Did you know that one in four American adults has some type of sleep problem? From fatigue and slowed reflexes to impaired mental acuity and even depression, lack of restful and restorative sleep can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Below are just a few of the health-related issues caused by sleep disorders:
During sleep, a person with sleep apnea has periods when they briefly stop breathing. Sleep apnea is often associated with loud snoring, snorting or even gasping for breath. Because it interrupts normal sleep cycles, people with sleep apnea often experience daytime sleepiness, memory and other intellectual difficulties, and depression.
It is estimated there are over 20 million people in the U.S. with some form of sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in health issues such as high blood pressure, stroke, irregular heartbeats, diabetes, obesity and heart attack.
This disorder involves uncontrollable bouts of excessive sleepiness. Sufferers may fall asleep suddenly while performing routine tasks such as driving.
Up to one third of the U.S. population experiences insomnia or difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Symptoms include daytime sleepiness, fatigue, poor concentration, decreased alertness, muscle aches, depression and an over-emotional state. Most of us experience occasional insomnia due to stress, illness, temporary pain or disruption in sleep/wake cycles. When the insomnia problem persists long enough to interfere with daily life, consultation with a health professional is often needed.
Restless Leg Syndrome
With restless leg syndrome, legs (and even arms) move involuntarily during sleep. Often, uncomfortable sensations in the legs lead to an irresistible need to move the legs, which prevents the person from falling asleep. Patients with this disorder may complain of insomnia, excessive sleepiness or both.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your physician may recommend sleep therapy.