One-third of all American adults are not getting enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But why does it matter so much? Well, simply put: Inadequate sleep is bad for your health. It’s linked to chronic conditions and illnesses like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and depression. … Read More
More than half of Americans experience sleep problems, from sleep apnea to snoring to narcolepsy. Drugs and devices are stepping in to relieve symptoms.
The insomnia definition experts use is consistent difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or a combination of both. People with insomnia toss and turn in bed, and never feel as though they’ve gotten a satisfying night’s sleep.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which people repeatedly stop breathing throughout the night. Each time their brain restarts breathing, they briefly wake up. Because pauses in breathing can occur many times an hour, people with sleep apnea have constantly disrupted sleep.
People who are overweight are at greatest risk for sleep apnea, because excess tissue tends to fall over their airways and block breathing. Sleep apnea is often undiagnosed, but it’s important to get it identified and treated, because having this condition over time can increase the risk for conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. One telltale sign you have sleep apnea is snoring. Other sleep apnea symptoms include sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, depression, and headaches.
Sleep apnea treatments include a CPAP machine, which gently blows air into your throat through a mask during the night. This constant flow of air keeps your airway open and prevents you from snoring while you sleep. A mouthpiece called an oral appliance can also keep the airways open. Losing weight and quitting smoking are lifestyle measures that can help relieve apnea symptoms. Sometimes surgery is done to remove excess tissue and widen breathing passages.
People with narcolepsy fall asleep at unexpected times during the day. Problems with their sleep-wake cycle make them sleep poorly at night, and feel unusually tired during the day as a result. Antidepressants and other medicines can help control narcolepsy symptoms.
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Jet lag is a sleep phase disorder that occurs when traveling across time zones. In the days of leisurely ocean liner crossings and cross-country rail travel, the body had time to adjust to different time zones, but the advent of air travel changed that.
When you cross into a new time … Read More
If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night so drenched in your own sweat that you’re compelled to change your clothes and sheets, you’ve just experienced a case of the night sweats. Also known as nocturnal hyperhidrosis or nighttime “hot flashes,” night sweats are often disregarded as … Read More
Hypersomnia is characterized by episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness, even with adequate nighttime sleep, or prolonged nighttime sleep. This condition is different from the daytime sleepiness and sleep episodes of narcolepsy or feeling tired due to occasional insomnia. People with hypersomnia feel driven to nap, often for long periods of … Read More
If you snore, and you’ve tried sleeping on your side and various other “tricks” to quiet your nighttime breathing, you may want to consider a snoring mouthguard, also called a snoring mouthpiece. It’s a dental appliance that keeps the jaw pushed slightly forward while you sleep to help ensure that … Read More
There may be a scientific reason why some people are night owls: delayed sleep phase syndrome. It’s a sleep disorder in which your body’s clock tells you to fall asleep a few hours later than most people hit the sack. The problem is that this delayed bedtime makes it difficult … Read More
Has a friend ever bragged about how refreshed he feels after just four or five hours of sleep the night before? Do you know a child who resists going to bed at a reasonable hour because she “doesn’t feel tired?” Do you find yourself on an inconsistent schedule when it … Read More
Do you often feel tired and fatigued during the day without a nap? Do you think daily naps are a necessity to function properly? If your answer to both questions is “yes,” you may be on to something.
People—unlike other mammals—are monophasic sleepers, which means that our day is divided into … Read More
The sensation of twitching while sleeping is a common occurrence, but many people who experience sudden but brief muscle movements at night aren’t even aware that they’re happening. Sometimes, however, the twitching or jerking of your hand or foot—a condition known as sleep myoclonus—is enough to awaken you. Or your … Read More
What kind of medical condition could possibly be triggered by something like anxiety, fear, depression, joy, or even laughter? The answer is cataplexy—a sudden loss of muscle strength, tone, and control. Muscle tone is what keeps our bodies upright and moving, as the Narcolepsy Network puts it.
And why is the … Read More