Some of the most common painful or dysfunctional issues involving the face, mouth and jaw should not go untreated but should be evaluated by an oral medicine professional. This specialty branch of dentistry helps address these issues in patients who have developed complications due to behavioral patterns, medical and dental history, or hereditary conditions. In…
4 Common Sleep Disorders
A sleep disorder can manifest in many ways. Although there are over 70 known sleep disorders, some are more prevalent than others.
Common sleep disorders
The following are four common sleep disorders:
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. Almost half of the population experiences symptoms occasionally, and approximately 10% of Americans have reported a chronic case of insomnia. Poor sleep quality is the major indication of insomnia and may include one or more of the following:
- Problems sleeping at night
- Waking abruptly in the middle of the night with trouble getting back to sleep
- Waking prematurely in the morning
Poor sleep quality can cause difficulties with the person’s daily routine. The reported symptoms of insomnia are poor concentration, daytime drowsiness, mood and behavior disturbances, forgetfulness, lack of energy, poor performance at work or school, depression and trouble with relationships.
Insomnia is classified based on the duration of the symptoms and the frequency. Acute insomnia is suffering from sleep loss over a short period, ranging from a night to a few weeks. Chronic insomnia is when the person suffers poor sleep quality for about three nights weekly for a month or longer. The causes of insomnia can be traced to stress and anxiety, medical or psychiatric disorders or environment influences.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the second most common sleep disorder. According to the American Association of Sleep Medicine, the condition affects up to 20 million Americans, with up to 80% of all cases going undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is the most commonly treated sleep disorder.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that causes one's breathing to stop, lasting for a few seconds throughout the night — due to inhibitions in the upper respiratory system. While sleeping, the soft tissues of the oral cavity collapse into the air passage, preventing oxygen from reaching the lungs. A partial blockage causes snoring and full blockage stops breathing, triggering the brain to wake up.
This episode can repeat itself several times during the night and prevents the brain from reaching the deeper phases of sleep required to restore body functions. This causes the patient to feel fatigued throughout the day. Also, the respiratory effort to restart breathing during sleep is stressful for the heart and can cause different kinds of cardiological problems.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
RLS is a neurological disorder that causes a persistent or overwhelming need to shake their legs (or sometimes, other body parts) during sleep. Patients often describe the feeling as creeping, itching, burning, throbbing and aching, and the only way to get relief is moving or massaging the legs. It is classified as a sleep disorder because the compulsive need to move the legs can severely affect the ability to sleep or stay asleep.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder, where the brain is unable to control the sleep or wakefulness cycle. This condition causes daytime sleepiness, causing the patient to sleep unexpectedly, regardless of the activity they are undertaking. The symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), cataplexy, sleep paralysis, disturbed nocturnal sleep and hallucinations.
If you are exhibiting the signs of a sleep disorder, it is advisable to talk with a dental sleep specialist. If the dentist believes there is a sleep disorder, they will recommend the appropriate treatment for the condition.
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