Types of Sleep Disorders
Various types of sleep disorders exist. Some of these include Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, Non-24 sleep-wake phase disorder, Circadian rhythm (body clock) disorders, and Obstructive sleep apnea. Each of these disorders affects the quality and quantity of sleep that the human body receives.
Circadian rhythm (body clock) disorders
Symptoms of circadian rhythm (body clock) disorders in sleep include excessive sleepiness during the day and difficulty falling asleep at night. These disorders are often long-term and may lead to medical problems. There are a number of causes of these disorders, including:
The most common causes of irregular sleep-wake cycles are head trauma, neurological diseases, and traumatic brain injury. These disorders can be treated by adjusting your schedule, avoiding stimulants and stimulating activities within an hour of bedtime, and allowing plenty of time for rest and relaxation before attempting to sleep.
These changes in your sleep schedule can also be caused by shift work, working at night, or traveling. People who are forced to work overnight are at a higher risk for these disorders.
For those who are able to adjust their schedule, treatment varies by type of circadian rhythm disorder. Treatment usually includes lifestyle and behavior therapy, which encourages changes in diet and sleep habits that will help improve the quality of your sleep.
One of the most effective ways of shifting your circadian clock is by using a bright light. This is especially true for night shift workers who have trouble adjusting to their new schedule. Some people may experience headaches and nausea from these light boxes.
The International Classification of Sleep Disorders establishes the clinical and research-based criteria for diagnosing these disorders. A panel of experts reviews these criteria and clinical experience before defining the diagnosis.
A number of other diagnostic tests can also be used to diagnose these disorders. These include body temperature, melatonin levels, and wrist activity monitors. In addition, the health care provider can suggest a sleep study. This may be a short overnight or daytime study.
The severity of the disorder and the degree to which it disrupts your daily life will determine the most appropriate treatment. For most patients, a combination of approaches will be most effective.
To learn more about circadian rhythm (body clock) disorders in Sleep, contact Pulmonary Associates of Brandon, Florida. Our sleep specialists will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that is right for you.
Obstructive sleep apnea
During sleep, the airway gets narrowed. This leads to a reduced supply of oxygen and carbon dioxide. This may be caused by irregular breathing patterns.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Symptoms include snoring, frequent awakenings, and high blood pressure. In addition to these symptoms, obstructive sleep apnea can also be a risk factor for heart disease.
If you suffer from OSA, it is important to know the signs so you can get treatment. Your doctor may suggest a test, such as a sleep study. This is a risk-free procedure that will provide your doctor with information about your breathing pattern during sleep. During the sleep study, a trained technician will place sensors on your body and monitor your movements during sleep.
If you have OSA, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan to help keep your airway open during sleep. This treatment plan will likely involve a continuous positive airway pressure machine or a CPAP. Using a CPAP, a mask is attached to a machine that pumps air into the airway to open it.
The treatment will also help alleviate the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, including excessive daytime drowsiness. While the symptoms of sleep apnea are often hard to recognize on your own, the symptoms that are associated with this condition can be very disruptive to your life.
Those with obstructive sleep apnea often have trouble concentrating, have a difficult time falling asleep, and may experience behavior problems. Fortunately, there are many treatments available to help you get relief. Besides a CPAP, some children with mild OSA may benefit from nasal sprays or other medicines.
People with OSA may have a higher risk of hypertension, heart disease, motor vehicle crashes, and diabetes. Taking steps to relieve these symptoms can reduce the risk of these complications and improve your quality of life.
If you are concerned about your sleeping habits, talk to your doctor about obstructive sleep apnea. Having a sleep study can be very helpful in diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you may have an increased risk of choking and snoring. It can also affect your relationships with your bed partner.
Non-24 sleep-wake phase disorder
Known as N24 or non-24-hour sleep-wake phase disorder, this condition causes the timing of your sleep-wake cycle to shift around. This may cause you to have sleep deprivation, fatigue, and other symptoms that are difficult to manage. You may not be able to fall asleep at night or stay awake during the day.
The main symptoms of this disorder are excessive daytime sleepiness, malaise, and memory problems. Some people can sleep on a schedule that is not influenced by their biological clock, while others may experience grogginess on any schedule.
In addition to excessive daytime sleepiness, patients with N24 have a tendency to experience chronic sleep deprivation and personality disorders. This can cause isolation and loneliness. The disorder has also been linked to brain tumors of the hypothalamus and pons.
In extreme cases, an individual’s sleep cycle can last for as long as 28 hours. The average length of the sleep cycle is just over 24 hours.
A person with this disorder has a body temperature that is higher than normal. They also have a heightened energy level when it is time to sleep. This can increase the likelihood of getting up too early in the morning and staying up too late at night.
Typically, this condition affects older adults. However, it can occur in children, teenagers, and even night owls. It can also be triggered by a head injury or radiation treatment.
In some cases, the delay in the clock’s resetting is too great to allow the person to have a normal sleep cycle. In other cases, the person still has a normal circadian clock, but they will have an abnormal cycle. In this case, the body clock will not be able to reset itself. This can result in a prolonged intrinsic period, which amplifies the effects of the disorder.
There is no cure for this disorder, but it can be treated with a variety of methods. Chronotherapy is one of the most common methods used. This method consists of gradually delaying the time at which you wake up and sleep. In extreme cases, it can take as many as eight hours for a person to reset their internal clock.
Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder
REM sleep behavior disorder, also known as REM parasomnia, is a type of sleep disturbance that occurs during the rapid eye movement stage of sleep. It is characterized by abnormal behaviors during the REM phase, and it can be diagnosed using video polysomnography. This condition is commonly associated with hallucinations and may be a precursor to Parkinson’s disease or alpha-synuclein neurodegeneration.
The symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder include nocturnal motor activity, which can range from simple muscular twitches to complex movements, such as kicking or fighting. These behaviors appear purposeful, but they are usually short-lived. Some patients may act out their dreams and harm themselves in the process. These behaviors can be dangerous, especially if the bed partner is awake. Several techniques are available to reduce these behaviors, including alterations in the sleeping environment and oral melatonin.
The main concern for treating patients with REM sleep behavior disorder is preventing sleep-related injury, which can be caused by jumping out of bed or hitting a bed partner. These behavioral events are also common in Parkinson’s disease, alpha-synuclein, and dementia with Lewy bodies. The use of clonazepam, oral melatonin, and changes in sleeping environments can help prevent injuries and treat them if they occur.
During REM sleep, multiple neuronal circuits terminate on the spinal cord motor neurons. These neurons suppress motor activity, and the quiescence of motor activity during REM sleep may facilitate sleep-related memory consolidation.
Because REM sleep is associated with skeletal muscle atonia, the loss of atonia in patients with REM sleep behavior disorder is thought to be due to dysfunction of the subcoeruleus complex in the rostral pons. During REM sleep, several neuronal circuits originate from the pons, and these circuits terminate in the spinal cord. If a patient has rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, the skeletal muscle atonia is lost, which produces paralysis. Paralysis can cause self-injury. The best way to avoid this is to keep a safe sleeping environment.
Studies show that patients with idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder are at increased risk of developing some neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. The prevalence of this disorder is relatively high, and longitudinal studies have shown that it may be an early warning sign for some specific neurodegenerative diseases.
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