Private Sleep Disorder Treatment Programs
Have you ever spent an entire night tossing and turning, watching the clock and thinking, “If I go to sleep right now, I can get a good two hours in before I have to get up for work?” If you have, then you know just how terrible that feeling is. Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders, but it is not the only one. Sleep disorders range from irritating, sometimes painful twitching in the legs to the inability to stay awake to snoring and the inability to even breathe. Living with a sleep disorder can do more damage than you might think, as well, as our minds and bodies rely on correct sleep to function properly. There is a wide range of sleep disorders that can adversely affect one’s sleep patterns and overall help.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Restless leg syndrome is an anomaly that affects many people, especially those in their middle age or senior years. There is no known cause for the disorder, but some studies have shown that it could be hereditary. The one thing that physicians do know is that it is irritating and can make people feel miserable. Bouts with the condition can be increased due to stress, but stress does not, in and of itself, cause RLS. The strange urge to walk or consistently move your legs makes sleep difficult, if not impossible.
The symptoms of RLS vary between individuals, but generally you’ll have a creeping, crawling feeling up and down your calves at night. Having symptoms during the day is more rare, but not unheard of, and the odd pulling and aching can occur in the arms, feet and upper legs.
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There is no treatment for RLS as a condition on its own, although sometimes mild sedatives can help, and in some cases, even anti-Parkinson’s disease medications are indicated. It is a good idea to consult a physician if you suffer from the symptoms of RLS to rule out conditions such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes, iron deficiency and Parkinson’s disease because RLS is more likely to appear in people who suffer from these conditions. RLS can also manifest when you are experiencing withdrawal from some drugs, such as sedatives.
*Tips to Relieve RLS Symptoms
While there is no cure for RLS, there are a few lifestyle practices that can reduce or relieve some of the symptoms associated with this disorder. According to the National Institute of Health, you can find relief by:
- Limiting the intake of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine
- Massaging the lower leg
- Taking a hot bath
- Exercising regularly
- Ensuring adequate iron in the blood
- Following a regular sleep routine
You just can’t fall asleep. When you do finally fall asleep, you can’t stay asleep. The sleep you get is not much help because it isn’t restful. It’s almost like your body is afraid it is going to wake up, and instead of resting, it is preparing for the inevitable. Insomnia can be a truly dismal experience.
There are a couple of kinds of insomnia that you should be aware of in order to seek proper treatment for your lack of sleep. The first is known as “secondary” insomnia. This means that something else is causing your sleep problem. It could be a medical condition such as RLS or a new prescription. It can also be caused by substance abuse or withdrawal from substances during the detox and recovery process.
Secondary insomnia can be acute, meaning that it lasts for a few days or weeks, or chronic. Chronic insomnia can last for more than a month. One cause of acute insomnia is an increase in stress. Worrying about work, family or your personal life can bring on an acute attack of insomnia, as can the experience of a traumatic event.
General insomnia is far less understood. While ongoing stress over the course of a long period of time can cause primary insomnia, the exact reasons the condition exists have not yet been determined by the research community at large.
Managing your insomnia can often be done with simple lifestyle changes. Try including power naps during the day to reduce the effects of fatigue, for instance. Adding an exercise regimen can help you sleep more soundly at night while also helping to manage the fatigue during the day through the release of mood-enhancing endorphins. Create a schedule for sleep that includes a firm bedtime, and when you can’t sleep, don’t increase your stress by “trying” to sleep. Get up, stretch, grab a book and enjoy the quiet time. When you feel tired, go back to bed and try again.
Before you decide to add medication to your sleep ritual, including any over-the-counter sleep remedies, be sure to consult your doctor. There may be an underlying reason for your insomnia, and if you are in recovery for substance addiction, it is important to stay away from possibly habit-forming sleep remedies. If you’ve worked to develop healthy lifestyle choices, you don’t want to risk your hard-earned recovery.
Snoring is more than just a distracting noise in the middle of the night. It can be a sign of a more significant health problem – such as sleep apnea – and it can consistently wake you at night, or at least keep you from getting the restful sleep you need to handle the everyday world. Emotionally, it can also make relationships more difficult as the irritating noises we create prevent others from sleeping too.
The sounds we make when we snore come from the vibration of tissues in the back of our throat while we breathe. The air we breathe has trouble passing over the soft palate or the uvula (the dangling piece in the back of our throat), or even the tonsils. These tissues vibrate as the air squeezes past them and we have a symphony of distraction and irritability as a result.
While there is no “reason” for snoring, per se, there are a few indicators that may cause temporary or ongoing bouts with the condition. For instance, if someone is overweight, the palate of the mouth (the roof of the mouth) may be larger than it should be which decreases the space through which the air can travel. A cold or allergies can cause this swelling, as well. If you take sleeping pills, drink or use some types of drugs, your muscles may relax so much that the muscles of the throat don’t work quite right.
