Forever Yawning: The Facts on Sleep Disorders

Posted Feb 21, 2014 | Posted in Health & Wellness

Are you having trouble falling asleep at night? Do you require caffeinated beverages to stay awake during the day? Do you have difficulty staying awake when sitting still, reading, or watching television? If so you may have a sleep disorder.

Most of us have had trouble sleeping some nights. This is normal and temporary due to stress and other factors. But if your sleep problems start to interfere with your daily activities, you may want to see a doctor about a possible sleep disorder. Some common sleep disorders include:

Sleep Apnea
  • This is a common disorder in which your breathing stops during the night due to a blockage of the airways. Because of these pauses in breathing, you are less likely to wake up feeling rested in the morning. During the day you will be exhausted, irritable, and unable to concentrate.
  • Home treatments can include sleeping on your side, propping your head up 4 to 6 inches, avoiding caffeine and food two hours before bed, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
  • This is a sleep disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move your legs or arms. This will most likely happen when you are resting or lying down. Some symptoms include an uncomfortable, tingly, aching, or creeping sensation.
  • This is when you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Insomnia can cause you to get too little sleep and be exhausted throughout the day.
  • There are two kinds of insomnia: Short-term is common and usually brought on by stress with work, family, or a traumatic event. This insomnia should only last for a few days or weeks. Long-term insomnia is usually a side effect of another problem. Medical conditions, medicines, sleep disorders, and substances can cause insomnia. This could last a month or longer.

Sleep Disorders

Why Is Sleep Important?

Sleep, like diet and exercise, is important for our minds to function normally. While you’re sleeping your body goes to work getting you ready for the next day of events. Your brain starts to prepare you to learn and remember new information. Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. This is why at all ages it is important to get the right amount of sleep your body needs.

  • Infants require about 16 hours a day
  • Teenagers need about 9 hours on average
  • Adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day (Some people may need as few as 5 hours or as many as 10 hours)

Here are some important things to remember when it comes to your bed time:

  1. Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, including weekends.
  2. Set aside enough time for sleep.
  3. Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool and quiet.
  4. Turn off TV and all other devises a few hours before bed. The type of light these screens emit can stimulate your brain, suppress the production of melatonin, and interfere with your internal clock

Think you could benefit from a consultation with one of our sleep experts? Ask your doctor for a referral to the Johnston Health Sleep Lab in Smithfield or Clayton. 


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