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Sleep Disorders


Lack of sufficient sleep leads to sleep disorders and thus directly affects the person’s efficiency and productivity. In case of inadequate sleep the person feels fatigued all the time, and may even fall asleep during working hours. An inordinately long afternoon nap may also cause sleeping disorders, which, if the person continues over a long period of time, may lead to insomnia and cause depression.

Many common symptoms may suggest the presence of a sleep disorder. Some of these symptoms, such as fatigue, may also occur with other medical disorders. Every sleep disorder may have different symptoms associated with it.

Symptoms associated with sleep disorders
It is thought that snoring may indicate a sleep disorder, but it is not always the case. However, loud snoring accompanied by other symptoms may indicate the presence of called sleep apnea (a temporary suspension of breathing). Other symptoms that indicate a sleep related disorder are:

  • Gasping or snorting while sleeping
  • Sleeping bouts during the day
  • Not feeling fresh after waking up
  • Trouble in concentrating
  • Depression
  • Morning headaches
  • Waking up with a dry mouth and throat
  • Laziness
  • Restless sleep
  • Swelling in the legs

When a person is unable to get sufficient sleep and the problem has continued for a lengthy period of time ultimately affecting his/her daily routine it is called insomnia. Insomnia is itself a symptom of other medical conditions like depression, anxiety and stress. Smoking, excessive consumption of coffee, lack of exercise or some specific medications may also cause insomnia. However, insomnia is not a serious medical condition, and can be cured by making appropriate lifestyle changes without depending on doctors or resorting to sleeping pills.

Sleep apnea
Another common sleeping disorder is sleep apnea. A person suffering from this condition experiences temporary bouts of suspension in breathing. Every time this happens at night, the person, naturally, wakes up. This tends to happen many times during the night but the person suffering from it rarely recalls it in the morning. However, the person may show symptoms of fatigue, irritability, depression and reduced efficiency at work. This condition is very risky and can sometimes even prove to be fatal. The moment you suspect it, you need to rush to a doctor, who will treat it with a mask-like device that delivers a continuous stream of air into your nostrils while you are asleep.

Restless legs syndrome
This is another disorder that adversely affects a person’s sleep. No matter what position you are sleeping in, your legs feel so uncomfortable that you need to keep changing their position or moving them again and again. This unpleasant sensation can be cured by stretching or massaging your legs.

Shift work sleeping problems
There is an internal biological clock that regulates the sleep times in humans. However, this rhythm often gets disrupted if you are working in shifts – working night shifts, early morning shifts or rotating shifts. The constitution of some people adapts to changing shifts remarkably well. However, there are many people who find it difficult to adjust to this kind of routine, and end up with sleep disorders that eventually affect their health and well-being. The key is to create a night-like dark atmosphere when it is time to sleep, not letting any sunshine enter the bedroom.

How effective are sleeping pills?
Sleeping pills taken for a short period and under strict medical supervision may help you sleep better, but they are at best a temporary solution. Besides, taken over a long term, there is the risk that your body may develop a tolerance for them, which can in turn lead to more insomnia. It is best to use them as and when needed instead of depending on them for getting sleep every night. Carefully read the instructions that come with the pack of pills to educate yourself about the side-effects and dosage limits. Avoid consuming alcohol when you are taking a course of sleeping pills, as the combination may prove to be quite dangerous.

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