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SLEEP DISORDERS: CAUSES, SIGNS, DIAGNOSIS AND PREVENTION

SLEEP DISORDERS: CAUSES, SIGNS, DIAGNOSIS AND PREVENTION

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Sleep is an active process under the control of the brain and is a fundamental part of human life. Sleep disorders can be primary due to a disorder of the sleep regulation mechanism or secondary to another underlying disease. Insomnia, poor sleep, difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much,… are forms or symptoms of sleep disorders. Sleep disorders can seriously affect a patient’s life. So, what is sleep disorder , what are the symptoms of sleep disorder or the causes of sleep disorder ?

Sleep disorders can affect every aspect of a patient’s life and health, including reduced work performance, less safety at work and travel, difficulty concentrating, and increased risk of diseases. Chronic diseases, memory loss , etc. Therefore, it is best to find out the cause of the disease and get timely treatment, if unfortunately you have sleep disorders.

What is sleep disorder ?

The term “ sleep disorder ” refers to a condition in which a person experiences problems that affect the quality, duration, or duration of sleep and affect the person’s ability to function normally when awake. This sleep disorder can contribute to other health problems, and even has the potential to affect mental health. 

In 1979, the American Sleep Disorders Association published the first classification system specifically for sleep disorders . Accordingly, there are more than 100 types of sleep disorders classified based on causes, symptoms, physiological and psychological effects and other criteria.  

However, most sleep disorders often have the following signs: ( 1 )

  • You’re sleepy but can’t go to sleep.
  • You have difficulty staying awake during the day.
  • You have an imbalance in your daily sleep-wake rhythm.
  • You have unusual behaviors that disrupt your sleep.

Any of these signs may indicate that you have a sleep disorder . Depending on the symptoms of the disease, the doctor can advise the most appropriate treatment.

Types of sleep disorders

Among the types of sleep disorders , below are the 6 most common diseases that we often suffer from:

1. Insomnia

Insomnia is a condition where it is difficult to fall asleep at night, repeatedly for many days. People with insomnia often experience excessive daytime sleepiness and are susceptible to other cognitive impairments while awake. 

If this sleep disorder persists , occurring at least three times per week for at least three months, it is considered chronic insomnia . Currently, statistics from the National Sleep Foundation (USA) sleep research organization show that about ⅓ of adults “live” with insomnia.

2. Sleep apnea syndrome

Sleep apnea is also a sleep disorder that causes the patient to have upper airway obstruction every time they go to sleep. There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive apnea and central apnea. In addition, there is also mixed apnea which is a combination of the above two types.

When falling asleep, the larynx will narrow, making it more difficult for air to circulate through the pharynx. At this time, the patient will snore to combat the above phenomenon. Or the patient may also stop breathing for a period of time (usually 10 seconds). ( 2 )

Sleep apnea can cause the patient to stop breathing many times while sleeping and have absolutely no memory of this condition even if they wake up after each pause. Like other sleep disorders , sleep apnea can cause excessive sleepiness, fatigue, drowsiness, cognitive impairment, etc. during the day.

3. Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes people to feel excessively tired during the day despite getting enough rest the night before. This condition causes you to always be in a state of “sleepiness” and may suddenly fall asleep during the day.

Narcolepsy is a chronic disease that can lead to sudden loss of muscle tone over a short period of time. Narcolepsy and atonic attacks can occur in patients with tumors of the third ventricle and upper brainstem, traumatic brain injury, encephalitis, and Niemann-Pick disease. 

4. Restless legs syndrome (RLS)

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease) is a type of sleep-related movement disorder. This condition causes the patient to feel itchy, painful, and uncomfortable in the legs and feel like they want to move their legs even while sleeping. ( 3 )

In some cases, people with restless legs syndrome may also feel discomfort in their hands or other parts. Only when the foot moves can it feel more comfortable.

This sleep disorder is often mild in the morning and becomes more severe each night.

5. Parasomnias

Parasomnias is a condition of “false insomnia” – a relatively common sleep disorder today. People with pseudoinsomnia may have unusual behaviors before falling asleep or during sleep. ( 4 )

Sleepwalking , talking in sleep, moaning in sleep, having nightmares, wetting the bed, etc. are common behaviors of people withsleep disorder. Symptoms ofsleep disorderoften occur in children, but sometimes adults can also experience it.

