Formerly this was the website for Sleep / Wake Disorders Canada –
Re-purposing is underway, although still focused on sleep disorders and summarizing good quality evidence for the importance of sleep to well-being. You will probably be intensely interested in how weight loss for sleeping disorders becomes possible with sufficient sleep, and impossible without it.
– Sleep/Wake Disorders –
Many people have experienced a lot (or even a little bit) of trouble sleeping a few times in our lives. That is normal, and, for the most part, temporary. This may be because of stress or other known factors. If sleeping issues are common and an interference in your every-day life, you might be suffering from a sleeping disorder.
A lack of sleeping can have a negative outcome on your energy, health, as well as your emotional balance. If you are one of this people, it is important to help yourself, and go see your doctor. Ignoring sleep problems and sleep disorders can cause poor health, accidents, relationship stress, and impaired job performance.
As most individuals sleep all night until morning, some people which have a disorder known as ‘sleep/wake syndrome’ experience disrupted sleep that is frequently unstructured and broken. This syndrome is pretty uncommon.
How Do You Know If It’s A Sleep Disorder?
To tell if you are suffering from a sleep disorder, you may:
- Be feeling irritable or really sleepy during day time
- Have a hard time staying away when you’re sitting still, reading, or watching t.v.
- Fall asleep or feel extremely tired while driving
- Have complications concentrating
- Often get told by other people that you look tired
- React slowly
- Have difficulty controlling your emotions
- Feel like you have to take a nap a couple times per day
- Require drinks with caffeine to keep yourself going throughout the day
How Many Hours Do These People Sleep Per Night/Day?
People with this type of syndrome generally sleep about one to four hours at a time. They tend to have several sleep sessions every 24 hours. The longest time of continuous sleep is usually somewhere between 2am and 6am.
People with this condition are not known as sleep-deprived. Although, it is spread over a 24 hour period instead of concentrated into seven or eight hours. People with sleep/wake disorders have problems with both insomnia and excessive tiredness during the day.
Weight Loss For Those With Sleep Disorders:
Everyone knows that there is a relation between being overweight and respiratory disturbances during sleep. It has been identified that obesity is the single most powerful risk factor of sleep apnea.
This is why there are weight control programs that are particularly made for individuals with sleeping disorders / sleep apnea. The most popular weight control program for this syndrome is called ‘Wake Watchers’.
Below will soon have a temporary list of helpful posts, that are in the process of being edited. Thank-you for your patience.
– Sep 22, 2015 update. About a month ago, I realized that all the posts were not being indexed by google, and the homepage wasn’t either. I made the posts disappear, did edited the homepage, but now, the homepage is still de-indexed. This is quite discouraging. I was hoping to create a decently informative about sleep, which I truly do care about from a medical perspective. But this domain may have been ruined by the previous owners.
My daughter told me the other day, she is having insomnia. Together we googled about sleep hygiene, and I think she’s doing most of the things correctly, like always getting up at the same time, and not staying in bed if she isn’t sleeping. But she’s taking long naps in the middle of the day, and, when she’s not able to sleep after midnight, she’s going online and playing MMO games (secret world), which is probably a little too stimulating. I think she needs to do boring things like reading boring books about hypnosis and NLP. Those always make me sleepy.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome
FACTS, SYMPTOMS, & TREATMENT
What is Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome?
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) is a neurological sleep disorder characterized by the incapability of falling asleep and wake up on conventional hours. People affected with this disorder, can usually go to bed at 10:00 pm, but they are able to sleep after 2 or more hours, then they have to wake up late to accomplish a restful and complete sleep, which is a problem if you have to attend social obligations early in the morning, like school or work.
DSPS affects the normal circadian rhythm, causing changes in our sleep and wake cycle and in our hours of being alert. Additionally this disorder can change our body’s temperature and hormones cycles.
Do you have a normal Circadian Rhythm?
Even if you prefer to go to bed and wake up late, your circadian rhythm is considered normal when:
- You are capable to wake up early in the morning rested and with energy to accomplish your morning activities.
- You can go to sleep early at the same hour every night, in order to get enough sleep.
- If you need to wake up earlier than normal, you are capable to fall asleep before your regular time without any inconvenience.
- When changes in schedule occurs (night work shifts or vacations) you are able to advance or delay your internal clock and enjoy a complete and refreshed sleep as long as required.
- Your biological clock follows environmental changes like dawn or nightfall.
What is the cause of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome?
The cause of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome is unknown. However, DSPS is associated with the fact that our body’s biological clock is out of phase, changing our natural urge of sleep at normal hours. In addition, it seems to be related with changes in when and how much a hormone called Melatonin is secreted, which helps to control our circadian rhythm and affects our sleep patterns.
Which are the Symptoms of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome?
Due to the struggle of the changes in the circadian timing against the fulfillment of social obligations (the need to wake up early in the morning). The major symptoms of DSPS are excessive daytime sleepiness resulted from an incomplete sleep, as well as sleep onset insomnia, when is not capable to fall asleep at early hours of the night.
The afflicted with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome tend to believe they have insomnia. However, unlike the insomniacs this patients are able to enjoy a deep, restful and complete sleep period, once they reach their delayed specific time.
Another signs of DSPS are:
- Symptoms usually appears during adolescence or childhood.
