Loud snoring is often a warning of something seriously wrong with your breathing during sleep. This condition is called sleep apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Adequate quantity of sleep appropriate for age is essential for individuals, but the quality of sleep; enjoying undisturbed sleep, is equally important. People suffering from sleep apnea often have non refreshing sleep and feel are excessively sleepy in the day, affecting their productivity. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a temporary interruption of breathing that occurs repeatedly during sleep – this is caused by a narrowing of the airway. Apnea is closely related to hypertension (high blood pressure),diabetes, heart attack and strokes . Getting your sleep apnea treated by a specialist at a sleep clinic has proven to reduce the risks of these life-threatening problems.
This is a condition that most adults have experienced at some point in their lives. Sleeplessness or insomnia affects an estimated 30-50% of the general population and over 10% have chronic insomnia which lasts more than a month, which is brought about by not seeking timely medical help. Insomnia is often a symptom, not a diagnosis as it is the “difficulty to initiate or maintain sleep, or both”, which means its cause can be determined by a sleep specialist. The most common psychological problems include anxiety, stress, and depression. Insomnia affects all age groups, though older adults are more likely to be affected by sleeplessness. Some of the common night time symptoms include inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, waking too early in the morning and/or having difficulty falling asleep after waking. However, it is the daytime symptoms: lack of energy, irritability, frequent napping, daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating and inattentiveness that a patient requires medical attention for. Often insomnia may be an indicator of depression and many people experience it during the acute phases of a mental illness or while being treated for the same.
Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder caused by the brain’s inability to regulate sleep-wake cycles normally. At different times through the day, a person with narcolepsy experiences fleeting urges to sleep – when the urge becomes overwhelming, the person falls asleep for periods lasting from a few seconds to several minutes and in rare cases, some may remain asleep for an hour or longer.Narcoleptic sleep episodes can cause patients to involuntarily fall asleep while at work or at school, during a conversation, playing a sport, eating or most dangerously, when driving an automobile. Additionally, three other major symptoms are also seen frequently: cataplexy or the sudden loss of voluntary muscle tone; vividhallucinations as sleep sets inor upon awakening and brief episodes of total paralysis at the beginning or end of sleep.In addition to daytime drowsiness and involuntary sleep episodes, most patients also experience frequent awakenings during nighttime sleep. Narcolepsy is a debilitating problem and is under recognised. Diagnosis and early treatment can ,make a dramatic change in life of these individuals .
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless Legs Syndrome is a neurological disorder characterised by unpleasant sensations like burning, creeping and tugging-in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to move when at rest.RLS is a sensory and motor abnormality that is believed to have a genetic basis; it occurs in children and adults. Many people who have RLS also have Periodic Leg Movement Syndrome (PLMS) – this occurs during sleep when the legs move involuntarily.
which means “around sleep,” includes sleepwalking, night terrors, bedwetting, and narcolepsy. This state can affect adults and very young children, often causing more harm to the child.Parasomnia comprises a group of acute, undesirable, episodic physical phenomena that occur during sleep, or are exaggerated by sleep. Even though parasomnias occur during different stages of sleep, at different times through the night they are characterised by partial arousals before, during, or after the event. It is presumed, that most parasomnias in people are triggered by stress, and interactions between biological and psychological factors Many childhood sleep disorders are actually types of parasomnia. Somnambulism, night terrors, bedwetting, talking while asleep, and body rocking are much more common in children than they are in adults. Most children outgrow these problems before adolescence. Parents may note an increase in frequency or intensity when their child is ill, under stress, or taking certain medications.
Disoriented Arousals occur in adults but are more commonly seen in infants and children. These arousals may begin with the sleeper yelling or crying and violently moving around in bed; theyseem alert and upset, but resist any attempt to be comforted. It can be very difficult to awaken a person who is experiencing a parasomnia. Disoriented arousals can last anywhere from a few minutes to half-an-hour. After the agitation stops, the sleeper may remain awake for a short time and then return to sleep.
Sleep Walking happens due to the likelihood of complex manoeuvres. While sleep walking the person’s vision seems to remain intact, coordination of the central nervous system is maintained to some extent, but there is a danger of accidental injuries occurring. An episode (typically not more than one a night), can last from minutes to an hour.
Night/Sleep Terrors usually start with a terrifying scream, increased heart and breathing rates, sweating and a frightened expression. They last for one to several minutes, and are different from nightmares. In contrast to nightmares, which are frightening dreams with vivid recall, patients rarely remember specific details of a night terror.Nightmares are parasomnias associated with REM sleep and occur during the middle and last third of sleep, when REM periods are more abundant and intense, thus patients arouse easily and quickly.
Hypnagogic Hallucinations are brief periods of dreaming while between the stages of sleep and consciousness. These dreams can be frightening and can often cause a sudden jerk and arousal just before sleep onset. For example, you may see yourself falling and awaken with a sudden jerk, just before impact.
Sleep paralysis is the sensation of feeling paralysed upon awakening, usually immediately following a dream. This is commonly associated with the loss of muscle tone during dreams, called atony. This loss of muscle tone during the dreaming stage prevents one from acting out his or her dreams. Hypnagogic hallucinations and sleep paralysis can occur together. Although commonly seen in people with narcolepsy, they can also affect others, especially those individuals who are sleep-deprived. While they can be frightening, these events are not physically dangerous and usually last only a few minutes.
Nocturnal seizures occur during sleep and are commonly diagnosed by undergoing an overnight Polysomnogram (PSG) often referred as a Sleep Study . They can cause the sleeper to cry, scream, walk, move about and or curse. These seizures can be treated by medication prescribed by a sleep specialist.
REM Behaviour Disorder
REM Behaviour Disorder is the ability to act out your dreams. The obvious problem with acting out one’s dream (while sleeping) is the potential to cause injury. All body muscles, with the exception of those used in breathing are usually paralysed during REM (dreaming) sleep. In some cases this paralysis is incomplete or absent, thus allowing dreams to be acted out. Behaviour such as this can turn violent and result in serious injuries to the victim and the other person in bed. Upon waking up, the sleeper will usually be able to recall vivid dreaming. This disorder too needs to be treated in a sleep clinic.
Grinding of the Teeth
Grinding of the Teeth during sleep or bruxism is a very common occurrence and little evidence suggests that it is associated with other medical or psychological problems. In some cases, a sleep therapist will advise the use of oral appliances to reduce dental injury.
Rhythmic-Movement Disorder is seen most often in younger children, but it can occur in adults too. The patient’s movements usually consist of recurrent head banging, head rolling and body rocking with humming or moaning too. Other rhythmic disorders include shuttling (rocking back and forth on hands and knees) and folding (raising the torso and knees simultaneously). You will notice that these movements will occur just before sleep begins or during sleep and this condition is not known to have medical or psychological associations. Behavioural treatments may be effective in some cases but a majority of children eventually grow out of it; allow a sleep specialist to advise you better.