Alaska Sleep Education Center

Top 8 Sleep Problems Which May Affect Your Health

Posted by Jennifer Hines

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on Apr 26, 2021 6:24:02 AM

Do you get enough sleep

When you sleep, you go through different stages of Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep several times each night. You start with the lightest phase of the NREM cycle until you reach stage four, which is the deepest state. But when you’re often interrupted, you can’t go through these normal sleep stages, and you might feel sleepy, tired, or have trouble maintaining your concentration and attention the next day. 

Although you’ll occasionally have trouble sleeping, experiencing this frequently could be caused by sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. The only way you could have a good night’s sleep again is by dealing with some of the sleep problems affecting your health and by consulting your doctor. 


Common Types Of Sleep Disorders

Identifying common sleep disorders could help diagnose what you’re experiencing and prevent further concerns. Here are some of them:


  1. Circadian Rhythm Disorders

People sleep at night due to the conventions of a typical 9-to-5 workday and the link between our natural sleeping cycle and alertness rhythms. Many people often describe this as a ‘body clock,’ which drives their urge to sleep at a particular time in the evening. 

This ‘clock’ is called the suprachiasmatic nucleus found in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus. This is located at the top of the nerves, which stems from the back of the eyes. Also, this could be reset by exposure to light, regular exercise, and moving your sleep schedule earlier or later. 

The aberrations caused by the body clock are called circadian rhythm disorders. These conditions include:

  • Jet lag
  • Adjustments to your work shift
  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome (triggered when you fall asleep and wake up behind schedule)
  • Advanced sleep phase syndrome (the opposite of delayed sleep phase syndrome) 


  1. Insomnia

People diagnosed with insomnia don’t get enough sleep at night. Also, they could have trouble falling asleep or often get interrupted when sleeping at night or dawn. This sleeping disorder can also affect their daily activities, especially if it’s daytime. 

Insomnia could also be instigated by several factors such as anxiety, stress, depression, improper sleeping habits, circadian rhythm disorders, and taking some prescriptions.


  1. Snoring

A substantial number of adults snorethe noise produced by the air they inhale, which causes the relaxed throat tissues to vibrate. This condition could prevent you from having a good night’s sleep solely by the sound it makes. If you have this condition, you should consult your doctor since it could be caused by a more acute disorder like sleep apnea. 


  1. Sleep Apnea

This sleep disorder is triggered when your upper airway becomes blocked entirely or partly.Lack of sleep leads to other health issues The blockage interrupts your breathing for a few seconds, which then jolts you awake. Sleep apnea can also cause excessive sleepiness during the daytime since you didn’t cycle through all sleep states properly. 

If you don’t consult your doctor to treat this problem, it could develop into severe sleep apnea that’s usually more common with people who have high blood pressure. It could also increase your risk of having a stroke or cardiac arrest. 


  1. Narcolepsy

This sleep disorder is caused by a dysfunction in the brain, which triggers them to feel excessively sleepy during the day. Although it might be caused by genetics, most patients don’t have a family history of the condition. Also, most don’t have dramatic sleep attacks, but this problem has gained the attention of many people since some patients experience uncontrolled episodes. For the most part, people diagnosed with this condition only feel constantly sleepy during the day. 


  1. Restless Legs Syndrome

If you’re diagnosed with restless legs syndrome, you’ll feel discomfort in your legs and feet, which reaches its peak at night. You’d feel an urge to shift your position to gain some reprieve, but these movements are often rhythmic or cyclic and occur when you’re asleep. This condition could delay you from feeling sleepy and can prevent you from slumbering soundly. Also, this is common among middle-aged and older individuals. 


  1. Nightmares

People who experience nightmares could be extremely frightened by it and rouse them from sleep. This often happens during REM sleep, and it could be triggered by anxiety, stress, or substance abuse.


  1. Sleep Walking And Night Terrors

These two conditions often occur during NREM sleep, and it affects children from ages three to five. Most night terrors could be dramatic, which could make most children awaken and scream. But they’re often lost for words when they’re encouraged to explain the cause of their fear. Also, some children experiencing this could remember the frightening image, but they often forget it after. Although it could cause fear, night terrors are often more alarming for the parents. 

On the other hand, sleepwalking enables a person who is asleep to perform a wide range of activities. This could pose a risk since they aren’t conscious, and they might do something dangerous such as going outside the house.


Bonus: Pregnancy Can Also Cause Sleeping Problems

Pregnant women usually experience problems falling asleep and having fatigue during the daytime when they’re in the first and third trimester. At the start of the pregnancy, they could experience having to use the bathroom more often and morning sickness, affecting their sleep. In the late stages of pregnancy, they could feel discomfort and have vivid dreams, preventing them from resting well. 

However, these sleep problems could still hound them after they give birth. Some mothers develop postpartum depression, while some need to stay up late to take care of their baby.


Other Factors That Could Affect Your Sleep

These things could cause sleep problems for most people:

  • Young Age

Babies could sleep up to 16 hours every day, but most of them won’t keep sleeping at night if they’re not fed. This happens for infants four months and below. School-aged children could also sleep for as long as 10 hours a day, but they might experience trouble sleeping when they are sick or have a fever.

  • Old Age

Sleep apnea is more prevalent among the older population. Also, people over the age of 60 could have more trouble having a deep sleep than younger people. 

  • Lifestyle

Drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, or consuming alcohol could cause sleep problems.  

  • Medication

Several drugs can cause restlessness. Some may even cause daytime fatigue. 

  • Depression And Anxiety

People suffering from these conditions often experience insomnia as a symptom.

  • Heart Failure And Lung Problems

Some people have trouble sleeping at night because they can’t breathe when they lay down. This issue could be a symptom of a lung problem or heart failure.


Final Thoughts

Not having enough rest can make you feel tired, exhausted, and unmotivated to do your tasks for the next day. You must know what might cause it, so you’ll be encouraged to see your doctor. By being proactive and seeking treatment at an early stage, you’ll have a better chance of recovering from these disorders. Dealing with these would also prevent you from developing more severe health problems caused by lack of sleep. 

Whatever sleep disorder you may be afflicted with, you can have confidence that our trained and trusted clinicians and staff at Alaska Sleep Clinic will make every effort in helping you get the treatment you need.  Call us today @ 907-770-9104.

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Topics: insomnia, sleep apnea, sleep disorders, nightmares, restless leg syndrome, sleep walking

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