- The condition is been present for a long time, normally more than a month and even for years.
- Fatigue, lack of energy due to incomplete sleep periods.
- The affected usually needs around half an hour to falling asleep, no matter if go to bed at their normal delayed time.
- Alterations in eating patterns.
It is normal to find people, especially teenagers and children who choose to sleep in late hours every night, commonly when they don’t have any early obligation. The difference between this behavior and DSPS, lies in the fact that for these individuals is easy to adjust their hours for falling asleep and waking up to fit a normal schedule, when they need to do it.
How is DSPS diagnosed?
The Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome diagnosis is mainly based in the description of the symptoms and a review of the patient’s sleep history, by keeping a diary to log sleep and wake hours. Because of DSPS does not shows any physical evidence, there is not a specific test to diagnose it.
Occasionally an autograph (an electronic device) can help to identify the rhythms of activity and rest, and therefore confirm this condition. Additional tests such as monitor the temperature changes or the Melatonin levels are not commonly used by specialists.
Treatment and cure for Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome?
Although in some cases DSPS may disappear in adulthood. When it prevails there is no cure for this life lasting disorder. However, there are multiple treatments that can help to synchronize the internal clock and reduce its signs in order to achieve a regular schedule in order to accomplish early morning activities.
Some of treatments suggested to relief Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome are:
- Advance, or retard (known as Chronotherapy) the internal clock, by changing bedtime hours and improving sleep hygiene.
- Light therapy, which is the exposition to sunlight or to artificial light for a period of one hour after wake up. This in some cases helps to reset our biological clock.
- The intake of medication such as Melatonin or other drugs to induce sleep.
- Avoid the use of light emitting devices like computers, cell phones or tablets during the night,making difficult to fall asleep and may delay bedtime.
– facts, causes, symptoms, and types –
Sleep is defined as the state where a person rests with their eyes closed, and its consciousness is suspended. During this period of time is when the energy of our body is restored. It is estimated that a person spends one-third of its life sleeping. However, despite the many advances in research of sleep disorders, very little is know about what happens with us during this part of our life.
Which are the kinds of sleep?
While we are sleeping, we switch between two kinds of sleep, one is called the Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM) where our eyes move fast in different directions. It lasts about a quarter of our sleep time in longer periods in each cycle, and is related to dreaming due to the brain is more active.
The second is known as the non-REM sleep with its light, deep and deeper stages, being in this last (slow wave or delta sleep) where the body is repaired, our bones, muscles and tissues grow or heal, etc., while the REM sleep is thought to be part of a psychological process related to the intelligence and memory.
How much sleep is enough?
There is no such thing as a general rule about the amount of time a person should sleep. Long ago, it was thought that adults needed eight hours of sleep each day while nowadays a healthy measure is as many hours as each individual needs to feel refreshed, healthy and with enough energy. Too much or too little can result in tiredness, crankiness, lack of energy and/or sleep disorders.
What causes the Sleep Disorders?
The sleep disorders are a consequence of an interruption or disruption of the sleep/wake cycle and may be caused by one or more of the following reasons:
- Physical conditions: Physical pain due to an illness or trauma which can disturb sleep.
- Medications or illegal substances: Some medications, illegal drugs, abuse of alcohol and tobacco are common causes of sleep deprivation.
- Lack of sleep hygiene: Bad habits related to sleep may become chronic and result in sleep disorders.
- Physiologic and Psychiatric disorders: Such as anxiety and depression.
- Working during the night: It is common for people who works on night shifts to suffer from sleep disorders as they have to stay awake until late hours, sleeping less than needed.
- Medical conditions: Such as asthma or sleep apena, that don’t allow the afflicted to sleep well.
What are some of the symptoms of sleep disorders?
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) is defined as an irresistible and continuous sleepiness, tiredness or sleep attacks during the day, no matter how much the afflicted sleeps.
Cataplexy is a sudden loss of muscle tone, of which the affected is completely aware. Is commonly precipitated by emotions like fear, rage, laughter, euphoria etc. A cataplectic episode can vary from a rapid and mild muscle weakness to a complete loss of muscle control where the sufferer is incapable to move for several minutes.
Disrupted night-time sleep is related to waking up several times every night. Usually this awakenings are accompanied with being hungry.
Hypnagogic hallucinations are frightening and intense experiences that occur in an intermediate stage between being awake and sleep, at the beginning or end of a sleep time. The affected, commonly indicates that even when it is difficult at first, they are capable to recognize what is real as they become more awake.
Night terrors Commonly suffered by young children who wake up confused and with fear after an hour of being sleeping. They have no memory of dreaming, are disoriented and their pulse is accelerated. This condition should not be confused with nightmares which are not a sleep disorder, only a normal type of dreams.
Sleep paralysis It occurs when awakening or falling asleep an individual is unable to move despite trying to do it.
Automatic behavior defined as doing routine activities with a minimal control and awareness. The person is usually unable to remember any specific details about the activities performed.
Sleepwalking also known as somnambulism Is a common condition in children of less than 10 and up to 15 years old. Is considered a serious sleep disorder in adults when becomes chronic and is often related to stress. The affected tends to speak incoherently using unintelligible words and to be clumsy.
Bedwetting (enuresis) is found in about 10% of girls and 15% of boys until the age of 5. When found in older individuals is often associated with anxiety or physical disorders such as small bladders, infections, etc.
