Non-apnea sleep disorder is a trigger for concern

The topic of sleep disorder without apnea (NASD) comes into focus following a July 5 study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine (ABM) on the effects of recurrent sleep loss.

There are several reasons for occasional sleep loss, but persistent occurrence is considered . Persistent sleep deprivation can negatively impact a variety of areas, from mood and job performance to serious physical discomfort.

In addition to the ABM report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say 33% of adults are not getting enough sleep, and the Cleveland reports that 70 million Americans have insomnia.

While sleep apnea disorder is a known problem, there are many other causes of sleep interruption or deprivation.

sleep disorders

Sleep apnea occurs when breathing is interrupted during sleep. It’s just one in 80 causes of lack of sleep. In addition to sleep apnea, the three most common diseases are insomnia, restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy.

Causes of NASD range from physical and medical problems, such as asthma or ulcers, to environmental factors, including unusual work shifts and alcohol consumption. Age, medication use, and genetics can also all affect the ability to properly rest.

Insomnia can be classified as acute, which means that a person cannot sleep for a night for up to a few weeks. insomnia occurs when sleep problems occur for a month or more and occur at least several nights a week. The Cleveland states that about 50% of adults experience occasional insomnia and insomnia is found in about 10% of adults.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis Ekbom disease, usually occurs at night or at rest. Unpleasant sensations in the legs make a person move them and the urge to do so is uncontrollable. RLS is classified as both a sleep disorder and a movement disorder. This neurological sensory state begins in the brain, which sends false signals to the legs.

Narcolepsy occurs when the brain’s ability to control the sleep cycle is impaired. Faster than usual entry into rapid eye movement (REM), a normal part of sleeping, helps define the disorder and can lead to daytime sleepiness, muscle weakness, and cognitive function.

Problems made worse by sleep deprivation

A lack of sleep affects many areas of life. On July 6, the University of South Florida (USF) reported that lack of sleep leads to emotional problems, and the National Institute of Health (NIH) states that cognitive skills and memory are also affected. An increase in anger and frustration can also be noted.

Sleep loss has also been linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions such as respiratory and gastrointestinal problems. Weight problems, high blood pressure, and dyslipidemia (an imbalance in triglycerides in the blood) can also be made worse by sleep deprivation. Colon cancer has also been identified as a disorder affecting sleep disorders.

Sleep problems affect different age groups

Short- or long-term sleep disorders are reported by more than 50% of those over 65 years of age. The disorders range from lighter sleep than in younger years to complete sleep disorders. Causes for this age group could include increased nap time or certain medications that slow sleep. Medical conditions can also play a role in shorter sleep times.

While sleep disorders aren’t surprising in adults, children are affected too. For example, it is estimated that 2 to 4% of children have restless legs syndrome. Nearly 58% of middle school kids sleep less than the recommended amount of sleep for their age, compared with 72.7% in high school. In adolescents, academic performance, behavior, cognitive function, and mental health can be adversely affected by sleep deprivation.

Treatment methods

Effective methods of treating sleep disorders include counseling, doctor-prescribed medications, and regular exercise. For a restful sleep, it is advisable to achieve a comfortable sleeping temperature in the bedroom, as well as adequate darkness and regular bedtime.

It is also recommended to clear your head of negative thoughts or worries, as well as avoiding stimulants like coffee and tea for several hours before bed.

If sleep disorders occur, a doctor should be informed.

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Omar P. Haqqani is the Senior Consultant in Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the Vascular Health Clinics in Midland.

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