Some people say nothing could be easier than this – going to sleep and waking up the next day. But as per the American Sleep Association, for about 50-70 million Americans, it is much more complicated and awfully distressing to get sleep.
We all know how important sleep is for our mental and physical health. It is one of the most essential biological processes and contributes immensely toward our overall well-being. Interrupted, irregular and insufficient sleep is a problem that has been on the rise. Sleep deprivation has been linked with severe health issues, including heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney problems, and much more. In fact, according to a report by RAND corporation, sleep deprivation costs the USA $400 billion annually.
World Sleep Day is marked every year on the third Friday of March to highlight the critical issues related to sleep, including awareness about good sleeping habits and the social and economic aspects of sleep deprivation. World Sleep Day also aims to make people aware of the various sleep-related disorders and provide information about the treatment options available to affected individuals.
The majority of the population has little to no idea about the potential signs of sleep disorders. This forbids them from taking timely action and getting the right help for their issues. This World Sleep Day, let us look closer at the various signs of sleep disorders. If you have been struggling with sleep issues and wondering whether it is a sign of something deeper or not, this is the right place for you. Let’s get started.
Subtle Signs Of Having A Sleep Disorder
1. You are moving or talking in your sleep.
Are you moving uncontrollably in your sleep? Have you ever moved out of your bed and started walking in your sleep? Does your sleeping partner complain about the terrifying screams and voices you let out at night? And do you vividly and clearly remember every detail of the dream you wake up from?
Well, chances are that you could be suffering from rapid eye movement (REM) behavioral disorder. REM is a normal stage in your sleeping cycle. A full 20% of your sleep time is spent in this stage. This is the stage where dreams occur, and it generally occurs in the latter half of your sleep.
During the REM stage, the body goes into a temporary state of paralysis. However, people having REM sleep disorder react violently and loudly during this stage. This is due to the failure of the neural pathways that cause the regular paralysis that stops you from acting out in your dreams.
2. You eat in your sleep.
Have you ever woken up from yourself and found yourself eating or discovered food crumbs from your bed the next day?
If yes, you might suffer from a certain type of parasomnia – a sleep-related eating disorder (SRED). Symptoms of SRED include eating food and drinking after waking up at night. These episodes of binging are pretty quick and out of control in nature. Many people with SRED end up hurting themselves in a bid to prepare food while being in a state of sleep. People also report eating things that they would never otherwise eat.
Additionally, people around might not be able to wake you up during an episode of SRED, as preventing a person from eating often results in violent fightback.
3. You grind your teeth while sleeping.
Another common sign of sleep disorder is grinding your teeth while sleeping. The condition known as sleep bruxism is a part of sleep-related movement disorders (SRMD). SRMD is a class of disorders that occur during or near your sleep hours, thereby affecting your sleep quality.
As per statistics by the Sleep Foundation, sleep bruxism affects 8% of adults and causes unconscious clenching and grinding of teeth at night. These symptoms can have significant repercussions on your daily life. Sleep bruxism can lead to:
- tension headaches,
- damaged teeth,
- disorders in the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), and
- receding gum lines.
4. You constantly feel sleepy during the daytime.
If you constantly feel tired and sleepy during the majority of your waking hours, chances are you might have what science calls excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). EDS is one of the first and most common symptoms of narcolepsy, the disorder that makes people feel drowsy during the day.
People with narcolepsy find it increasingly difficult to stay up during the day and fall asleep without any warning. This means it is hazardous during driving, crossing the road, etc. When individuals wake up from sleep, they seldom do not remember what happened or what they did.
5. You often see explosions or extremely bright lights before you sleep.
We are going to stress that this is a relatively benign condition before we state the name. It is called exploding head syndrome (EHS). Despite being identified as early as 1876, according to Guardian, this sleep disorder has received little attention in medical research.
EHS is a form of sleep disorder where you hear loud explosions before you sleep. In fact, not just explosions; during EHS episodes, you can also hear sounds of gunshots, thunder, slamming doors, shouting, etc. There can also be certain buzzing and video static sounds. Often hearing these sounds is accompanied by sensations like palpitations, seeing flashes of lights, ringing in the ears, etc.
Read more: The Science Of Sleep Paralysis
World Sleep Day is the perfect opportunity to broaden our understanding and awareness of sleep disorders and build an aware and empathetic society. Learning about various signs of sleeping disorders can help us identify conditions that might otherwise go unnoticed and undiagnosed.
Another important aspect of World Sleep Day is understanding the impact of sleep deprivation on people’s well-being and taking potent steps toward dealing with the issues. To learn more about the impact of sleep deprivation, click here.
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