What are some of the major sleep disorders?
Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder, defined as repetitive pauses in breathing while sleeping. When the afflicted, begin to breathe again, often snore loudly and may or may not wake up. It can be caused by a problem in the central nervous system or by an upper airway obstruction. Although is not common, it can also be caused by a combination of the two mentioned types. Normally the symptoms of this sleep disorder include excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and a disturbed sleep. Treatment for sleep apnea may include a respiratory aid device, medication and in some cases surgery.
Narcolepsy is a rare and permanent sleep disorder characterized by excessive sleepiness regardless of how much sleeps the affected. Although the cause of narcolepsy is unknown, it seems to be a genetic predisposition to inheriting the disorder. The most common symptoms of narcolepsy are excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and cataplexy and may also include hypnagogic hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. Normally these symptoms may appear without a particular order. Also, time between symptoms as well as severity may vary widely for each patient.
Myoclonus – Periodic Limb Movements (PLM) defined as a sleep disorder where the afflicted suffer from involuntary leg twitches which are repeated every 20 to 40 seconds while sleeping. These movements can last from 5 minutes to 2 hours and they may alternate with normal sleep periods. Normally, patients with PLM are unaware of these leg movements, but is hard for them to fall and stay asleep during the night.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in which a person is unable of initiating and maintaining sleep. Even when the patient is relaxed it can be difficult to fall and stay asleep due to a debility in the sleep system. Symptoms also include waking up several time during the night or too early in the morning before they need to do it. Insomnia can be transient when lasts less than one week and is usually triggered by an emotional cause; short-term when lasts from one week to three and is usually related to stress and Long-term which can last for several months or years, and it can be related to psychiatric problems, alcoholism, chronic drug abuse, etc.
Parasomnias this is a type of sleep disorders related to abnormal behaviors while sleeping. This condition may be associated with a specific stage of sleep or to the intermediate state between sleeping and waking. The afflicted may be unaware of being awake and have an erratic behavior like sleepwalking, bedwetting, suffer from headaches associated with sleep, painful erection, and can injure itself.
Changes in the sleep/wake schedule people who change their sleep schedule every few weeks often experience a disrupted sleep due to their biological rhythm cannot easily adapt to those changes. This can result in mood changes, cognitive difficulties, etc. Even after the affected is able to regularize his/her schedule, it can be difficult to recover a healthy sleep cycle.
How are sleep disorders diagnosed?
Additionally to a complete review of the patient’s medical history, the sleep physician may request for a polysomnography study, which requires the afflicted to spend the night at the lab while an equipment records the different stages of sleep. Also, this record equipment can be used during the day to perform a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) in which the patient is requested to take several naps, where the time needed to fall asleep is measured. Whether or not the patient enters REM sleep early is also recorded. Pupillography, which measures the diameter of the pupil of the eye, is also used as an indication of drowsiness.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Also known as Ekbom Syndrome, Wittmaack-Ekbom Syndrome, and Anxieties Tibialis, the Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a chronic neurological disorder that causes a deprivation of sleep, characterized by uncomfortable feelings in the legs and sometimes in other parts of the body. These sensations are convulsive movements (spasms) normally between the ankles and thighs and sometimes in the arms.
These uncomfortable chronic feelings during the night create a lack of peace that makes very difficult to falling asleep, this disorder creates an irresistible urge to move the legs, which seems to be the only way to relief the discomfort. It’s common for the affected with the Restless Legs Syndrome complain about how their must spend their nights walking around their houses to relief this sensations. Staying still, for example during a travel becomes a difficult process.
Normally, is not easy for the individuals who suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome to describe their symptoms, as they simply don’t know that this discomfort is related to RLS, and in most of the cases the affected have to deal with this condition many times, hoping the discomfort to disappear someday.
What Causes the Restless Legs Syndrome?
The cause of the Restless Legs Syndrome is unknown, but researchers suspect that may be caused by a genetic condition, a central nervous system disorder, or because of a malfunction in the peripheral nerves.
RLS may be related with other conditions although this is not yet proven, like a deficit of circulation in the lower extremities, problems in the muscles of the legs, renal failures, deficiencies of vitamin and/or mineral, a neuropathy or alcoholism. It is thought that other factors may contribute to the appearance of this syndrome, such as excessive intake of caffeine, abuse of tobacco, some medications, extreme fatigue, or being exposed to very high or low temperatures.
How is Restless Legs Syndrome diagnosed?
Detection and diagnosis of the Restless Legs Syndrome is very difficult, due to many physicians may not recognize the symptoms associated with this disorder and there is not a specific detection test. It is common to find patients with RLS who had to visit several specialists before being correctly diagnosed.
Doctors should mainly focus on the patient’s description of the symptoms, being the most important of them which often indicates the presence of this condition the fact that the movement of the muscles relieves the discomfort. Other symptoms may be:
- The absence of uncomfortable feelings during the day. Only in the nights.
- The spasms are usually triggered by rest, relaxation, or sleep.
- Relief lasts while the affected keeps moving their limbs.
Who is susceptible to be affected?
Statistics indicates that 5% of the general population is prone to suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome at some time in their life, but most of the people afflicted are women of middle or older age. Also is estimated that RLS can affect to 1 million children in school-age, of which 30% may show a level of the syndrome from moderate to severe.