6. Circadian sleep disorder

Sleep rhythm disorder, also known as circadian rhythm sleep disorder, is a condition in which it is difficult to fall asleep, wake up too early but cannot go back to sleep, wake up during the sleep cycle, etc. Sleep disorder This includes forms such as: delayed sleep phase disorder, advanced sleep phase disorder, sleep disorder due to shift work, irregular sleep-wake rhythm, irregular sleep-wake syndrome 24 hours,…

In addition to the 6 types of sleep disorders mentioned above, there are many other types of sleep disorders such as idiopathic oversleeping, Kleine-Levin syndrome (sleeping beauty syndrome), sleep paralysis, etc.

Symptoms of sleep disorders

Symptoms of sleep disorders include extreme sleepiness during the day and difficulty sleeping at night. In addition, there are other symptoms depending on the type of sleep disorder you are experiencing.

Some common signs of sleep disorders include: ( 5 )

  • Suddenly falling asleep at inappropriate times, such as while driving, in a meeting, at work, etc.
  • Feeling uncomfortable every time I try to fall asleep.
  • It usually takes you more than 30 minutes every night to fall asleep.
  • Have irregular sleep-wake cycles.
  • Stop breathing, gasp for breath, snore loudly while sleeping.
  • Involuntary urination during sleep.
  • Woke up in the middle of the night but couldn’t go back to sleep.
  • Take short naps and wake up early.
  • Sleepwalking (getting out of bed and moving around while still asleep).
  • Show signs of fear, crying, screaming, etc. even while sleeping.
  • In the evening and when you try to fall asleep, you have a crawling, tingling feeling in your legs or arms that is relieved when you move your legs.
  • Imagine loud bangs in your head if you wake up while sleeping.
  • Hallucinations at the onset of sleep or during the transition between sleep and wakefulness.
  • Can’t remember the actions I did while sleeping.
  • Feeling completely numb as soon as I wake up.
  • Tired, tired and always feel sleepy, need to go to sleep during the day.
  • Irritability, anxiety, mood changes.
  • Decreased work and study performance.
  • Lack of concentration.

Causes of sleep disorders

In some cases, underlying health problems are the cause of sleep disorders . In addition, there are other causes such as:

1. Experiencing medical conditions

People with allergies, colds, respiratory infections or respiratory problems often have difficulty breathing at night and cannot breathe through their nose. This is the cause of sleep disorders .

Besides, people with diseases such as cardiovascular disease, lung disease, stomach disease, etc. also have more difficulty falling asleep and cannot sleep deeply. 

2. Frequent urination

The cause of sleep disorders may be that you drink a lot of water before bed, leading to nocturia and frequent urination, disrupting sleep. In addition, people with hormonal imbalance and urinary tract and kidney diseases can also experience nighttime urination, causing sleep disturbances .

3. Chronic pain

Constant pain can make it difficult to fall asleep and can even wake you up after you fall asleep. Some of the most common causes of chronic pain include:

  • Arthritis;
  • Migraine;
  • Back-ache;
  • Fibromyalgia;

In some cases, chronic pain can even be exacerbated by sleep disorders . For example, people with migraines often have difficulty falling asleep, and people with insomnia and poor sleep are also at higher risk of having migraines.

4. Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety often have a negative impact on your sleep quality. You may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. 

In addition, people with stress and anxiety are also at risk of having nightmares and sleepwalking, which can disrupt your sleep.

5. Side effects of some drugs

Some medications can cause side effects that can disrupt your sleep , such as making you sleep more than usual.

6. Genetics

Studies show that if your family members such as your father, mother, or siblings have sleep disorders , your risk of getting the disease is also higher.

7. Other factors

Several factors can contribute to sleep problems, such as:

  • Frequently works night shift.
  • Jet lag syndrome: Sleep condition is affected due to moving quickly across time zones, the body has not yet adapted (usually happens when you travel or work in countries with large differences in zones). hours with the country you live in).
  • Unhealthy lifestyle, frequent use of tobacco, caffeine and alcohol, and use of stimulants.

Who is at risk of sleep disorders?

