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.
With over 80 listed sleep disorders, and more that are being researched, it's important for patients suffering from the various types of sleep disorders to seek medical treatment. If you believe that your sleep problems may be caused by a disorder, there are many things you can do to solve your sleep issues from DIY tips and tricks such as practicing better sleep hygiene, to contacting a sleep clinic to schedule an inlab sleep study, or an at home sleep test for certain pre-screened disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that involves excessive, uncontrollable daytime sleepiness. It is caused by a dysfunction of the brain mechanism that controls sleeping and waking. If you have narcolepsy, you may have “sleep attacks” in the middle of talking, working, or even driving. Although no cure yet exists, a combination of treatments can help control symptoms and enable you to enjoy many normal activities.
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.
Narcolepsy is a brain disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness. There is sometimes a genetic component, but most patients have no family history of the problem. Though dramatic and uncontrolled "sleep attacks" have been the best-known feature of narcolepsy, in reality many patients do not have sleep attacks. Instead, they experience constant sleepiness during the day.
If sleeping with a mask on doesn't work for you, other options are surgery; oral appliances; and newer, minimally invasive outpatient surgical treatments. These include the Pillar procedure, which involves using permanent stitches to firm up the soft palate; coblation, which uses radiofrequency to shrink nasal tissues; and even use of a carbon dioxide laser to shrink the tonsils.
Fatigue during the first trimester of pregnancy is likely caused by changing levels of hormones, such as progesterone. Toward the end of pregnancy, some women find it difficult to sleep because of the uncomfortable size of their abdomen. Some women are too excited, anxious, or worried about becoming mothers to sleep well. Other women who are pregnant complain that vivid dreams prevent them from getting restful sleep. Sleep apnea, especially if it's severe and causes your blood oxygen level to drop during sleep, is a risk to the fetus.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Walker, Matthew P.; Jagust, William J.; Winer, Joseph R.; Mander, Bryce A. (2016-08-01). "Sleep: A Novel Mechanistic Pathway, Biomarker, and Treatment Target in the Pathology of Alzheimer's Disease?". Trends in Neurosciences. 39 (8): 552–566. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2016.05.002. ISSN 0166-2236. PMID 27325209.
Delayed sleep phase disorder is a condition where your biological clock is significantly delayed. As a result, you go to sleep and wake up much later than other people. This is more than just a preference for staying up late or being a night owl, but rather a disorder that makes it difficult for you to keep normal hours—to make it to morning classes, get the kids to school on time, or keep a 9-to-5 job.
Now consider noise. If a ticking clock disturbs you, buy one that doesn't tick, or use your phone. Turn clock radios and MP3 players to the wall and cover lighted screens. Lay in supplies of earplugs, eye masks, and anything else that helps screen out light as well as sound. Some people find a fan or white-noise machine is soothing and blocks out street noise. If you don't like wearing earplugs or an eye mask when you fall asleep, keep them on your bedside table in case you wake up later. Many people find they're more sensitive to light and sound in the middle of the night.
Some of the biggest differences between the 2nd and 3rd editions are how the various sleep disorders were divided into categories. The 2005 edition used 3 broad categories to organize all of the sleep disorders under either dysommnias (disorders making getting to sleep or staying asleep difficult), parasomnias (disorders that intrude into the sleep process), and sleep disorders associated with a mental, neurologic, or other medical disorders (disorders whose symptoms are not primary unto themselves but caused by other conditions).
Although we do not know the causual relationship, we know that the more the AD progresses, the more we find sleep disorders. In the same way, the more sleep disorders there are, the more the disease progresses, forming a vicious circle. Taken this into account, sleep disturbances are no longer a symptom of AD and relationship between sleep disturbances and AD is bidirectional.
^ Hirshkowitz, Max (2004). "Chapter 10, Neuropsychiatric Aspects of Sleep and Sleep Disorders (pp 315-340)" (Google Books preview includes entire chapter 10). In Stuart C. Yudofsky; Robert E. Hales (eds.). Essentials of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences (4 ed.). Arlington, Virginia, USA: American Psychiatric Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58562-005-0. ...insomnia is a symptom. It is neither a disease nor a specific condition. (from p. 322)
Recent studies, however, have shown that several factors can interrupt this neurogenesis. These include stress and prolonged sleep deprivation (more than one day). The sleep disturbances encountered in AD could therefore suppress neurogenesis and thus impairing hippocampal functions. This would therefore contribute to diminished memory performances and the progression of AD. And progression of AD would aggravate sleep disturbances. It is a second vicious circle.
Although more research should be done to increase the reliability of this method of treatment, research suggests that music therapy can improve sleep quality in acute and chronic sleep disorders. In one particular study, participants (18 years or older) who had experienced acute or chronic sleep disorders were put in a randomly controlled trial and their sleep efficiency (overall time asleep) was observed. In order to assess sleep quality, researchers used subjective measures (i.e. questionnaires) and objective measures (i.e. polysomnography). The results of the study suggest that music therapy did improve sleep quality in subjects with acute or chronic sleep disorders, however only when tested subjectively. Although these results are not fully conclusive and more research should be conducted, it still provides evidence that music therapy can be an effective treatment for sleep disorders.
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.
What to do: See your dentist for an exam. Bite problems are often a cause of bruxism, and it's a good idea to check for damage to your teeth. It's likely she'll suggest lifestyle changes, such as cutting out alcohol before bed. If you chew gum, stop -- the habitual chewing action can make it more likely you'll grind your teeth at night. Wearing a dental guard or splint at night is usually the next step for bruxism. Your dentist will fit you with a device that prevents your jaw from clenching. Other treatments include Botox injections to the jaw muscle, and a biofeedback device called Grindcare.