The list of sleep disorders is long—some may not even realize they have a sleeping disorder until further medical investigation. But just to narrow it down, here are some of the most common sleep disorders according to DiscoveryHealth.com.
• Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder: In delayed sleep phase disorder, a person wakes up later than required for everyday activities such as work and school. Once the person falls asleep, he or she enjoys a restful and uninterrupted sleep. However, waking up at an acceptable time—even with an alarm clock, is difficult. How many of you have had mornings like this?
• Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder: Advanced sleep phase disorder is the condition in which a person’s biological clock shifts to early hours. For example, a person might fall asleep at 9 p.m. and wake up between 3 and 5 a.m. and cannot return to sleep.
• Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Syndrome: With this syndrome, a person’s biological clock is 25 hours or longer. This means the person’s sleep and wake times are continually getting later.
• Jet Lag: You may not think that jet lag is necessarily a disorder, but it is and it affects most travelers over 50 and under 30. Jet lag is a disruption in sleep patterns following travel across time zones.
• Shift Work: Shift work is the constant changing of sleep patterns among day, evening and night shifts. This has been linked to gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disease, increases in alcohol and tranquilizer use, and chronic sleep disorders.
• Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea is the temporary cessation of breathing due to blockage of upper airways during sleep—otherwise known as loud snoring.
• Narcolepsy: That extreme sleepiness throughout the day is caused by a dysfunction of the brain mechanisms controlling sleeping and waking.
• Restless Leg Syndrome: Those with Restless Leg Syndrome experience aching, itching, tingling and burning in the lower leg as they are trying to fall asleep.
• Sleepwalking: The condition, which is most common in children, occurs during the deepest levels of sleep usually around the first three hours. The sleepwalker usually has no recollection of sleepwalking in the morning.
Are sleepy teens lazy? What’s the best way to fall asleep? You might be surprised by the answers. The National Sleep Foundation has gathered a list of common sleep myths and the facts that disprove them, here are just a few. You can find more sleep facts at sleepfoundation.org.
Myth: You can “cheat” on the amount of sleep you get.
Fact: When you don’t get adequate sleep, you accumulate a sleep debt that can be difficult to “pay back,” meaning that you can’t miss sleep one night and double the amount of hours you sleep the next. Sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity and safety issues at home, on the job and on the road.
Myth: Teens who fall asleep in class have a bad habit and/or are lazy.
Fact: A teenager’s internal biological clock keeps them awake later in the evening and sleeping in later in the morning. But, many schools begin classes early in the morning. As a result, they come to school too sleepy to learn. Teachers: let your kids sleep through first period—just kidding.
Myth: Snoring is a common problem, especially among men, but it isn’t harmful.
Fact: The myth has some truth. Snoring may be harmless for most people, but it can be a symptom of a life threatening sleep disorder called sleep apnea, which are the pauses in breathing that prevent air from flowing into or out of a sleeping person’s airway.
Myth: If you wake up in the middle of the night, it is best to lie in bed, count sheep, or toss and turn until you eventually fall back asleep.
Fact: Waking up in the middle of the night without being able to fall back asleep is a symptom of insomnia. Relaxing imagery or thoughts might help, but most experts agree that if you do not fall back asleep within 15-20 minutes, you should get out of bed, go to another room and do something relaxing such as listening to music or reading. Return to bed when sleepy and avoid watching the clock.