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Symptoms And Treatment Options For 3 Common Sleep Disorders

by Terry Wilson

According to the latest statistics, more than 50 million Americans have a sleep disorder. A sleep disorder is defined as changes that occur in your sleep pattern. Changes in the way a person sleeps often means that they don't get adequate sleep. In most cases, when someone doesn't get enough sleep, it will start to affect their health and their safety.

Here are three common sleep disorders and how to treat them.

1. Sleep Apnea

One of the reasons sleep apnea is considered a serious sleep disorder is that those who have it stop breathing repeatedly through the night.

Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air while sleeping
  • Difficulty staying asleep

In most cases, sleep apnea doctors will do a sleep study in order to properly diagnose this sleep disorder. One of the most common treatment methods for moderate to severe sleep apnea is to wear a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Other treatments include oral devices and surgery. In some instances, losing weight will also help with help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. 

2. Insomnia

After climbing into bed, it should only take 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep. People with insomnia take much longer to fall asleep. Along with having a difficult time falling asleep, some with this sleep disorder also have trouble staying asleep.

Other symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Tiredness or sleepiness during the day
  • Feeling irritable or anxious
  • Not feeling well-rested

For those with insomnia, it's recommended to see a doctor in order to determine the exact reason for the sleep disorder. Treatment options may vary depending on the cause of the insomnia. Some of these treatment options include stimulus control therapy and relaxation techniques. It's also helpful to cut back on caffeine and alcohol. If all else fails, prescriptions medications may be necessary.

3. Narcolepsy

This sleep disorder is characterized by sudden attacks of falling asleep during the day. While this is a rare sleep disorder, it can be completely disruptive to one's routine.

Besides falling asleep suddenly, other symptoms of narcolepsy include:

  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Experiencing hallucinations
  • The inability to move or speak when falling asleep or waking

There is no cure for narcolepsy. However, there are some ways to manage the symptoms. Sleep experts recommend taking drugs that stimulate the nervous system in order to help them stay awake during the day. Other treatment options include sticking to a strict sleep schedule and taking naps.