Who is at risk of sleep disorders ? Accordingly, the following groups of people will be more susceptible to sleep disorders than others:

  • Gender: Sleep disorders are more likely to affect women than men.
  • Age: The older you get, the more your sleep quality declines.
  • Lifestyle: If you have an unhealthy lifestyle, regularly using alcohol, alcoholic beverages or stimulants that affect the brain, you are also at higher risk of developing sleep disorders . .

Diagnosis of sleep disorders

How are sleep disorders diagnosed? How to know if a person really has a sleep disorder ? For patients with problems related to sleep quality, the doctor will first do a physical examination and collect information about your symptoms and medical history. 

In addition, some questions about the medical history of family members, your lifestyle, the foods you use every day, the medications you are taking recently… are also asked by the doctor to Identify the disease and its cause.

After obtaining the necessary information, depending on the patient’s health condition, the doctor may prescribe additional tests such as: 

  • Polysomnography: This is a test to evaluate all changes in the body during sleep, including heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen concentration, brain electricity, eye movements,… as well as sleep indicators. apnea number to diagnose whether the patient has sleep apnea syndrome or not.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): Electroencephalogram helps monitor and record brain wave patterns, detecting potential problems related to the brain’s electrical activity.
  • Measuring sleep latency (MSLT): This method helps doctors determine whether you are getting enough sleep or not, thereby accurately diagnosing your condition. .

Besides the above tests, your doctor may consider prescribing other diagnostic methods to accurately determine your sleep disorder .

What are the harmful effects of sleep disorders ?

Treatment for sleep disorders should be considered if this condition lasts for more than 1 week after fully applying non-pharmacological treatment methods because if it continues for a long time, it can affect your health. negatively affects quality of life.

Specifically, people with sleep disorders , short sleep times, and poor sleep quality will be easily tired during the day and have difficulty concentrating on work and study. Suddenly falling asleep can also be life-threatening if you are doing work that requires high concentration such as driving, electrical repair, etc.

People with sleep disorders are also at high risk of depression and impaired mental health. The patient himself can easily change his mood, become irritable and frustrated without cause with those around him, etc. 

Sleep disorders also increase the risk of headaches , and over time can lead to depression, making the patient feel depressed and have negative thoughts and no desire to live. Therefore, if you have a sleep disorder, you should treat it as soon as possible.

Treatment of sleep disorders

How to treat sleep disorders ? To effectively overcome sleep disorders , patients should go to a medical facility to be examined and classified for sleep disorders and their causes. From there, the doctor will consider medication prescriptions as well as appropriate and effective treatment methods.

In addition, at home, people with sleep disorders can also apply some measures to help them fall asleep easier and sleep deeper, such as:

  • Relax, use herbal teas to support better sleep;
  • Soak in warm water before going to bed for about 30 minutes;
  • Soak your feet with warm water and pink salt or herbs;
  • Massage the body, focusing on the head and neck – shoulders – nape;
  • Exercise 30 minutes every day before bed;
  • Keep the bedroom quiet and limit light. The bedroom should be set at a moderately cool temperature, not too cold or too hot.

Prevent 

Sleep disorders can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle schedule. Accordingly, to limit sleep disorders you need to pay attention to:

  • Maintain a sleep-wake schedule at a certain time;
  • Do not use electronic devices at least 1 hour before bed;
  • Avoid stressful factors that cause nervous stimulation (especially before bed);
  • Maintain a reasonable weight, supplement all necessary nutrients;
  • Do not use alcohol; cigarette; foods high in sugar, foods containing caffeine in the late afternoon or evening;
  • Limit foods high in fat and indigestible oils before bed;
  • Exercise and move regularly;
  • Drink some water before going to bed;

Nutrition

Daily diet can also affect sleep. Some foods can trigger your sleep disorder while others help it improve.

As a general rule, a balanced diet, supplemented with vitamins and nutrients, not only helps bring better sleep but also helps prevent other dangerous diseases. 

Consuming enough nutrients is important for human sleep quality. A lack of key nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K all increase the likelihood of sleep disorders .

To prevent and treat sleep disorders , it is important to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits, and limit consumption of too many unhealthy foods such as greasy fried foods, foods high in sugar such as candy, alcohol and alcoholic beverages, etc. In addition, foods with high carbohydrate content should be limited because these foods can increase the number of awakenings at night and reduce the amount of deep sleep. cause you to have sleep disorders .

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