Periodic limb movements during sleep (PLMS): An associated feature of RLS
PLMS, or nocturnal myoclonus, is a disorder characterized by recurrent limb movements that are usually repeated every 15 to 40 seconds during Non-REM sleep (the sleep period not associated with dreams). This movements are commonly of the legs, but sometimes may include the arms. As with the Restless Legs Syndrome when PLMS is severe, can disrupt sleep.
Is estimated that 70 to 90% of patients who suffer from RLS will show PLMS on the polysomnographic study. Also is suspected that around 1/3 of the affected with PLMS will develop RLS. Also, this condition may appear at any age, but prevalence increases markedly in elders.
Coping strategies from Restless Legs Syndrome patients
- Do not try to hide your RLS movements, it only makes them worse. Describe your situation to your family, friends, physicians, and anyone who will be performing services for you.
- Begin and end each day with leg stretching exercises as appropriate for your health condition.
- Consider sleeping late in the early morning hours when your legs are less active, or take an afternoon nap if it suits your schedule.
- Soak in a warm bath or take a hot shower which may relieve jumping legs temporarily.
- Raise your desk and computer to counter height with a matching tall stool.
- Place a folding book stand on a high counter or shelf to hold reading material when you need to stand up.
- Select an aisle seat at the movies or theater to provide an easy exit near the back of the room if you need to stand.
- Consider listening to books on tape. Time spent walking may be less frustrating when listening to a favorite author.
- Plan travel hours when symptoms are least severe. Extend driving time to allow for frequent stops. For long air flights, plan a layover to allow for a stretching break.
- Consider staying at a Bed & Breakfast lodging for more room to walk.
Is there a treatment for RLS?
Although there is no cure for Restless Legs Syndrome, there are treatment options available for the afflicted that can reduce the symptoms, and therefore improve sleep. Some of this options include leg massages, heat or icepacks, aspirins or other pain relievers, and the elimination of caffeine.
A large number of medications, have been tried for RLS and PLMS. Some primary treatment options currently being used in North America are: Dopaminergic agents, Benzodiazepines, and Opioids.
Changes in lifestyle, like maintaining a good sleep hygiene, exercise (especially early in the mornings), reduce the intake of alcohol and tobacco can also help to get a more restful sleep.
Individual response may vary for each patient. What works for one person may not work for another. The best treatment can often be reached, only with an active and experimental cooperation between physician and patient and may require revision from time to time as symptoms and responses may change.
Sleepiness in teenage students
It is known that more than 15% of high school students suffer from important difficulties for pay attention and being alert. The sleepiness in teenage students can be caused by undiagnosed sleep disorders or due the lack of sleep hygiene. Another types of sleep disorders like parasomnias (bad dreams, night fears, somnambulism) usually last until adolescence. This article aims to help identify how many of them needs assistance.
What causes Sleepiness in Teenage Students?
Although there are multiple causes for sleepiness in teenage students, the following are the most common due to its persistence:
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: characterized by not enough attention, sleepiness during classes which is often described as tiredness, grogginess. These are the probable causes:
- Lack of sleep hygiene: are some counterproductive behavior habits that include:
- Not having enough sleep.
- Not having a regular time for wake up or go to bed.
- Frequently delay bedtime due to social activities, playing video games or watching TV, among others reasons.
- Too much exercise before falling asleep.
- Watch TV while in bed.
- Abuse of tobacco, caffeine or Alcohol late at night.
- Phase Delay Syndrome: Is the incapacity for fall asleep early at night. The affected normally get to sleep after 3 A.M. It is difficult for these teenagers waking up in the morning, and they accumulate a sleep deficit which try to compensate on weekends. Youngsters usually need to sleep more than children and adults.
- Narcolepsy: Is an uncommon condition, which symptoms are often misinterpreted. Youngsters afflicted with this disorder tend to fall asleep during daily activities, such as eating, playing or attending classes. These episodes are uncontrolled and occur frequently. When they are awake the teenagers could be aggressives, clumsy or being confused. They may suffer from sudden muscle debility, especially when agitated or are laughing. His performance in school usually decreases, and are labeled as lazy, having lack of cocentracion or being bored.
- Sleep Apnea: It is a common condition in children, usually the affected tend to snore noisily, to spill saliva all over the pillow, or may present headaches in the morning. Daytime sleepiness is caused by a disturbed sleep. These children often show signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
- Movement disorders in sleep like Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) or Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep (PLMS): These leg spasms are repetitious and may last for various seconds. During the night the children are not aware of them, but they cause a disturbed sleep. They can also take place during the day, which results in an anxious child who is unable to stay still. These children may also show symptoms of ADHD.
- Asthma: Can be commonly related to sleep disorders. These episodes usually cause sleep disturbances that result in daytime tiredness and daytime sleepiness.
- Depression: Young students may suffer from undiagnosed depression, which often decreases their academic performance. A Depressed mood – mostly during the morning, causes sleepiness during the day as well as lethargy, lack of appetite, concentration problems and crankiness.
- Working in shifts: Changes of biological rhythms can have a negative effect on the quality and quantity of sleep in teens. Students who work shifts in the evening or night, usually can be sleepy at classes and may suffer from mood changes or develop cognitive problems.
