Is Lack of Quality Sleep Traumatizing your day? Here’s all you need to know

Sleeping troubles are a common occurrence for many of us. Stress, anxiety, frequently changing work shifts, lack of exercise can interfere with the quality of sleep intermittently. If this annoyance becomes a consistent event, it is advisable to investigate whether you are actually hiding a deeper medical condition. Inadequate sleep can be detrimental to your overall well-being and performance. You will often find it hard to maintain the right energy levels, keep your focus unbroken and give your best at work and home.

Symptoms of sleep disorders
You are likely to be suffering from a certain sleep disorder if you experience the following regularly:
  • Sleepiness throughout the day
  • Feeling fatigued without much physical activity
  • Lack of concentration
  • Breathing difficulty while sleeping
  • Irritability for most of the day
  • Inability to memorize
  • Lack of control on your emotions
  • Difficulty in falling asleep
Types of Sleep Disorders

Insomnia: One of the most common sleep disorders, insomnia involves difficulty in falling asleep and resuming sleep after interruption. Other indications include light sleep, sleepiness during the day and stress. This can be the result of a wide variety of causes such as medication side-effects, lack of physical activity, excess caffeine intake and pre-dispositions to other medical conditions.

Sleep Apnea: Common signs entail loud snoring, gasping, awakening due to breathing pauses, feeling fatigued even after sleeping for a long time. This disorder is developed due to the blockage of airway during sleep resulting in breathing pauses. This condition is often taken lightly and not reported to a doctor which leads to incurable aggravation and other severe health problems

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLG): Characterized by discomforting sensations in the legs which cause an overpowering urge to move them when you lie down to sleep, RLG is a neurological disorder caused by a certain kind of chemical imbalance. It can be treated by a few dietary modifications, medicines and exercises.

Narcolepsy: Another neurological disorder, narcolepsy is associated with symptoms such as extreme daytime sleepiness and inevitable sleep attacks during any activity including driving. In some cases, these indications may also be accompanied by hallucinations and sleep paralysis.pic 2 Parasomnias: Classification of sleep disorderswhich include frequent nightmares, sleepwalking, sleep terrors, grinding of teeth, bedwetting, talking during sleep, rhythmic movement disorder, sleep paralysis and a few more.

The importance of early diagnosis and treatment

Several studies suggest that many people with sleep disorders don’t even know if they have it until it gets really worse. Sleep disorders impact your health on the whole, productivity and mental well-being quite significantly. Similar researches on sleep disorders in India have also shown that 30-40% of the working population, especially the ones with stressful professions and industries experience regular sleeping discomfort. According to experts, by 2020, the number of fatalities caused by vehicle accidents will double to 23 lakhs, of which 2.3 lakhs to 3.5 lakhs will result from sleep disorder. Another serious implication of lack of quality sleep is a high probability of the patient being involved in an automobile accident. That’s not all; if not treated early, a sleep disorder may also lead to other serious medical conditions including cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and more.

Diagnosis

If your symptoms persist for more than a few days, you might want to get examined by a doctor. During your visit, you can expect a few questions around your sleeping patterns, lifestyle and profession to start with. If you have a bed partner, then the doctor will be able to capture a greater comprehension about your condition by taking their observations into account. For a more concrete diagnosis, your physician may also advise the following tests:

Sleep Study also known as Polysomnography (PSG): A painless recording aimed at measuring vital activities during sleep such as heart rate, blood pressure and the movement of air in and out of your lungs. This study also monitors the oxygen level in blood, eye movements, muscle movement and brain activity. In many cases, a PSG can be conveniently carried out at home using an easily operated testing device. The results of this test offer ample information for your doctor to determine the disorder that you may be suffering from

Electroencephalogram (EEG): A test designed to sense unusual activity in the brain waves. Helpful for detecting neurological sleep disorders such as narcolepsy

Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT): Conducted for observing daytime sleep, MSLT focuses on factors such as time taken to fall asleep and time taken to reach rapid eye movement (REM) stage. This test also helps in determining whether your case is that of physical exhaustion or a sleep disorder such as excessive daytime sleepiness or narcolepsy

Sleep Diary:In some cases, maintaining an orderly record of your sleeping pattern may help your doctor in narrowing your condition down effectively. A methodical sleep diary will contain information such as duration of sleep, time taken to fall asleep, number of awakenings and the amount of rest felt upon waking up. Besides this, it will also include data of activities during daytime such as the number of times you took a nap, amount of exercise, record of medications you took and your mood for most of the day. All these observations if captured for a few weeks will not only help in diagnosis but also in tracking the outcome of an ongoing treatment

Treatment

Lifestyle Improvement: Quite often, there is a strong connection between a sleep trouble and the lifestyle choices you make. With a few easily manageable modifications, you can improve your symptoms to a great extent. Begin with a moderate exercise plan, a steady sleep schedule and monitor your progress through a sleep diary. Furthermore, ensurebetter sleep hygiene by keeping your room dark and silent, turning off your cell phone and other gadgets and using an eye mask. It is also important to minimize stress and anxiety for enhancing sleep quality.

Sleeping Pills: Mostly recommended for a short use, sleeping pills can be helpful for some mild disorders such as insomnia. But make sure that these are taken only under doctor’s administration. It is always advisable to keep all guidelines and potential side effects in mind before using them.

Continuous Airway Pressure (CPAP):The most reliable solution for treating sleep apnea, CPAP supplies the right amount of air required to keep the airway from collapsing. This device is highly recommended because of its ability to provide immediate symptom improvement. pic 3 For patients suffering from moderate to advanced sleep apnea, a premium CPAP device can provide a tremendous raise in quality of life by improving energy levels, mood and reversing the impact of other diseases associated with sleep apnea.

Oral Appliance Therapy: Usually involves a mouth device designed and fitted by a qualified dentist. Depending on your condition, your doctor will order for an appliance which helps holding the airway open by keeping the tongue or jaw in a favorable position. This treatment is considered to be more effective for moderate sleep apnea.

Surgery: If your condition is not treatable with any other option, then your physician may recommend a surgery that alters a certain area of the airway in order to facilitate uninterrupted breathing. But remember, it can be considered wise only if you have completely exhausted all other possibilities. Also ensure that you understand the risks, potential side-effects and success rate before going for a surgical procedure.

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