Sleep Disorders & Sleep Problems Guide

Sleep. Probably one of the most natural things within our lifestyles, especially considering that on average we spend about a third of our lives sleeping! Meaning we spend a third of our lives more or less completely oblivious to the outside world. Yet, in an increasingly manic world, it is the outside world that has begun to affect our natural sleeping patterns.

Sleep Problems

You do not have to suffer from a sleeping disorder to have trouble sleeping as all kinds of other lifestyle aspects can affect your sleeping. Stress, headaches, pregnancy, age and many more other natural processes can lead to disrupted sleep. Equally, with the right understanding of how these can affect your sleep there is no reason why you should not enjoy a good night’s sleep. Simply by acknowledging and understanding that a certain part of your lifestyle could be affecting your sleep should help you to begin drifting of easily again without having to count fields full of sheep! Remember - an untreated sleep problem could lead to a sleep disorder.

What is a Sleep Disorder?

Progressively more people are complaining of disturbed and restless sleep and with so many guide books, statistics and so forth telling us how many hours sleep we should be getting, the subject of sleeping itself becomes a confusing, stressful topic. At what point does an unnatural sleeping pattern become a sleeping disorder, and with various sleep disorders, how does someone become diagnosed, and what cures are available?

A sleep disorder is broadly seen when an individual has difficulty sleeping for various different reasons. An interrupted night’s sleep becomes an issue for investigation when it occurs on a regular basis and not just for a short period of time. Many people will have heard of more commonly known sleep disorders such as insomnia, but there are many sleep problems that go unheard of and can seriously affect our health, such as and Narcolepsy and Sleep Apnoea. Perhaps most surprisingly of all is snoring; it is a social joke, “Dave snores and you’d think the house was going to fall down!” However, like all sleeping disorders, snoring can become a health affecting issue. If you are a sufferer from reoccurring disturbed night’s of sleep, it is essential that you identify your symptoms to establish whether you are suffering from a disturbed night’s sleep that can be solved through simple solutions (read Factors Affecting Sleeping Patterns), or whether the problem is more serious and in-depth, needing medical advice. Whatever the symptoms and diagnosis, there is likely to be help available.

Many people, after a disturbed night’s sleep, carry on their day-to-day tasks quite unaware of the affects that fatigue can have on these seemingly normal routines. Someone who has not had enough sleep may notice a lowering in their health, often feeling groggy and dazed. However, more importantly, lack of sleep can seriously affect our concentration levels and someone who is sleep-deprived may begin to make mistakes in concentration based tasks such as work, or more worryingly, at the wheel of their car. A fifth of traffic accidents are reported to have been caused by fatigue. Equally, with around 10% of Britons reported as suffering from insomnia, the effect of these sleeping disorders is alarmingly clear.

Primary & Secondary Sleeping Disorders

Sleeping disorders are divided into two types; Primary and Secondary. A Primary Sleep Disorder is the central cause of a sleep disorder. It occurs when you either experience a difficulty in sleeping (e.g. lack of sleep and disturbed sleep), or experience a change in your behaviour whilst sleeping (e.g. sleep-talking or snoring). A Secondary Sleep Disorder occurs when another disease of the mind or body causes the disturbed sleep, e.g. depression which can cause disrupted sleep. It is important to distinguish between the two as they are significantly different, but can be easily confused as each other. For example, depression could cause a sleep disorder, or be the result of a Primary Sleep Disorder.     

Regardless of the kind of sleep disorder, and whether it can be solved through natural changes or medical changes, it is important to obtain advice, be it medical or self-help. Sleep disorders are increasingly common, with roughly a quarter of the UK population suffering from some form of sleep disorder resulting in excessive tiredness. Don’t become a statistic and let your sleep disorder affect you and your life. This guide will take you step-by-step through what a good night’s sleep should achieve, what remedies and cures there are for disturbed sleeping patterns, and what it is that could be causing your sleep disorder. Most sleep disorders are easily treated, yet many go undetected as most sufferers put their lack of sleep down to their hectic lifestyles, wrongly assuming that they will catch up on their sleep at some point. Sleep should not be something we dread at the end of the day, rather a time to lie back, snuggle up and unwind.

Importance of Sleep »