Quality sleep is an essential component to the health and wellbeing of individuals. While asleep, the body renews and refreshes itself, allowing the brain to properly function. Establishing a normal sleep schedule enhances the brain’s ability to focus, learn and problem solve, leading to increased productivity in everyday activities. In addition to mental health, the body also completes processes that support physical health. Sleep helps to balance hormones, repair organs and tissues, improve immune system function and renew energy levels.
Sleep disorders are caused by both internal and external factors. Primary sleep disorders are those not linked to other diseases, secondary sleep disorders are caused by other medical problems or the medications used to treat them. Certain types of disorders are more prevalent in children, males, or certain families and races, while others can affect anyone. Finally, some sleep disorders are fairly benign and require only minor treatment while others can significantly impact quality and length of life.
When an individual is sleep deprived, the normal functions of the body are interrupted or halted, which can be dangerous to health. If you have one or more of the 80 sleep disorders, know that you are not alone. Approximately 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorder, and an additional 20 million suffer from occasional sleep disorder.
The first step in sleep disorder treatment is recognizing that a problem exists and seeking a qualified sleep physician. Often those suffering from a sleep disorder only recognize that they are not sleeping well because of the tiredness they feel during the day or the frustration they have while lying awake at night. Unfortunately, many people just accept that their sleep is poor. Treatment of a sleep disorder requires an accurate diagnosis, often requiring significant testing including questionnaires, sleep diaries, and sleep studies. Treatments may range from behavior changes to medical devices and medication, depending on the diagnosis.