The human body requires around 6 to 8 hours of sleep daily in order to be able to function effectively the following day.
A sleep disorder is classified as a disruption of an individual’s sleeping patterns; that may interfere with the everyday’s physical, psychological, emotional and social functioning. Two of the most common types of sleep disorders include insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea.
In addition to trouble with retaining sleep, insomnia is typically characterized by daytime fatigue, decreased attentiveness or mood-swings, for a period lasting more than 4 weeks. This condition may have no defined underlying cause, or else surfaces as a result of a combination of physical or mental illnesses, as well as substance abuse.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition which causes a lack of sufficient deep sleep that is often accompanied by heavy snoring. When air is hindered from entering into the lungs, an individual tends to gasp for air. As a result, insufficient amount of air may be exchanged for a period of 10 seconds, up to 30 times within seven hours.
Other types of sleep disorders may include bruxism, which is characterized by the involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth whilst sleeping, as well as sleepwalking, whereby an individual unconsciously engages in activities that are normally associated with wakefulness.
Most types of sleep disorders can be diagnosed following careful nocturnal observation of sleeping patterns, brain activity, heart rate and rapid eve movements by qualified health professionals.
The cure for sleep disorders can often be found by making changes in the daily routine and adopting a healthier lifestyle, whilst addressing any underlying causes, such as depression, stress or anxiety. It is important to keep in mind that sleep medications are only a short-term solution, as these often result in dependence and tolerance.