- Lack of sleep hygiene: are some counterproductive behavior habits that include:
- Insomnia: is a condition where people have trouble in falling or staying asleep, wake up too early in the morning (before they have to do it) and usually have an unrefreshed sleep. This disorder can be temporary (days), short-term (weeks), or chronic (months and even years). This disturbed sleep normally may result in sleepiness in teenage students and tiredness during classes, also can have a negative effect in daily performance and cognitive function, may influence in mood and motivation and decrease attention and alertness.
Do you have a sleep disorder?
To determine sleepiness in teenage students, is widely recommended the use of a tool called: The Epworth Sleepiness Scale, which helps to detect a sleep disorder. In this test the affected should answer as honestly as he/she can:
What is the probability for you to take a nap or fall asleep in the following situations, against to just being tired?. This is related to your current life and it doesn’t matter if you haven’t done any of these things in the last few days, think about the effect of these activities in you.
Please use the most adequate number for each case:
0 = no probability of dozing
1 = a little probability of dozing
2 = an intermediate probability of dozing
3 = a high probability of dozing
|SITUATION||CHANCE OF DOZING|
|Sitting & reading||____|
|Sitting inactive in a public place (a theatre or a meeting)||____|
|As a passenger in a car for an hour||____|
|Lying down to rest in the afternoon||____|
|Sitting & talking to someone||____|
|Sitting quietly after lunch without alcohol||____|
|In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic||____|
This scale do not represents a diagnostic; however, patients with scores greater than 8, are probably suffering from a sleep problem, for such cases it is recommended to see a doctor.
Other signs of sleep disorder
For sleepiness in teenage students, is important to check if they show one or more of these symptoms:
- Frequently fall asleep during classes or daytime.
- Have a consistent poor attention/concentration.
- Most of time is “late”.
- Shows a decrease in performance.
- Fails to deliver homework on time and when it does is a poor quality homework.
- Needs more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.
- Most of the times they go to bed after 12 AM.
- It is hard to wake up early in the morning and get to school on time.
- Always Snore.
- Feels discomfort or have creeping or crawling feelings in the legs.
- Obtains a greater than 8 result on the Epworth Scale.
Although everyone sometimes can suffer from these symptoms, when these become a persistent condition, it normally indicates a sleep disorder that needs to be checked by a specialist. The biggest problem about sleep problems is that most of them remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated. When you detect sleepiness in teenage students, it is highly recomended to see a doctor. There are doctors specialized in sleep disorders as well as treatment centers that can help.
Sleep Related Eating Disorder (SRED)
SRED is defined as a condition where a person eats while is asleep. The patient may be lying on bed, in the kitchen or while walking around the house. Those affected are not aware of what they’re doing, and have no memory of having been eating when they’re awake. It seems that, the Sleep Related Eating Disorder occurs in an intermediate state in the midst of sleep and awakeness.
Also known as nocturnal sleep related eating disorder (NSRED), it is considered as a new and unknown disorder, which has recently attracted the attention of researchers and doctors. Despite its name, SRED is not considered as a sleep disorder in a strict sense.
Psychological effects of SRED
When someone who suffers from SRED wakes up and realizes what has been doing overnight feels ashamed, and may also believe that there is something wrong with his mind. Also, when questioned by family members, they can deny it without hesitate, because don’t believe that they may have been eating while were asleep, and is really hard to admit to others and to themselves the lack of control.
What causes SRED?
Patients with SRED tend to present backgrounds such as drug addiction, alcoholism, and even different types of sleep problems like somnambulism, restless legs syndrome (RLS), and sleep apnea. They feel tired all the time and their sleep is fragmented. All of these sleep disorders, seem to be common among family members which indicates a probable genetic component.
Who can suffer from Sleep Related Eating Disorder?
Statistics indicate that 1 to 3 percent of the population is prone to suffer from this condition, and affects 10 to 15 percent of patients with eating disorders. Men and women can suffer from SRED, but is more common among women. Sometimes the problem may be chronic or can appear and soon disappear. People with this condition tend to be stressed or anxious and usually they feel embarrassed and upset due to their problem.
Most of the affected with SRED are on a strict diet regime that forces them to go to bed with hungry, which can originate a loss control while are sleeping. Also it is thought that during these episodes there is a part of the brain that is sleeping but other part is awake. The part that controls awareness is sleeping, being this the reason why there are no memories of having been eating the previous night.
Which are the symptoms of Sleep Related Eating Disorder?
Scientific studies have shown that people with SRED may have different symptoms and behaviors specific to each case, nevertheless there are similar symptoms that help to diagnose this condition, such as:
- Find evidence of have been eating without control, high amounts of sugar or junk food (meals high in calories), or things that are not food, like soap bars, glue, wood or cigarettes.
- Irritated mood because of the disturbed sleep.
- A persistent lack of appetite in the mornings.
- Preparation of rare combinations of food (for example mixing sweet and salty meals).
- During the handling of the food, patients with SRED are commonly messy and can injure themselves.
- A significant gain of weight in a short time.
How SRED is diagnosed?
The diagnose consists of spending one or more nights in a sleep clinic where brain activity and behavior can be monitored, along with a clinical interview. Whenever you show symptoms of SRED, consult with your doctor the need of receive treatment in a sleep care facility.
Is there a Treatment for SRED?
