Even if you’ve struggled with sleep problems for so long that it seems normal, you can still learn to sleep better. You can start by tracking your symptoms and sleep patterns, and then making healthy changes to your daytime habits and bedtime routine. If self-help doesn’t do the trick, you can turn to sleep specialists who are trained in sleep medicine. Together, you can identify the underlying causes of your sleeping problem and find ways to improve your sleep and quality of life.
In the UK, knowledge of sleep medicine and possibilities for diagnosis and treatment seem to lag. Guardian.co.uk quotes the director of the Imperial College Healthcare Sleep Centre: "One problem is that there has been relatively little training in sleep medicine in this country – certainly there is no structured training for sleep physicians." The Imperial College Healthcare site shows attention to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA) and very few other sleep disorders. Some NHS trusts have specialist clinics for respiratory and/or neurological sleep medicine.
Sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, obstruction of the airway during sleep, causing lack of sufficient deep sleep, often accompanied by snoring. Other forms of sleep apnea are less common. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a medical disorder that is caused by repetitive collapse of the upper airway (back of the throat) during sleep. For the purposes of sleep studies, episodes of full upper airway collapse for at least ten seconds are called apneas
Another systematic review noted 7-16% of young adults suffer from delayed sleep phase disorder. This disorder reaches peak prevalence when people are in their 20s. Between 20 and 26% of adolescents report a sleep onset latency of >30 minutes. Also, 7-36% have difficulty initiating sleep. Asian teens tend to have a higher prevalence of all of these adverse sleep outcomes than their North American and European counterparts.
What to do: Talk to experts about sleeplessness, and you'll be told to practice good "sleep hygiene." What this means is that you need to take your lack of sleep seriously and look at your sleep habits and physical surroundings to see what might be preventing you from sleeping well. Start with your evening habits: What do you do in the hours before bed? Eliminate late-night eating, drinking, and computer use and your chances of falling asleep quickly and sleeping soundly are much greater. Use the last hour before bed to do things that relax you, like taking a warm bath, meditating, or reading.
Apnea means "no airflow." Obstructive sleep apnea was thought to be a disorder primarily of overweight, older men. But abnormal breathing during sleep can affect people of any age, any weight, and either sex. Researchers now know that in many cases of sleep apnea, the obstruction in the airways is only partial. Most people with sleep apnea have a smaller-than-normal inner throat and other subtle bone and soft-tissue differences.
Primary sleep disorders are most common in men and women over the age of 65. About half of the people claim to have some sleep problem at one point. It is most common in the elderly because of multiple factors. Factors include increased medication use, age-related changes in circadian rhythms, environmental and lifestyle changes  and pre diagnosed physiological problems and stress. The risk of developing sleep disorders in the elderly is especially increased for sleep disordered breathing, periodic limb movements, lestless legs syndrome, REM sleep behavior disorders, insomnia and circadian rhythm disturbances.
Recent studies have also linked sleep disturbances, neurogenesis and AD. Indeed, it is now known that neurogenesis exists and that the subgranular zone and the subventricular zone keep on creating new neurons even in an adult brain. These new cells are then incorporated into neuronal circuits and interestingly, the supragranular zone is found in the hippocampus. These new cells will contribute to learning and memory and will play a role in the hippocampal-dependent memory.
Although the exact mechanisms and the causal relationship between sleep disturbances and AD are not yet clear, these findings already provide a better understanding. In addition, they open up ideas for the implementation of treatments to curb the cognitive decline of patients suffering from this disease. In the same way, it also makes it possible to better target at risk population.
The effects of sleep disorders can be so disruptive that you will likely want immediate relief. Unfortunately, long-term cases can take a bit more time to resolve. However, if you stick with your treatment plan and regularly communicate with your doctor, you can eventually find your way to better sleep. You may also want to visit the National Sleep Foundation website for additional resources to share with your doctor.
Interestingly, it has been shown that the sleep-wake cycle acts on the beta-amyloid burden which is a central component found in AD. Indeed, during waking, the production of beta-amyloid protein will be more consistent than during sleep. This is explained by two phenomena. The first is that the metabolic activity will be higher during waking and thus will secrete more beta-amyloid protein. The second is that oxidative stress will also be higher and lead to increased AB production.
Chronic sleep disorders in childhood, which affect some 70% of children with developmental or psychological disorders, are under-reported and under-treated. Sleep-phase disruption is also common among adolescents, whose school schedules are often incompatible with their natural circadian rhythm. Effective treatment begins with careful diagnosis using sleep diaries and perhaps sleep studies. Modifications in sleep hygiene may resolve the problem, but medical treatment is often warranted.
According to one meta-analysis, the mean prevalence rate for North America and Western Europe is estimated to be 14.5±8.0%. Specifically in the United States, the prevalence of restless leg syndrome is estimated to be between 5 and 15.7% when using strict diagnostic criteria. RLS is over 35% more prevalent in American women than their male counterparts.
Sort of a milder cousin of sleep apnea, UARS occurs when some type of resistance slows or blocks air in the nasal passages. The most common causes are mild nasal congestion or a tongue position during sleep that blocks breathing. Because the resistance makes it harder work simply to breathe, your body is half-waking up over and over again during the night, so you don't feel refreshed in the morning.