disorder is any condition that affects a person's ability to sleep or causes
that person to have fatigue throughout the day. Most people with these
conditions seek treatment after suffering from symptoms for an extended period
of time. While many sleep disorders are habitual or behavioral in nature, there
are medical causes for these conditions which can be treated.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder which causes afflicted individuals to experience
sudden fatigue and "sleep attacks". During these "sleep
attacks", a narcoleptic individual will sleep for a brief period of time
and wake up feeling rested and refreshed. This sleep disorder can be disruptive
as it can affect how a person carries out daily tasks especially if that person
drives or works with heavy machinery.
Bruxism is a condition in which a person while clench his or her jaw while
asleep and begin grinding his or her teeth. The most common cause of this
condition is stress, though other factors can lead to a person grinding teeth
at night. Bruxism, if moderate to severe, can lead to other health complications
including damaged teeth, chronic pain and pain in the ears as a result of the
tension in one's jaw.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person is not able to breathe properly
while asleep. Whether due to an internal obstruction or a signal problem
between the brain and muscles, a person diagnosed with sleep apnea will have
significant gaps between each breath which reduces oxygen levels in the body.
While most cases are mild, moderate to severe cases can lead to health
complications and detrimental effects on the brain.
Sleepwalking, or somnambulism is a sleep disorder in which a person will rise
from bed during the third or fourth stages of the sleep cycle. As these are
lighter periods of sleep, the person diagnosed with somnambulism will often
perform simple tasks and roam about his or her home for a brief period of time.
Though most common in young children, a number of adults have this sleep
disorder throughout their lives.
Sleep paralysis is a condition that affects virtually everyone at least once in
a person's life. As a person wakes from rest, he or she may be immobile for a
brief period of time, whether a few seconds up to a few minutes. This is due to
losing muscle tone during rest, though the person is not harmed and will soon
be able to move. Some people who have sleep paralysis do not notice its effects
due to its brief effects.
Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Shift work sleep disorder is a condition that affects people with rotating or
changing work schedules. By having a changing schedule that does not allow
sleep at a regular time each night, an individual will often experience fatigue
and other symptoms when he or she is supposed to be working. By reducing the amount
of changes in one's schedule and sleeping a regular time, one can rid him or
herself of shift work sleep disorder.
Desynchronosis (Jet Lag)
Jet lag, also known as desynchronosis, is a condition that affects people who
travel to different times zones rapidly and find it difficult to adjust to the
new environment. The person's sleeping and eating patterns are thrown off
causing fatigue and other mild issues. Physicians recommend that people attempt
to eat and sleep as though they reside in the new location to help counteract
the effects of jet lag on the body.
Nocturia is a sleep disorder that causes people to wake up during the night due
to a need to urinate. Unlike enuresis (bed wetting), the person that is
diagnosed with nocturia is awakened by the need to relieve him or herself. This
sleep disorder is common in people who drink a large amount of liquid in the
hours before going to bed. Reducing liquid intake before bedtime or the use of
a diuretic during the day can relieve this sleep disorder.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome
Delayed sleep phase syndrome is a chronic sleep disorder that causes people to sleep at a much later time than desired. People diagnosed with this sleep disorder sleep at the same time every night, but are often fatigued throughout the work or school day due to insufficient rest. There are treatments available for delayed sleep phase syndrome, whether through medication or through behavioral adjustments to sleep at a normal time.