There are treatments for Sleep Related Eating Disorder. It includes therapies to reduce stress and anxiety, such as stress management sessions and counseling. Reducing the intake of alcohol, illegal drugs, and coffee is also helpful. Medication can be used in some cases, but is important to know that sleeping pills are not recommended as they increase confusion and clumsiness which may result in injuries. In addition, the regular intake of sleeping pills may cause dependency, which leads to relapses.
Sleep Apena, facts, Symptoms and Treatment
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a severe sleep disorder in which the affected, stops breathing while sleeps at night. People who suffer from this condition usually snore and complain of excessive daytime sleepiness and poor sleep.
Anyone can develop sleep apnea at any age. It is a serious and sometimes life-threatening disorder which seems to affect men more frequently than women; those who have narcolepsy develop it more often than others. Once you begin to suffer from sleep apnea, it appears to remain for life. In some cases, the symptoms reach maximum severity very quickly, while in other cases the symptoms begin gradually and may require years to reach their most serious level.
What causes Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is caused by a partial or total obstruction of the airflow that goes to our lungs when we are sleeping. This can occur because of:
- The muscles of the tongue and throat are relaxed (they suppose to stay stiff) when we sleep.
- A large size tongue and tonsils may obstruct the opening of the windpipe.
- Obesity, this can create fat tissue around the walls of the windpipe narrowing the airway.
- Smaller airway size because of the bony structure of the neck and head.
- The brain may loose the capacity to maintain the throat muscles rigid when we sleep as we grow older, obstructing airflow.
When not enough air flows into our lungs due to the reduced or blocked airway during sleep we start to snore loud and the oxygen in blood decrease to a dangerous level. This trigger a survival emergency response in our brain that make us wake up, which helps to tighten the upper muscles and open your windpipe. Then we are able to breath normal again.
A patient afflicted with sleep apnea can suffer few or many attacks while sleep every night. A scientific study of 35 persons with sleep apnea conducted at Stanford University’s Sleep Disorders Center found that during seven hour sleep, a person can have from 68 to 682 apneic episodes that lasts from 10 seconds to 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
Types of sleep apnea
The main types of sleep apnea are:
- Central sleep apnea is a rare disorder of the central nervous system in which the brain of the affected doesn’t send the appropriate signals through the nerves to the diaphragm and this stops moving during sleep leading to stop breathing.
- Upper airway or obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and dangerous type of apnea, in which occurs a when the muscles of the throat and tongue relax during sleep. This reduces or can even close the airway to the lungs. At the same time, the diaphragm keeps contracting rhythmically with an increasing effort, until finally a partial or complete awakening occurs and normal breathing is resumed.
In addition, some people afflicted with sleep apnea, especially those who suffer from narcolepsy, may develop another type known as Mixed Sleep Apnea, a combination of the two mentioned types where the attacks starts with central apnea turning after into upper airway sleep apnea, also there is no evidence indicating that the order can be reversed.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea during sleep
- Loud snoring: is a common symptom of sleep apnea, actually, snoring often precedes the development of other symptoms. This occurs when the person begins to breathe at the end of an apneic attack.
- Agitated Sleep: Researches have found that patients with sleep apnea have a very agitated sleep and they normally moves in an unusual way before they start to breath again after an apneic period. Their movements can be from soft tremors in the hands and feet to violent movements of the body.
- Bedwetting in children: If they used to spend the night without getting wet and suddenly start again, is suggestive of the development of sleep apnea.
Symptoms while awake
- Insomnia: People affected with sleep apnea often complain that they are incapable of get an uninterrupted sleep. Frequently they don’t even know that they are suffering from sleep apena, they only know that they wake up several times during the night and and it is hard to fall asleep again. They can also have many awakenings of which they are unaware.
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS): Is one of the most important symptom presented in those who suffer from upper airway or mixed sleep apnea. They usually complain of never get enough sleep, or being sleepy all the time. They are mostly unaware of their sleep disturbance.
- Headaches in the morning: Are a common symptom of sleep apnea.
- Hallucinations: These may occur when the afflicted are in an intermediate state between being awake and sleep. People who experience these hallucinations say that most of the times they are capable to correct their perception of reality as they become more awake.
- Disorientation: Sometimes occurs after awakening and can last from 3 to 30 minutes. During this period the affected can have a hard time to remember things, or may give erratic answers to questions. This state in known as “foggy mind”.
Physiological effects from suffering Sleep apena
As mentioned before, during the apneic episodes the patients experience a drop of oxygen levels in the blood and a consequent increase of the carbon dioxide levels. In this situation the heart, brain, and other vital organs and tissues don’t receive the oxygenated blood they need to function properly. The blood pressure also rises aggressively in the pulmonary and systemic arteries, then the heart slows (bradycardia) and may even stop (asystole) during 6 to 8 seconds. These changes are reversed when the individual starts to breath. High blood pressure associated with sleep apnea may begin to remain elevated during daytime and breathing is normal, being this a potential cause of unexplained hypertension.
Severe cases of sleep apena could be the cause of many deaths occurred during sleep. For example, the “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” which is a class of death suspected to be related to sleep apnea where infants, who are apparently normal in every aspect, die during sleep without any physical reason.
How to diagnose Sleep Apnea?
