It seems like everybody I know suffers from insomnia. Now my teenage daughter has it. Is it really that common? How common is common when it comes to sleep disorders like these? Are there others?
How do we treat them?

 According to statistics, more than 40 million Americans suffer from one form of sleep disorder or another yearly. Sleep disorders interfere with normal sleep causing sleep deprivation or inadequate sleep. Sleep deprivation, in turn, results in daytime sleepiness, irritability, and inability to concentrate which affects physical and mental functioning.

There are more than a hundred types of identified sleep disorders and to make it easier to identify them, they are categorized into the following:

Dyssomnias – those that affect the amount and quality of sleep. This includes insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, hypersomnia, and circadian rhythm sleep disorder.

Parasomnias – these are abnormalities that occur during sleep stage transitions causing sleep interference.
Sleepwalking, sleeptalking, REM sleep behavior disorder, bedwetting, tooth grinding, sleep sex, sleep paralysis, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Sleep disorders caused by underlying medical and psychiatric conditions like dementia, depression, mood disorders, and alcoholism.

However, there are only four types of sleep disorders that commonly affect us today. I am sure you will agree with me when I say insomnia is one of them. This is followed by sleep apnea, more specifically, obstructive sleep apnea, Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and narcolepsy.

Sleep disorder treatments varies according to the type of disorder and its severity. It ranges from over-the-counter medications to regulated drugs to herbal medicine. However, most of these kinds of sleep disorder treatments are not advisable for long-term use. For obstructive sleep apnea, CPAP and surgery are the treatments of choice.

Common pharmacological sleep disorder treatments that are popular today includes Ambien, Dalmane, Halcion and Doral among others for insomnia, Effexor for anxiety that causes sleep disorders, and Strattera for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Medications such as these should be approved by a physician first since they can have harmful effects when not taken properly.

However, sleep disorder treatments does not only mean drug treatments. For insomnia, stress reduction is the best way to deal with it since stress is the common culprit for insomnia. Relaxation techniques and behavior modification can also prove to be very effective. For sleep apnea, other than CPAP and surgery, behavior modifications such avoidance of sedatives and relaxants and weight loss is also advised. For sleep disorders that have no specific treatment as of the Sleep problems moment, like narcolepsy, counseling may be effective to help the patient cope with the disease.

A good night’s sleep is very essential to help us be more productive and make the most out of each and every day that passes. If we fail to attain the correct amount and quality of sleep that we should be having, everything in our lives is affected: career, family, social life, and our personal health. Getting enough knowledge about sleep disorders and their treatments often helps us prevent the common negative effects that come along with them.

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