While we’ve all seen too many TV specials on strange sleep disorders that seem completely and totally outrageous, have you ever wondered what the most common sleep disorders among adults are these days? The answer to this question may surprise you, since you were probably unaware that some of the issues are considered disorders.
Discovery Health does a great job of breaking down the most common sleep disorders plaguing adults today.
Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder – This sleep disorder in its mildest form, is simply having difficulty waking up in the morning. It’s most prevalent in teenagers and young adults. Any of you who have the pleasure of living with an adolescent know how difficult it can be to wake them up in the morning. While more severe cases can be a sign of depression, for the most part, people grow out of delayed sleep phase disorder as they mature and become members of the “real world”.
Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder – This sleep disorder occurs when a person falls asleep early (before 9:00 p.m.) and wakes up around 3:00 a.m. and can’t fall back asleep. While delayed sleep phase disorder is common in younger people, advanced sleep phase disorder is prevalent in older people. Some doctors believe that advanced sleep phase disorder isn’t even a disorder at all, but rather a natural part of the aging process.
Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Syndrome – In this condition, the person’s biological clock is 25 hours or longer, meaning that sleep and wake times are continually getting later.
Jet Lag – Also known as time-zone change, jet lag is a disruption in sleep patterns following travel across time zones. It occurs because the traveler’s internal “clock” is out of sync with the new time zone. Symptoms include difficulty falling asleep, difficulty arising, and disrupted sleep, all leading to daytime sleepiness, headache and general malaise. Jet lag is most common in people who travel often for work, especially those traveling east due to the fact that they lose hours of sleep.
Shift Work – The constant changing of sleep patterns among day, evening and night shifts has been linked to gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disease, increases in alcohol and tranquilizer use, and chronic sleep disorders. Over 20 million americans suffer from this disorder.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea is the temporary cessation of breathing due to the blockage of the upper airways during sleep. These brief obstructions result in many sleep interruptions each hour, which dramatically affects the quality of sleep. Since these awakenings are rarely remembered, sleep apnea sufferers are unaware of the source of their symptoms: daytime drowsiness, increased irritability or depression, decreased concentration and work productivity and even an increased number of traffic accidents.
Mild sleep disorders can usually be avoided by adjusting your bed time routine and sleep environment. Make sure you’re sleeping on natural bedding to ensure you get the most efficient night of sleep. Let us know if you have any other disorders plaguing you at night!
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