working nights and sleeping during the day may also lead to sleep-wake disorders among other causes.
Wish should also highlight some factors that impact on sleep as they also play an important role as far as sleep-wake disorders are concerned. This include age with young children sleeping for long, up to 16 hours, and old folks not sleeping deeply, mostly due to sleep apnea. Other factors include lifestyle such as drinking of alcohol, depression, health issues such as lung failure as well as side effects from medication.
Let as now look at the diagnosis of these sleep-wake disorders. As per the experts over at frontlineer.com, diagnosis depends mostly on the type of disorder as well as the timing and setting in which they occur. Most doctors make use of a sleep diary as well as a motion sensor worn for up to 14 days in diagnosis. These motion sensors, worn on the wrist, help track one’s sleep and activity patterns throughout the day. This is known as actigraphy.
Finally, we are going to look at treatment when it comes to these sleep-wake disorders. Just as diagnosis, treatment is dependent on the type of the sleep-wake disorder. Some of the techniques involve following of a sleep schedule as well as timed exposure to light. Melatonin supplements may also be prescribed. Given melatonin is the hormone in the body that regulates the sleep-wake cycles, taking these supplements will help in aligning one’s circadian cycle with the outside environment if it is out of sync. Medication may also be prescribed depending on whether the need is to maintain wakefulness or facilitate sleep.
The foregoing discussion should help majorly when it comes to understanding of sleep-wake disorders, with more on this and other topics to be found on frontlineer.com.