What are sleep disorders?
Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that impair the ability to sleep well regularly. Regardless of whether they are caused by a health problem or by too much stress, sleep disorders are becoming more and more common in Germany. According to the DAK Health Report 2017, 34 million German citizens sleep poorly in Germany. One in ten suffers from severe insomnia. In the worst case, this can lead to so-called sleep apnea. Often, sufferers try to get to grips with their sleep problems with sleeping pills or other sleeping pills.
Most people occasionally have sleep problems due to stress, hectic schedules and other external influences. However, if these problems occur regularly and affect daily life, they may indicate a sleep disorder.
Depending on the type of sleep disorder, people may have difficulty falling asleep and thus suffer from increased fatigue throughout the day. Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on energy, mood, concentration and overall health.
In some cases, sleep disorders can be a symptom of another medical or mental health condition. These sleep problems can eventually disappear once treatment for the underlying cause has taken place. If sleep disorders are not caused by another condition, then treatment usually involves a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes.
It is important to receive immediate diagnosis and treatment if you have a suspected sleep disorder. If left untreated, the negative effects of sleep disorders can lead to further health consequences. They can also affect your work performance, strain relationships, and affect your ability to perform daily activities.
What are the symptoms of sleep disorders?
Symptoms may vary depending on the severity and type of sleep disorder. They may also vary if sleep disturbances are due to another condition. However, common symptoms of sleep disorders include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Irritability or anxiety
- Lack of concentration
What causes sleep disturbances?
There are many conditions, diseases and disorders that can cause sleep disturbances. In many cases, sleep disorders develop due to an underlying health problem.
Allergies & Breathing Problems
Allergies, colds and upper respiratory tract infections can make breathing difficult at night. The inability to breathe through the nose can also lead to sleep disturbances.
Constant pain can make it difficult to fall asleep. It could even wake you up after you’ve fallen asleep. Some of the most common causes of chronic pain are:
- chronic fatigue
- inflammatory bowel disease
- Persistent headaches
- Persistent pain in the lower back
In some cases, chronic pain can even be exacerbated by sleep disturbances. For example, doctors believe that the development of fibromyalgia (chronic disease with muscle and tendon pain) could be associated with sleep problems.
Nykturia or frequent urination can disrupt your sleep by waking up at night. Hormonal imbalances and urinary tract disorders can contribute to the development of this condition (call your doctor immediately if frequent urination is caused by bleeding or pain).
Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety often have a negative effect on sleep quality. It can be difficult for you to fall asleep or fall asleep. Nightmares, sleep conversations or sleepwalking can also disrupt your sleep.
What are the different types of sleep disorders?
There are numerous different types of sleep disorders. Some may be caused by other underlying health conditions.
Insomnia refers to the inability to fall asleep or sleep through. It can be caused by jet lag, stress and anxiety, hormones or digestive problems. It can also be a symptom of another condition. Insomnia can be very problematic for your overall health and quality of life, potentially causing:
- Lack of concentration
- Weight gain
- Declineine performance at work or school
Unfortunately, insomnia is very common in Germany. About 40 percent of German adults experience it at some point in their lives. The disorder is most common in older adults and women.
Insomnia is usually classified as one of three types:
- chronic, i.e. if insomnia occurs regularly for at least one month
- intermittent when insomnia occurs at regular intervals
- temporary if insomnia lasts only a few nights at a time
Sleep apnea is characterized by breathing pauses during sleep. This is a serious disease in which the body absorbs less oxygen. It can also cause you to wake up at night. We have summarized our own article on sleep apnea. You can find it at the following link
Parasomnias are a class of sleep disorders that lead to abnormal movements and behaviors during sleep. They include:
- talking in sleep
- Teeth gnashing or biting the jaw
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is an overwhelming need to move the legs. This urge is sometimes accompanied by a tingling sensation in the legs. While these symptoms can occur during the day, they are most common at night. RLS is often associated with certain health conditions, including ADHD and Parkinson’s,but the exact cause is not always known.
Narcolepsy is characterized by “sleep attacks”that occur during the day. This means that you suddenly feel extremely tired and fall asleep without warning. The disorder can also lead to sleep paralysis, which can prevent you from physically moving after waking up. Although narcolepsy can occur on its own, it is also associated with certain neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis.
How are sleep disorders diagnosed?
There are different approaches to getting to the bottom of your sleep problem.
There are now various APPs, fitness trackers and similar devices to monitor your sleep behavior. The main problem, however, is that one of the most important readings does not measure the percentage of blood oxygen,also known as oxygen saturation (SpO2). With ourCIRCUL™ ring it is possible to measure the oxygen saturation (SpO2),the heart rate as well as the ODI (oxygen saturation index) throughout the sleep. Daduch it is possible to determine a much more accurate statement about your sleep quality. The CIRCUL™ Ring is not comparable to a medical examination, but gives you a good indication whether a professional examination by a doctor (read more below) makes sense.
At the doctor
Your doctor will first perform a physical examination and collect information about your symptoms and medical history. You will also order various tests, including:
A sleep studythat assesses oxygen levels, body movements and brain waves to determine how they disrupt sleep
A test that evaluates electrical activity in the brain and detects possible problems related to this activity
Genetic blood testing
A blood testcommonly used to diagnose narcolepsy and other underlying health conditions that can cause sleep problems
These tests can be critical to determine the correct course of treatment for sleep disorders.
How are sleep disorders treated?
Treatment of sleep disorders may vary depending on the type and underlying cause. However, it generally includes a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes.
Medical treatment of insomnia may include:
- Sleeping pills
- Melatonin preparations
- Allergy or cold medications
- Medicines for all underlying health problems
- Breathing apparatus or surgery (usually for sleep apnea)
- a dental protection (usually for gnashing of teeth)
Changing the style of life
Lifestyle adjustments can significantly improve your sleep quality, especially when performed with medical treatments. You may want to consider the following:
- Add more vegetables and fish to your diet and reduce sugar intake
- Reduce stress and anxiety through training
- Create and stick to a regular sleep plan
- Drink less water before bed
- Limit your caffeine intake, especially in the late afternoon or evening
- Reducing tobacco and alcohol consumption
- Eat smaller low-carb meals before bed
If you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, your sleep quality can also improve significantly. While you may be tempted to sleep on weekends, this can make it difficult to wake up and fall asleep during the working week.
Use theCIRCUL™ Sleep Tracker Ring to adjust your behavior. For example, leave alcohol away for a few days, reduce your weight, exercise more or change your sleeping and eating habits. If you find that your sleep result (CIRCUL Sleep Report) has improved, you are on the right track.
Take a look at our 11 tips & tricks in which we give you helpful recommendations for better sleep behavior.
What is the outlook for someone with a sleep disorder?
The effects of sleep disorders can be so disruptive that you probably want immediate relief. Unfortunately, the resolution of long-term cases may take a little longer. However, if you stick to your treatment plan and communicate regularly with your doctor, you can eventually find a way to sleep better. With the CIRCUL™ ring, you can even easily share your sleep results with your doctor via an app.