Sleep disorders are increasingly common in North America and around the world. Some estimates suggest at least 25 percent of the Canadian population has suffered from insomnia at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common sleep disorders.
There are other forms of disordered sleeping as well, including interrupted sleep, conditions that cause poor quality sleep, and even disorders that can cause you to fall asleep at any given time. Each of these disorders presents with its own symptoms, and each has its own treatments.
Insomnia Is the Most Common Sleep Disorder
Insomnia can be an inability to fall asleep, or an inability to stay asleep or get back to sleep. For most people, falling asleep usually takes a few minutes. Insomniacs may stay awake much longer, even if they feel tired.
Insomnia can be caused by stress or anxiety. Meanwhile, it can also cause stress and anxiety. It can also increase feelings of irritability and drowsiness, and it might impair someone’s thinking.
Treating insomnia is rarely straightforward. Some people will be able to practice better sleep hygiene and resolve their symptoms. Others may need more powerful interventions, such as sleeping pills or medical marijuana.
Sleep Apnea and Other Disorders Interrupt Your Sleep
Another class of sleep disorders decreases the quality of your sleep or interrupts it. These include sleep apnea, in which you stop breathing for short periods of time before resuming. Another disorder in this category is restless leg syndrome.
People with sleep apnea or another interruptive disorder may go to bed and sleep for a solid eight hours. When they wake up, however, they don’t feel rested. This is because their sleep cycle is being interrupted.
Treatments for sleep apnea include breathing machines and surgery. For other interruptive disorders, such as restless leg syndrome or disorders where the sleep cycle stages are too long or short, medical cannabis could play a role in treatment.
Narcolepsy Can Make You Fall Asleep
Narcolepsy is another kind of sleep disorder, and it might seem like the complete inverse of insomnia. A person with narcolepsy may fall asleep at almost any time, even if they slept well the night before and even if they don’t feel tired.
Narcolepsy can be very dangerous, as the person may fall asleep without warning, even in the middle of tasks such as driving or walking down stairs. For this reason, people with this disorder are usually treated by a medical practitioner. By contrast, those with insomnia may be able to treat their disorder with over-the-counter solutions or by practicing better sleep hygiene.
Do You Have a Sleep Disorder?
Sleep disorders can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Those with an interruptive disorder may not realize they have a disorder, and they may require outside observation to make a diagnosis. Those who have insomnia are often aware of the disorder, but they may not be sure of its severity.
If you do have a sleep disorder, however, you likely want to better control it. For a disorder like insomnia, you may be able to manage it on your own, without medical intervention or the use of medications.
Those with other disorders may need to seek medical attention from a doctor or another healthcare practitioner. The good news is most sleep disorders can be treated and managed. Better sleep is close at hand.