Common Sleep Problems
There are many treatable reasons why sleep may be a problem. Some of the
most frequent include:
Insomnia or Up all Night – Regardless of its cause or the form it takes—difficulty
falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or waking too early in the
morning—insomnia is the most common of all sleep disorders and is
Snoring – No joke, habitual snoring can indicate a potentially life-threatening
condition known as sleep apnea. A person with sleep apnea may stop breathing
anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute—dozens of times
each night. The interruptions in breathing cause dangerous heartbeat changes,
increases in blood pressure and heart enlargement. Unaware of the problem,
most apnea sufferers wake up fatigued and drained despite having spent
eight or nine hours in bed.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) – Uncomfortable leg sensations that make it difficult to fall asleep
or stay asleep may be RLS. RLS affects an estimated 4 million Americans,
yet most are unaware of the cause of their insomnia and constant fatigue.
Falling Asleep During the Day: Narcolepsy – Uncontrollably falling asleep while having dinner, talking, driving
or working is typical of a chronic neurological disorder. Narcolepsy is
often inherited and can be successfully treated.
Coping with Shift Work – From manufacturers to pilots, sleepiness or fatigue caused by
disrupted sleep patterns can lead to more frequent workplace errors and
injuries. Shift workers also face greater health risks, such as gastrointestinal
and cardiovascular disease, as well as increases in alcohol and tranquilizer use.
Children are affected too – Children display sleep deprivation very differently than adults:
poor concentration, inattentiveness, moodiness, hyperactivity, and low
academic performance are common symptoms. Remarkably, chronically fatigued
children are often less willing to go to bed than their well-rested counterparts
and are twice as likely to have trouble falling asleep. Early intervention
is important because children typically do not “grow out of”