Insomnia--difficulty falling or staying asleep-- is a common sleep problem and can be caused by a wide variety of things from chronic pain to asthma to psychiatric conditions. Insomnia can be treated by improving sleep hygiene; however, if the insomnia is not helped by this alone, talk to your doctor or therapist about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for insomnia and/or medication.
Additionally, insomnia could be a symptom of an underlying physical or psychological condition so it is important to talk to a doctor if symptoms persist.
Sleep apnea is closely related to insomnia. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes partially or entirely constricted during sleep, causing the individual to wake repeatedly during the night due to the drop in oxygen levels.
If you experience sleep apnea, you should discuss this with your doctor or a sleep specialist.
Narcolepsy is rare neurological disorder affecting 1 in every 2,000 people. The common symptoms of narcolepsy include excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep paralysis and hallucinations, intense dreaming, and muscle weakness or cataplexy. Narcolepsy is also associated with higher risk of obesity and developing depression. Narcolepsy can be treated with medication and practicing healthy sleep habits.
This category refers to sleep disorders in which the individual's sleep patterns do not follow a normal sleep-wake cycle, such as Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase or Irregular Sleep-Wake Rhythm. For more information on these disorders, click here.
PLMD is characterized by repetitive body movements, typically in the legs, that occur every 20-40 seconds during sleep. They often cluster into episodes. PLMD can contribute to insomnia or daytime tiredness. Additionally, this can be a symptom of another medical condition, such as diabetes or anemia. Treatment typically involves medication and is only necessary if it is causing excessive daytime fatigue, insomnia, or is accompanied by Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).
RBD causes an individual to act out their dreams, engaging in talking, shouting, walking, or other activities associated with waking. This can potentially cause injury to the individuals and others. It is typically treated with medication.
Sleep hygiene is an important factor in mental health, managing mental illness, and managing sleep disorders. Some ways to improve your sleep hygiene include:
For more information on why we sleep and how to improve your sleep quality, check out this playlist of Ted Talks dedicated to this very topic.
These contemplative reflections by a Benedictine monk make for perfect bedtime (or midnight) reading. Insomnia can be a lonely and frustrating condition; if you're overwhelmed, it may help to welcome Christ into your struggles with some spiritual reading.
This website introduces you to cognitive behavioral techniques that can help improve your sleep quality.
For further information on the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, consult the Mayo Clinic website.
Tuck Sleep is a comprehensive online resource on sleep health and improving sleep hygiene. Check out their website for information on improving your sleep, the relationship between sleep and mental illness, and more.