COMMON SLEEP PROBLEMS AND SYMPTOMS

The MediLodge Whole Person Wellness program will focus on the topic of SLEEP this month.

INSOMNIA

Insomnia, or sleeplessness, is trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night.  It can be episodic, short-term or even long-term and is often a result of poor sleep or lifestyle habits.  Inconsistent sleep times or work schedules, a poor sleeping environment, lack of exercise as well as diet and medications can all be factors.  Sleep patterns tend to change with age and many people find that aging causes them to have a harder time falling asleep and that they wake up more often.  There are also physical, social and mental health issues that can affect sleep patterns, including anxiety, depression or stress.  The most common symptoms of Insomnia are trouble falling asleep, feeling tired or falling asleep during the day, not feeling refreshed upon waking and waking up several times during the night.  Often, insomnia can get worse just by causing feelings of frustration and anger that only become new factors to the problem.  Many treatments are available from lifestyle and sleep habit changes, called Sleep Hygiene, to medication and even counseling or therapy.   See a doctor if you have insomnia that does not improve.

SLEEP DEPRIVATION

Sleep deprivation, or lack of sleep, is usually a factor of poor sleep hygiene.   If you ever feel sleepy during the day or actually fall asleep, whether at your desk or at a red light, you may have sleep deprivation and are not getting enough sleep.  This problem shares a lot of the same factors and symptoms that insomnia have, but typically is easier to solve by just changing poor sleep hygiene habits.  These include consistent sleep schedules, making your bedroom more sleep friendly and establishing a soothing sleep routine.

SLEEP APNEA

Obstructive sleep apnea , also called OSA, is a chronic disorder. People with OSA stop or “pause” their breathing or have shallow breathing more often than normal when they sleep and may start breathing again with a loud snort or choking sound..  Sleep apnea is very common, affecting people of all ages, but middle-aged and elderly people, along with people who are obese, are more likely to have this condition.  Untreated OSA may cause poor sleep quality, leading to daytime sleepiness, increase the risk of work-related or driving accidents due to sleepiness and increase the risk of serious health problems, including diabetes and even death.  Treatments include using a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP), or a mandibular advancement device (MAD), which is a special fitted mouthpiece.

NARCOLEPSY

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes excessive sleepiness and frequent daytime sleep attacks.  It is a nervous system disorder, not a mental illness, and anxiety is not cause.  Experts believe that it is caused by reduced amounts of a protein called hypocretin, which is made in the brain. What causes the brain to produce less of this protein is unclear.  Narcolepsy tends to run in families.  Conditions that cause insomnia, such as disrupted work schedules, can make narcolepsy worse.  Symptoms may include periods of extreme drowsiness every 3 to 4 hours during the day, dream-like hallucinations during the stage between sleep and wakefulness, the inability to move when you first wake up (sleep paralysis) or a sudden loss of muscle tone while awake, resulting in the inability to move (cataplexy).   There is no known cure for narcolepsy, the goal of treatment being to simply control the symptoms.  Lifestyle adjustments and learning to cope with the emotional and other effects of the disorder may help you function better in work and social activities.

If you suspect you have a sleep disorder, it is important to seek the expert opinion of your physician and/or a sleep specialist, especially if you are considering medication to help you sleep.  Practicing good sleep hygiene, following a healthy diet and getting of plenty of exercise are the fundamentals to developing and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.

The goal of the MediLodge Whole Person Wellness Program is to recognize the unique individuality of everyone.  This approach to wellness is an active process in which each individual is encouraged to make choices towards personal growth in seven dimensions of wellness:  physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, occupational/vocational and financial.  With a whole person wellness approach, the physical needs will not be downplayed, but will be held in equal importance as the dimensions that involve mind and spirit.  In whole person wellness, a high priority is placed on prevention, individual involvement and the responsibility we each have for achieving optimal wellness of body, mind and spirit.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: