4 common disorders that steal sleep
Are you having a hard time getting enough zzz's? You may be suffering from a sleep disorder. Check this list of disorders and their symptoms to see if they may apply to you.
Insomnia. Difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, which is caused by everything from job stress to pain. Chronic, or long-term, insomnia may be treated with medications, behavioral techniques to promote regular sleep and by addressing any underlying medical conditions.
Sleep apnea. Apnea means “without breath,” and untreated, it can stop one’s breathing hundreds of times at night. With obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form, soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses, blocking the airway during sleep. This can disrupt sleep and leave you gasping for air.
Restless legs syndrome. Marked by an uncomfortable feeling in the legs, this can prompt kicking or jerking and stall sleep. The cause is typically unknown, but it appears to run in families, can occur during pregnancy, in people with iron deficiencies or those taking certain medications. Although no cure exists, walking can relieve the “creeping” feeling and medications can control symptoms.
Narcolepsy. Characterized by muscle weakness and excessive sleepiness. In some instances, it can cause one to fall asleep at inappropriate times. Experts believe the neurological disorder is caused by the brain’s inability to regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and genetics seems to play a role. There’s no cure, but drugs that stimulate the nervous system and regular naps may help.