Do you suffer from sleep disorders?
Having trouble getting some sleep at night can be quite frustrating. This form of sleep disorder is usually referred to as insomnia. It is normal to have trouble falling asleep once in a while, but when it becomes a regular occurrence, something must be done about it. Sleep disorder is a condition that affects the ability of an individual to have a normal sleep-wake cycle. When you find it hard to sleep at night, it is usually very difficult to maintain a productive lifestyle during the day. In most cases, you feel lethargic in the morning and little activity renders you exhausted. I know about this first hand as I have been struggling to sleep. It affects my daily life! If this cycle continues, it is bound to take a serious toll on your health, energy, efficiency, mood, and productivity. Sleep disorder is a health issue you should never ignore because it can have adverse effects on every area of your life. Some adverse effects that manifest in people with sleep disorder include weight gain, memory problems, accidents, inability to maintain healthy relationships, and low level of performance at work. This is so true – I recently have begun dozing off while I am trying to work.
Narcolepsy is another form of sleep disorder that exhibits its symptoms through sleep paralysis and hallucinations, excessive sleepiness, and cataplexy (loss of muscle control). It has been estimated that narcolepsy affects 1 in every 2,000 people and it affects both the male and female gender. The symptoms often show up in childhood and sometimes through to adolescence. There are many people that exhibit the symptoms for many years without knowing the cause until they go for proper diagnosis.
People suffering from narcolepsy often feel very sleepy during the day time and sometimes fall asleep involuntarily in the middle of regular day activities. There is a thin line between waking and sleeping in people with narcolepsy. It is normal to see people with narcolepsy experiencing paralysis or hallucination during the day. The cause of narcolepsy is associated with the loss of a chemical reaction in the brain known as hypocretin. The function of hypocretin is to alert the brain to maintain the normal cycle of sleeping and waking. The cell that manufactures hypocretin in people with narcolepsy, however, is not functioning normally. It is either damaged or destroyed. Unfortunately, without this chemical called hypocretin, an individual is bound to experience some form of disorder in the typical sleep-wake cycle.
To diagnose narcolepsy, an individual will need to visit the hospital. A physical examination will be conducted in addition to examining the medical history of the patient. There is currently no cure for this sleep disorder. However, people living with narcolepsy can live normal and productive lives with the help of behavioural treatments and medications like Modafinil. I took Modafinil for a few months and it really did help. It helped me feel a bit more awake, which was very welcomed.
Apart from insomnia and narcolepsy, there are other sleep disorders that many people have to deal with. The other types of sleep disorders are detailed below.
This type of sleep disorder is a condition in which a person stops breathing temporarily in their sleep causing them to wake up frequently in the middle of sleep. Many people with this problem most times do not remember these bouts of awakening. Some common symptoms that characterized this sleep disorder are depression, feel of tiredness during the day, and irritability. Apnea is a life-threatening condition that needs urgent attention.
I’ve got Sleep Apnea too! A few months ago I did a sleep study and the results weren’t good. My doctor subsequently ordered a CPAP machine for me. Although it hasn’t completely solved my Apnea problem, at least it does give me 3 or 4 hours of good sleep a few times a week.
Restless Leg Syndrome
This sleep disorder is characterized by an involuntary urge to move your legs around at night. This urge is usually triggered by uncomfortable, aching, creeping, or tingly sensations.
Yep – I’ve got this too! I have suffered from RLS since I was a child, and it certainly doesn’t help me in the sleep department. Restless Leg Syndrome is a horrible, frustrating condition!
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder
Every human has a biological clock that controls the sleep-wake cycle. This biological clock is also called circadian rhythm and its functioning is regulated by light. When it is night, the circadian rhythms trigger the brain to release melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that causes human to feel sleepy. When it is morning and there is plenty light, it triggers the body to wake up. An individual whose circadian rhythms are distorted will feel sleepy, disoriented and groggy at odd times.
Shift-work sleep disorder
This occurs in people with irregular work shift. There are different timings for jobs in civilized society. There are people who work in the morning shift, night shift, or alternating shifts. When the schedule of your work is out of sync with your biological clock, you are likely to experience this type of sleep disorder.
All these sleep disorders have different levels of severity. There are some that can be managed just by making an adjustment in lifestyles and work schedule. There are some others that require long term dependent on medications like Modafinil and other behavioural treatment to live productive lives.
Medications for Sleep Disorder
There are various kinds of medications for the different types of sleep disorders that have been enumerated above. Some are more effective and safer than the others. Before you treat any sleep disorder, it is important that you visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis. Self-medication can sometimes have adverse effects on the patients. The different types of medications for treating sleep disorders are discussed below.
Sodium Oxybate reduces bouts of fragmented sleep at night. It helps to improve the symptoms associated with EDS, narcolepsy, and cataplexy. Side effects of the medication include headache, nausea, confusion, incontinence, and dizziness. It is highly dangerous to use the medication with alcohol or any other depressant as it increases the risk of respiratory depression. It is important to note that the medication has a high potential of abuse. Therefore, patients must ensure that they stick with the doctor’s prescription and quickly notify the doctor if any adverse effect is experienced.
Also known as Provigil, Modafinil is the first course of treatment for EDS. The dosage for the treatment of narcolepsy is between 200mg and 400mg per day. The drug is known to be safe with minimal side effect. It has approximately 15 hours working span which is very high
when compared to the conventional stimulants. Modafinil has been found to reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. It is therefore important to use another form of contraception during the course of Modafinil treatment. Patients with other health conditions must be properly monitored when using the drug to avoid rare complications like an increase in blood pressure. Other medications for the treatment of sleep disorder include ArModafinil, Amphetamines,and Selegiline.
Do you suffer from sleep disorders? Please leave your story in the comments below.