Sleep is something that most of us have too little of or too much of. It is the reason many individuals call in sick to remain in bed for a few more hours. Some people also treat sleep as a sweet escape from reality. Too many of us can relate to taking a quick ‘nap’ and waking up the next morning with no idea of how the alarm turned off itself. Sleep is incredibly essential to the human body and mind. Good sleep is necessary for your body to develop properly and repair itself. It plays an important part in maintaining your memory, concentration and the processing of social cues. Lack of sleep can also increase the risks of heart diseases and diabetes.
A sleep disorder is changes in sleeping patterns or habits that can negatively affect health. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and also the most known one. Insomniacs have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up way too early causing the person to have less sleep than what is needed for the body. Insomnia that lasts for a short amount of time can be due to the individual’s life style choices, stress or even a cup of coffee they had before going to bed and it is not something they should excessively worry about. If it lasts more than a month and interferes with your life, you should see a doctor or a specialist. Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that causes overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. This rare disease makes the individual sleep anytime no matter what they are doing which will disrupt their daily lives. The cause of narcolepsy is attributed to genetics and low levels of hypocretine, a neurochemical that regulates your REM sleep. Narcolepsy is often associated with other disorders such as sleep apnea or restlessness leg syndrome. A person suffering from sleep apnea will have their breathing disrupted during their sleep where their breathing repeatedly starts and stops. Men are more prone to this disorder compared to women and overweight people are more at risk of having sleep apnea. It can cause an individual to wake up in the night gasping for breath. They may also experience dry mouth, irritability and drowsiness once they are awake. Restless leg syndrome also known as, Willis-Ekbom disease is a condition characterised by a nearly irresistible urge to move the legs, typically in the evenings. This is a common disorder that is found more than 10 million people in India. It usually happens when a person is at rest, when they are sleeping or sitting down and will be worse during evenings and nights where they feel itching or pulling sensations. This like all the other sleep disorders will affect the quality of one’s sleep and needs to be checked out by a specialist.