There are different steps to diagnose sleep apnea. A sleep physician must evaluate the symptoms, review the family and medical histories, and perform a physical examination. Based on these results can recommend a study called polysomnography made in a sleep facility or home where brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, and blood pressure are recorded and processed to determine if you have sleep apnea and how severe it is.
Which is the Treatment for Sleep Apnea?
There have been some success reducing the number of apneic episodes in individuals afflicted with central sleep apnea, with the help of medications such as imipramine and chlorimipramine.
There are many more options for people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, for example in case of obesity, a significant weight loss will reduce in most of the times the number and intensity of the apneic episodes. Also a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device (CPAP) which is a small respirator, can help in some cases. The CPAP is a mask connected to the ventilator that forces air through the airway to prevent this from collapsing, causing apnea attacks.
Caution regarding drug use
Medication such as sleeping pills, tranquilizers, alcohol or illegal drugs, which are depressants of the central nervous system that controls breathing should be avoided, or be carefully used only under medical supervision due to their potential deadly effect.
Narcolepsy Facts, Symptoms and Treatment
What is Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is a serious and permanent neurological disorder, characterized by the incapacity of regulate the sleep and wake cycles, which leads a person to fall asleep during the day and/or to a frequent sleepiness state. It affects to approximately one of every thousand people and most of them remain undiagnosed. Anyone is susceptible to this condition at any age, although its signs normally appears in early adolescence. There is no cure for narcolepsy and its treatment is symptomatic.
What causes Narcolepsy?
The cause of narcolepsy is unknown, is suspected to be related to a failure in the central nervous system. Evidence of a psychological cause haven’t been found. However researchers have found proofs that suggest that narcolepsy (or its predisposition) may be hereditary and can be transmitted from generation to generation. The first descendant generation of a narcoleptic parent tend to have a one in twenty probability of suffer this condition.
Problems suffered by people affected to this disorder
Due to this condition is not widely acknowledged, many patients may experience many difficulties for years before being diagnosed. This situation is hard to understand for people who lives or interacts with them and for the patients for whom every aspect of the illness is unknown. Narcoleptics are for example, usually late for work and normally are seen as lazy for others and for themselves. This may lead to low self-esteem, separation from the family, and other psychological problems.
Symptoms of Narcolepsy
Each patient can go trough a different process in terms of the appearance and severity of the symptoms of this rare desease. It may take years since a symptom appear until the next is presented. Also these may appear without a specific order. Usually, the signs are mild at first, gradually increasing severity over time. Changes in the severity of the symptoms can take place very fast, as well as there can be no change for months and even years.
The most serious symptoms of narcolepsy are Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) and Cataplexy, the rest of the symptoms are less common compared with these two, do not cause serious difficulties, and is common to find regular people who suffers from them.
The following is a detailed list of the narcolepsy symptoms:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) It is often expressed as tiredness, somnolence, lethargy, low energy, and a tendency of falling asleep. It is commonly the first symptom of the condition. A pathological sleepiness is always present, but the intensity may be different each day, and the affected is aware only of the most severe episodes. The total sleep time per day is normal, but it is the persistent sleepiness what is unusual.
Narcoleptics has the same difficulty resisting sleepiness as normal people may have when can’t sleep enough, with the difference that a person with this condition will continue suffering from this problem, no matter how much they sleep. EDS is evident when, the patient falls asleep at improper moments and times, like during a conversation, attending classes or when eating.
- Cataplexy is defined as a sudden and transient episode of muscle weakness, typically triggered by emotions related to laughter, anger, terror, or surprise. These attacks may occur as a mild muscle weakness or up to a complete loss of control over the muscles. A cataplectic episode can lead to a physical collapse, in which the affected cannot move or speak, although is aware of what is happening.
- Hypnagogic hallucinations are intense and vivid experiences that occurs in the transition from wakefulness to sleep. Any of the senses may be involved, so the person may hear sounds that are not there and see visual hallucinations. It can be hard identify the reality and can often be bizarre or disturbing.
- Sleep paralysis is a temporary condition in which a person is incapable of move, even if he or she wish to do it. This may occur when the affected is falling asleep or awakening. If a sleep paralysis is presented together with a hypnagogic hallucination may be terrifying experience.
- Automatic behavior is presented when we do things without awareness and control of the activities performed. This activities can include conversations, sit up and even open the eyes and in general, we are unable to recall any detail in particular of these episodes.
- Disrupted nighttime sleep is when a person wakes up many times during the night. The causes range from having frightening dreams, the need to urinate, and/or a brief stop of breathing (Sleep Apnea). Awakenings may also occur without a known cause. or can be due to hungry or the need of eat something sweet.
- Sleep apnea Even when is not considered as a symptom, it is frequent to find narcolepsy with sleep apnea in those who suffer from this disorder. Sleep apnea is characterized by a repetitive stopping in breathing when sleeping, usually accompanied by loud snoring. While sleeping, the affected is not aware of any breathing problem.
Is there a treatment for Narcolepsy?
As mentioned before, there is no cure for narcolepsy and the symptoms can be treated with medication. However a complete and adequate treatment is not available yet. Also, a therapeutic plan which includes changes in lifestyle should be implemented for each specific case in order to help the patient stay awake during the day and to have a normal life.
Where and how to get help?
