Sleep is essential to every individual’s life. It helps people to function normally and healthily everyday. On the other hand, there are different kinds of sleep problems that one can encounter which could be detrimental to his or her well-being, and they are called sleep disorders. According to the American Psychiatric Association, sleep disorders are major disturbances of normal sleep patterns that can interrupt the functioning of an individual in his or her day to day activities (cited in Wagner, 2005).
There are four major kinds of sleep disorders that a person can have and suffer from. The most prevalent sleep disorder is insomnia. According to Sleep National Foundation (SNF), about 60% of the Americans suffer from this disorder. Insomnia pertains to the inability to get a good quality and right quantity of sleep, and it can be caused by various factors such as stress, change in time zones, poor bedtime habits and certain medical conditions. Symptoms of insomnia include, having a hard time to sleep, waking up in the middle of sleep, and waking spontaneously early in the morning.
Sleeping pills and behavior therapy can help treat this sleep disorder. Another type of sleep disorder is sleep apnea, and approximately 20 million Americans are affected by it. It is a condition wherein a person suddenly stops breathing while asleep. This condition happens when the person wakes up to breath and tries to grasp for air because the sleeper suffers from lack of oxygen during the period of sleep. Symptoms of apnea are; loud snoring, gasping or chocking for air to breathe, gaps in breathing, and waking up with the feeling of tiredness.
Causes of apnea are usually related to the physical nature of a person such as being obese, having large tonsils, and nasal congestion. Preventive measures are necessary in order to stop sleep apnea, such as trying to lose weight (for the obese) and elevating the head while sleeping (Lavie, et al. , 2002). Narcolepsy is also a major sleep disorder. It is a type of neurological disorder that can cause chronic sleepiness and can make a person sleep suddenly without any warning, even while doing a certain activity like walking and driving.
The sleep can last for a minute to half an hour. It is said that people with narcolepsy lack a certain brain chemical that regulates sleep. Symptoms of narcolepsy are excessive daytime sleepiness, uncontrollable sleep episodes, and sudden loss of muscle control during emotional situations. The causes of narcolepsy can be genetic and may also be triggered by environmental factors. Treatment includes medication, behavioral treatment, and counseling.
Lastly, sleepwalking and night tremors are also classified as a major sleep disorder. This disorder is common among kids. It is a condition wherein the person walks while sleeping (Wagner, 2005). It is important to know the different types of sleep disorders so that people will be aware of the effects and consequences of having sleep problems. Since sleep is very important to human beings, they should always try to have a good quality of sleep everyday to be able to function normally in their daily activities.