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Sleep Disorders – Causes and What to Do About It

You have already counted thousands of sheep, drank the third cup of sleep the and you have read the hundredth side of the book. Anyways, you still do not find rest. The bad news: If you do not get enough energy through sleep, caused by problems of falling and remaining asleep, you feel tired all day long. What are the causes of sleeping disorders? And more important – What can you do to get your sleep on a higher quality level?

In Germany millions of people suffer from sleep disorders. Around 35 per cent of working adults said that they had problems in the last four weeks for at least three days to fall or remain asleep. About 25 percent had a decreased quality of sleep. If those both groups are combined and the numbers are summed up, almost every tenth suffers from sleeping disorders. The problems must last for over three or four weeks to talk about a sleeping disorder.

What are the causes of a sleep disorder?

The causes for being sleepless are manifold: Stress, bad sleeping habits, physical and mental disorders, or an unbalanced biorhythm. Women show symptoms of sleeping disorders more often – especially during pregnancy or menopause. Hormonal changes while puberty could also decrease the quality of sleep.
Those are the causes of sleep disorders:

  • Bad sleeping habits

    The ideal quality of sleep does not come out of nothing. There are plenty sources of interference for that: lightning conditions, temperature, or sources of noise. However, yourself could also be the cause for not being able to sleep. For example, through irregular sleeping times, mental effort before going to bed, or intense sport.

  • Personal problems and sleep disorders

    Nothing is more stressful than personal problems, no matter if in job or private: Someone, who worries, is brooding more and falls and remains asleep harder. The thoughts are spinning endlessly and the fear about the following night starts in the evening. Do you suffer from stress too? Let us find out here.

  • Nocturnal breathing disorders

    About two to five percent of the population suffers from breathing disorders. If it comes to nocturnal breathing disorders, the person stops breathing for a while. In this pause (apnoea) there is not enough oxygen in the bloodstream. Most people suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea. On the end of a breathing pause, a startle or wakening reaction occurs. The body release stress and the result are insomnia. A feeling of being empty and tired is following the next day.

  • Drug or medication consumption

    If you consume drugs, alcohol, or medication regularly, it could develop into sleeping disorders. Either, because they activate the body too much, because of the side effects, or because they stop deep sleep or remaining asleep. A simple, but not a good solution is sleeping pills. A person can get addicted to them, and the sleeping disorders could get even worse.

  • Psychiatric diseases

    Sleeping disorders are often symptoms of a mental disorder, especially for depression. While depressed people have problems with falling or remaining asleep, people with an anxiety disorder have problems with falling asleep. Sleeping disorders are also a symptom of dementia. Dement people often sleep during the day, and afterwards they cannot sleep at night.

  • Physical illnesses

    Sleeping disorders often go along with physical illnesses. Therefore, it is important to get a check from a doctor:

    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Strokes
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Thyroid disease
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Cancer

The different kinds of sleep disorders

Insomnia has different forms. There are about 80 different sleeping disorders.

  • Sleep-related breathing disorders

    These include different forms of sleep apnoea, where it comes to many breathings pauses every night.

  • Insomnias

    Insomnias are for example problems with falling and remaining asleep, waking up too early in the morning and chronical bad sleep quality. Those are the most common forms of sleeping disorders.

  • Circadian sleep-wake arrhythmias

    These arrhythmias are for example triggered by travelling to another time zone (jetlag). Other reasons could be shift work, organic causes, or substance abuse.

  • Parasomnias

    Causes for parasomnias are for example sleep walking, nightmares, or unconscious emptying of the bladder. Parasomnias lead to episodic sleep interruptions at night.

What does help against sleep disorders?

Insomnia could have many causes. That is why it is important to find out the real ones. The first step is to go to a family doctor. Do not say yes to the “easiest way” of treatment: sleeping pills. More important is, to find out the causes for your insomnia. For problems with falling asleep, there is another treatment than for problems with remaining asleep.

Rituals are important – because humans are creatures of habit. If you dim the light one hour before you go to sleep and drink a warm glass of milk with honey, your body gets used to it. Furthermore, if you read some sides of a book and switch off your phone, important steps are taken. Relaxation techniques like autogenic training help as well. Things you must avoid before going to bed, are: Physical exertion, emotional excitement, alcohol, or coffee and artificial light.

Here are the most essential tips against sleeping problems you can print:

Sleeping Disorder - Tips for Restfull Sleep

Of course, there are sleeping pills, which are only available on prescription. You can get addicted to them very much. This is the reason why you should only use them if nothing else worked so far. Have you ever tried cognitive behavioural therapy so far? Start with the first step, and you will reach your goal. We wish you to sleep well.


Photo source: (c) iStock.com/Phoenixns

Published on: 15. September 2020
Stress - Nicole Inez Fuchs