Narcolepsy should be diagnosed by a sleep specialist and is relatively easy when all the symptoms are present, but is more difficult when the signs are mild or incomplete (for example, diagnose narcolepsy without cataplexy). Along with a clinical history, patients may need to go through several overnight tests in a sleep facility.
Insomnia facts, symptoms, causes and recommendations
Insomnia is a sleep disorder defined as the incapacity to get a refreshing and enough sleep at night, in such a way that prevents you to carry out your everyday tasks. Normally everybody can suffer from a sleepless night now and then, but this problem (when it is occasional) cannot be called insomnia. Scientific studies conducted over animals indicates that an extended insomnia can stunt the growth of the body and alter its ability to repair.
It is known that a person spends approximately one third of his lifetime sleeping, also is known that there is no a fully comprehension of what happens to ourselves during this huge part of our lives. Probably, the healthy amount of sleep that a person needs is just the time that makes this person feel rested and refreshed to start a new day. Less or more than this, can make us feel upset, tired or angry.
Which are the symptoms of Insomnia?
- Trouble in falling asleep and waking up several times during the night or when is still too early in the morning.
- When a person sleeps less than needed.
- Difficulty to initiating sleep (DIS).
- Difficulty to maintaining sleep (DMS).
What causes Insomnia?
People diagnosed with insomnia may feel relaxed but can have a hard time to sleep due to a debility of the sleep system. The sleep and wake rhythm tends to be more easily disturbed as we age. Normally when we grow older, is increasingly hard to sleep the whole night, or its opposite which is to stay awake during the day. For more information about how to diagnose Insomnia visit the Sleep Foundation.
Insomnia is classified according to its duration and cause, into the following types:
- Transient: is a short term condition that lasts from one day to a week. It can be caused by being worried due to an important event like a job interview or because of jet lag after a long airplane trip.
- Short-term: This can last from one to three weeks, normally is related with stress caused by family or work, also due to an illness or pain.
- Long-term: Is presented when this condition lasts several months or even years. It is often related to psychiatric conditions, alcoholism, chronic drug abuse or dependence, sleep apnea, nocturnal myoclonus or restless legs, among other causes.
A different kinds of insomnia
- Insomnia related to sleep apnea: Is a condition where a person stops breathing from a few seconds to 2 minutes, this happens many times when sleeping. After each episode, the person may be scared and wake up, which leads to have an interrupted sleep.
- Insomnia caused by medicines, alcohol and other substances: Some medicines, alcohol, or illegal drugs are considered depressants of the central nervous system and causes insomnia. Research among users of these depressants, like tranquilizers, develop a fail at their sleep patterns regarding to the REM/Non-REM sleep cycle. It is necessary, to return to a normal sleep state that patients with insomnia are stabilized by gradually decreasing the doses until the depressor is not needed. This is usually a slow process.
Stimulants of the central nervous system, such as amphetamines or an excessive intake of caffeinated beverages, antidepressants and medication for asthma, can lead the patient to feel burdened by sleepiness during the day and being unable to sleep well at night. Alcohol abusers develop a similar sleep pattern as older people, with multiple awakenings during the night, stage changes, and the inability of a restful sleep because this is superficial and interrupted. In addition time in bed may be increased and the sleep/wake rhythm gets confused, which results in excessive daytime sleepiness, and difficulty to sleep at night. Former Alcoholics with two years of abstinence still may suffer from sleep disturbances. Remains unknown if these sleep problems are because of a permanent damage caused by alcohol.
- Insomnia associated with restless legs: Both myoclonus and restless legs, leads to a latent sleep disturbance, that may cause insomnia.
What can be done to have a healthy and restful sleep?
There is no a simple or unique treatment for insomnia due to its different causes. Nevertheless the following recommendations are helpful to maintain a healthy sleep hygiene:
- Try to sleep only as many hours as you need in order to feel refreshed and with enough energy during the day. More than that tends to be linked to a superficial sleep.
- Wake up on an specific hour in the morning, no matter the hour you fall asleep the previous night. This will create a consistent sleep/wake cycle and after some time you will feel sleepy at the same hour at night.
- Practice a sport or exercise on a regular basis every day (Occasional exercise does not improve sleep). The best hours are early in the morning or afternoon, and avoid extreme physical activities late in the evening or before go to bed, because this will stimulate your body being hard relax for sleep.
- Use a bedroom that remains quiet and dark during the night, where you feel comfortable. Lights and loud noises disturb sleep even when you don’t wake up or not remember having heard or felt anything.
- Adjust the thermostat to a pleasant temperature for you.
- Go to bed only when you feel sleepy. Before bedtime it is recommended to do some activity to help you relax.
- Try to eat a light dinner. it’s hard to sleep after a heavy meal.
- Sleeping pills may help you sleep, but remember that they become ineffective after a while, use them only when are prescribed by your doctor.
- Do not take naps during the day, because you will be less sleepy at night.
- Avoid Caffeine at night.
- Alcohol may help you to fall asleep, but will be a superficial sleep.
- Avoid smoking. It is known that tobacco abuse is a cause of insomnia.
- Avoid stress when is time to sleep, by trying to don’t overthink about your problems or the activities you have to do the next day. If you are unable to sleep, wake up and do something different like read a book.
The Mayo Clinic provides additional information about treatment and drugs that can help you to recover a normal sleep.