Each day, millions of Americans suffer from daytime sleepiness and exhaustion resulting from sleep disorders. If you suffer from frequent wakings in the middle of the night, have a hard time falling asleep, or wake up feeling like you never slept at all, you may need to see a doctor to look into the benefits of a treatment plan.
Sleep Disorders that Impact How You Sleep
Here are a few of the most common sleep disorders in the US, along with some treatment options.
Around half of American adults experience occasional bouts of insomnia, meaning they have trouble falling or staying asleep. Sometimes it’s caused by stress and goes away on its own, but one in 10 people suffer from ongoing insomnia due to psychological or medical conditions. The inability to stay asleep can lead to fatigue, mood swings, concentration, and accidents while driving.
If you suffer from chronic insomnia, meaning at least three nights per week for a month, the National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:
- See your primary doctor for advice on following healthy sleep habits and recommendations for sleep-inducing foods and other natural solutions. It’s very important to consult with your doctor before taking any sleep-inducing medications.
- Refer to a psychotherapist, with guidance from your doctor, if you are suffering from anxiety or depression. Sometimes relaxation training and cognitive behavioral therapy can help train your brain to sleep.
- Consider participating in a sleep study at a local sleep clinic. Sleep specialists can closely examine your results to make suggestions to help you sleep better.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that interrupts breathing throughout the night, leading to excessive sleepiness during the day. This type of disorder can be broken down into two types, leaving the
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep, blocking the airway, leading to gasping for air and snoring. This is what causes a disruption in your sleep cycle. which is very disruptive to the sleep cycle.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain doesn’t tell the body to breathe, causing the person to wake up over and over again.
Your doctor can make recommendations for how you should control your sleep apnea, but most likely starting with lifestyle changes; losing weight helps the excess neck tissue that narrows the airway making it harder to breathe, avoiding alcohol since it relaxes the upper airway breathing muscles, and quitting smoking since it causes swelling in the upper airway. Beyond lifestyle changes, you can:
- Participate in a sleep study which monitors eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate, respiratory effort, airflow, and blood oxygen levels as you sleep.
- If sleep experts determine that you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, they’ll probably recommend you use a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP), a mask that gently blows air into the airway to help keep it open during sleep.
Restless Legs Syndrome
About 10% of adults in the US suffer from restless legs syndrome (RLS), an overwhelming urge to move the legs when they are at rest. RLS is a neurological disorder described as having feelings of burning, creeping, crawling, aching or tugging that usually starts in the lower legs, and can spread to the feet and even to the chest and arms. People with RLS have trouble sleeping because they often want to move their legs to ease the uncomfortable sensations, but the disorder is treatable.
After evaluating your symptoms, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as:
- Limiting caffeine and alcohol intake.
- Addressing vitamin deficiencies which can contribute to symptoms of RLS, and eliminating medications that can make symptoms worse.
- Beginning activities such as walking, stretching, massage and acupressure to reduce the severity of symptoms.
People with narcolepsy experience uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime, which interrupts their sleep cycles at night. Some deal with sudden muscle weakness or sporadic laughter, hallucinations, and may even experience microsleep.
There is no cure for narcolepsy, but a doctor can help improve symptoms with medications and behavioral treatments. You may participate in sleep studies to help diagnose your condition. Because narcolepsy can cause depression, you may benefit from reaching out to a counselor or a narcolepsy support group. Your doctor may also suggest you:
- Stay active throughout the day by getting up from your desk and taking walks, or even working at a standing desk.
- Schedule brief naps to prevent yourself from falling asleep at unideal teams.
- Avoid drugs and caffeine which interfere with sleep.
The Right Mattress Can Help You Stay Asleep Longer
If you suffer from any of these sleep disorders, you could benefit from sleeping in a more comfortable bed. A pressure-relieving, handmade mattress from Beloit may be able to help with your nighttime wakefulness.
Visit a Beloit Mattress location to explore for yourself the benefits of our premium sleep systems, and consult our free Mattress Buying Guide complete with the knowledge and experience from our very own mattress experts.