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Essay/Term paper: Sleeping disorders

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Medicine

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Sleeping Disorders

I am going to start by telling you what a sleeping disorder is. A
sleeping disorder is a problem that affects something to do with sleep. Not all
sleeping disorders have symptoms that are obvious to a person or their family
and friends, here are some common sleep disorders.

- Insomnia - Sleep Apnea - Narcolepsy - Restless Leg Syndrome - Parasomnia
- Bruxism - Jet Lag - Shiftwork

I will be discussing the sleeping disorders listed above and what
symptoms they can cause.

Insomnia is a chronic sleeping disorder in which it is very difficult to
start and continue sleeping. One of the other symptoms of insomnia that is most
recognized is waking up repeatedly in the middle of the night. Lack of sleep
leads to two other things, daytime fatigue and restlessness. These are bad on
the job and at school while doing tests or other important work.

The amount of sleep that each person needs to feel alert during the day
varies. If you have a night of sleep which is much less than the amount of
sleep you need, then you will more than likely feel quite sleepy the next day.
Thirty-three percent of adults in America have a case of insomnia at least once
in their life. Most cases only last one or two nights, but insomnia can
continue for weeks or possibly even months.

There have only been three standard types of insomnia that have been
identified by doctors. They are as follows:

- Transient insomnia is considered a few sleepless nights that is usually
brought on by stress, excitement, or environmental changes. A person could have
trouble sleeping the evening before a big meeting or shortly after a breakup or
a fight with his girlfriend. - Short-term insomnia is usually two or three
weeks of poor sleep caused by continual stress at work or at home, as well as
medical and psychiatric illnesses. Eliminating the source of the stress usually
takes care of the irregular sleep patterns - Chronic insomnia is considered
poor sleep that lasts two weeks or longer. It can possibly be related to
medical, behavioral, or psychiatric problems. Usually poor sleep leads to
decreased feelings of well-being. Chronic insomnia can usually recur.

If difficulty sleeping was the only problem with insomnia, then it
wouldn't be so bad. Some of the other problems it can cause is anxiety in
noticeably impaired concentration and memory. To keep episodes of insomnia at a
minimum, sleep specialists recumbent practicing good sleep hygiene.

There is another sleeping disorder called Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea is
not really problems with going to sleep, it is more dealing with problems while
you are sleeping. Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea include

- loud or irregular snoring - excessive daytime sleepiness - repeated nightly
arousals - non-refreshing sleep - morning headache - nightly periodic absent

Loud snoring at night can be more than just a nuisance. It can actually
signal to you that something could be wrong with breathing during sleep. In
most cases, there are no serious medical consequences associated with snoring.
But for about 20 million Americans, this loud, habitual snoring can indicate a
life-threatening disorder know as sleep apnea. An apnea is actually a lack of

For most people during sleep, it is normal for the breathing muscles to
relax. The problem is, for some people, excessive muscle relaxation occurs
which disrupts breathing. Disordered breathing during sleep also can occur if
the brain stops sending the needed messages to the breathing muscles. In either
case, the presence of apnea should be taken seriously.

Sleep apnea is more common in middle-aged men and overweight people.
People with sleep apnea often complain of insomnia or excessive daytime
sleepiness. Waking up with headaches is another symptom of sleep apnea. So is
impaired memory and concentration. Problems arising from sleep apnea can
include heart and lung disease, and can also cause heart failure in severe cases.

There are three typical forms of sleep apnea, with varying degrees of
respiratory movements.

- Obstructive Apnea is the most common and severe form. It is associated with
an upper airway obstruction and a loss of airflow even though the respiratory
muscles are active. When muscles of the soft palate at the base of the tongue
and uvula relax and sag, the block the airway and cause loud, labored breathing.
When breathing stops, pressure builds up until the sleeper lets out a gasp for
air. Each gasp causes a mini-awakening. People with obstructive apnea can stop
breathing for 10 seconds or more, several hundred times a night. Snoring is
present. - Central Apnea is when the airway remains open but the diaphragm and
chest muscles stop working. As oxygen levels in the blood stream decrease, the
sleeper will awaken and resume breathing. Several awakenings during the course
of a night usually occur, sometimes accompanied by gasps or choking sounds.
Complaints of insomnia and an inability to maintain sleep are common. Snoring
will not necessarily be present. - Mixed apnea occurs when the sleeper
experiences a brief period of central apnea normally followed by a longer period
of obstructive apnea. For this reason people with mixed apnea often snore. Mixed
apnea is common among people with sleep apnea.

Treatment for sleep apnea varies depending on the type of apnea and the
individual patient needs. Sleep apnea syndrome caused by the soft tissue of the
throat collapsing during sleep is often treated with a device known as CPAP
(Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). The compressor creates air pressure that
is sent through the airway of the sleep apnea patient, keeping it open to allow
the patient to sleep and breathe normally.

Parasomnias are a type of sleep disorder that can intrude into or
interrupt the sleep process. The are disorders of arousal, partial arousal and
sleep-stage transition. The following are common examples of parasomnias.


Episodes of sleepwalking can range from a person sitting up in bed to
more complex activities like preparing a meal. Although the sleepwalker may be
unaware of their environment, they often show an ability to navigate through
their house or wherever they may be without serious harm. However, there is a
danger of the sleeper falling or walking outside. Trying to stop a sleepwalker
is often met with resistance. Sleepwalkers can experience emotional distress and
embarrassment because of their nighttime activities, keeping them from staying
with friends or vacationing. Sleepwalking is most common in children and
normally disappears with the coming of puberty.

Sleep Talking

While sleeping, a person may begin talking without reason. The sleeper
may say a comprehensible speech, single words or other sounds. Typically, the
sleep talker is not aware of what they are saying. The talking is often said
without emotion, but can be associated with stressful shouting. Other than the
irritation or distress it may cause loved ones, sleep talking is harmless. It is
often a temporary phenomenon brought on by stress or illness, but it can
continue for many years. Sleep talking frequently occurs with other sleep
disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea and sleep terrors.

Sleep Eating

The causes of sleep-related eating are many. Most of them arise from a
background of more conventional sleepwalking. In some cases, the sleep-related
eating was brought on by medications prescribed for depression or insomnia. It
may be a display of other sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea or
periodic limb movements. The "sleep-related eating disorder" has only recently
been described. Common concerns about this disorder are excessive weight gain,
choking while eating, potential injury from starting fires while cooking or
cutting oneself while preparing food, and sleep disruption. Approximately two-
thirds of those afflicted with this disorder are women and the symptoms
typically begin in the late 20s. The overwhelming majority do not suffer from a
waking eating disorder.

Sleeping disorders can be very weird, I did not know that until I wrote
this paper. I was not aware that people could eat in their sleep, I thought
that only happened in TV I have learned a great deal from this paper and I hope
you did also.


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