*Symptoms of Sleep Disorders
The types of symptoms you may experience will vary depending upon the specific sleep disorder you are experiencing, but the effects are generally the same. The most common sleep disorder symptoms you might experience during the day are:
- Lackluster performance at work or school
The Effects of Lack of Sleep
Besides making us irritable and groggy, a lack of sleep can also cause serious problems. For instance, people who participated in a study to determine the effects of “sleepy” driving on a simulator had the same driving skills as someone who was legally drunk. If you don’t get enough sleep, you are more likely to develop major depression. In fact, there is a belief among some sleep experts that post-partum depression (the baby blues) is, in part, based upon the fact that new mothers get far less sleep than they need. Even your heart depends upon sleep for a much needed relaxation period. It is important that your heart get this break in order for your cardiovascular system to work properly. Solid, restful sleep is important for our problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities and mood. It is especially important in children because the growth hormone is released while they sleep.
Disorders That Put You to Sleep
According to Medline Plus, narcolepsy isn’t actually a sleep disorder. It is a nervous system disorder that is marked by excessive drowsiness and “sleep attacks.” A sleep attack occurs when you fall asleep no matter what you’re doing, including having a lunchtime conversation or even driving a car. This, of course, can lead to injury or even death.
The sleep attacks often last for about 15 minutes, and you wake feeling refreshed, as though you’ve taken a power nap. Cataplexy is another condition that can occur with narcolepsy. When this happens, the body can slump from a lack of muscle tone, and you generally can’t move. If you’re standing, you may fall. The paralysis lasts for as little as half a minute, but can last longer in some cases.
Deadly Sleep Disorders
Some sleep disorders are more than irritating — they can be life threatening. Sleep apnea is related to snoring, although not all people who snore suffer from sleep apnea. Like simple snoring, the cause isn’t completely understood, but the condition is marked by the distracting sounds created due to a lack of adequate space for air to travel during the breathing process. With apnea, there are several times during the night where the space is so constricted that the individual stops breathing altogether.
Often, you won’t notice the failure to breathe. You’ll remain asleep and as the pressure to breathe increases, air is forced through the tight passageway, often resulting in an audible grunt before breathing, and snoring, resumes. If you’ve ever woken yourself because of your snoring, it is possible that you’ve experienced a short period of apnea and the sudden burst of air and noise is what woke you. It is a good idea to ask a family member to monitor your sleep if you have any concerns.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
The main objective for the treatment of sleep apnea is to keep the airway clear of obstructions throughout the sleep cycle. You may be asked to wear a mouthpiece to adjust and control the position of your jaw, for instance. Avoiding alcohol or sleeping pills which can greatly increase relaxation and contribute to the condition might also be in order. If you are overweight, you may be placed on a healthy diet regimen to decrease the extra weight and reopen the airway. Finally, in extreme instances where the failure to breathe has become longer in duration or more frequent, a CPAP device may be brought into play. The CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure device is a machine with a mask that fits over the nose and mouth while you sleep. The machine delivers low pressure air which can help keep the airway open more consistently.
Extreme night terrors and nightmares can be frightening and the most horrifying occur in about three percent of adults, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If the event is a nightmare, you will generally be able to remember the dream, while night terrors are usually lost. The cause of nightmares can range from personal loss or anxiety to side effects of new medications.
Sleepwalking can occur in conjunction with nightmares and night terrors or as a completely independent event. The sleepwalker appears to be awake while performing activities with their eyes wide open. They are, in fact, still fully asleep and can harm themselves by falling or operating equipment, like a car or stovetop.
Another condition, known as REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), is similar to sleepwalking in that the person will act out their dreams. This can be especially concerning for everyone involved because normally we are paralyzed during REM sleep. Our eyes move, but our bodies do not. The person who suffers from RBD is not paralyzed and can thrash about violently.
Sleep paralysis is the opposite extreme to RBD. This condition occurs when you are falling asleep and you can’t move. It can also manifest when you’re waking up and you can’t move. While this condition is not dangerous, it can be quite scary when you experience it. Many times, the paralysis will dissolve after a loud, sudden noise or physical touch. You should be able to move again within a few moments.
Sleep disorders can cause health problems and dangerous circumstances regardless of the type of disorder that is present. Visiting a medical professional and arranging for a sleep study is the best way to control the problems and create a much happier and healthier lifestyle for yourself and your family.
*Long-Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Just being tired is not the only effect of not getting enough sleep. Sleep is necessary for the proper functioning of our bodies, and a lack of sleep can cause:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
If you have any questions about insomnia, restless leg syndrome, snoring or other sleep disorders, contact us today at our toll-free number. We are here 24 hours a day so feel free to call at any time.