On July 17th, The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) released a study which found that of the 70 million global sleep disorder sufferers; nearly 50 percent had chronic disorders. 40 million American’s are suspected to be suffering from sleeping disorders
and with such a high percentage suggested to be chronic, one must wonder at the state American sleep. What are the most common sleeping disorders within the United States and what can be done to ensure a better night’s sleep for the American people? Let’s take a look.
The Five Most Common Sleep Disorders
While there are several different types of sleeping disorders, there seems to be a high percentage of Americans that experience one of the five most common sleeping syndromes.
- Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
While some of these common sleeping disorders may seem
like a simple inconvenience (the twitching of RLS or the snoring of OSA) they can actually have a dramatic impact on the sleep cycles, physical health and emotional attitude of those suffering. That is why it is important to understand the signs of a sleep disorder and to speak with a physician about sleep options to lead to a healthier you.
Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder
Delayed sleep phase disorder is classified when a sleeper’s biological clock falls out of sync from a typical sleeping pattern. When the person is able to sleep they receive a full night’s of rest but as a form of insomnia, this disorder impairs a person from falling to sleep at a desired time. This results in sleeping in, drowsiness when awoken and even day time sleepiness.
There are two therapies used for this sleeping disorder- Chronotherapy and Light therapy. Light therapy uses bright lighting to emulate sunlight for several hours in the morning while encouraging the sleeper to avoid bright lighting up to four hours before bedtime. This can help reset the biological clock in a way similar to that of Chronotherapy. Chronotherapy re-sets a person’s biological clock by encouraging the sleeper to stay up and arise three hours later each day. This is done over a several day time frame and “manually” re-sets the bio logical clock to a normal sleeping pattern.
The sleeping disorder of Insomnia is one of the most common across the nation with 60% of American adults stating they are affected by it at least once weekly. Insomnia is classified as a medical condition that showcases an inability to go to sleep. Most sufferers of this disorder report feeling depressed, have difficulty getting to sleep, high levels of stress and low concentration levels. Typical treatments for this disorder include sleep treatment through behavior therapy, antidepressants and sleep aid medications.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Most of our readers are familiar with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and this disorder affects 2% of women and 4% of men in the United States. For those who are unfamiliar with OSA, it is the temporary blockage of breathing during sleep cycles as a result of a blockage of the airway. This means that the sleep cycle is interrupted several hundred if not thousands of times a night- resulting in listless, un-restful and unproductive sleep. Suffers of Sleep Apnea often experience several emotional effects as well as drowsiness and significantly lowered physical health (obesity, heart disease and more).
Treatment for OSA usually begins with a sleep study and then moves to a prescribed CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) machine
. This machine allows a continuous flow of air through the airways, resulting in consistent breathing which allows the body to flow through sleep cycles without interruption.
Narcolepsy is found in roughly 100,000 Americans and is classified as a disorder where the brain’s mechanisms malfunction and cause extreme sleep situations. A sufferer of this disorder may fall asleep at random resulting in car accidents (if the suffer was in a car), incomplete sentences (falling asleep mid-sentence), or unproductive work days (falling asleep at a desk). Those suffering from Narcolepsy are generally treated through medications such as Modafinil (which promotes alertness) and behavior as well as sleep therapy.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
This sleeping disorder is classified as tingling, itching or aching in the lower leg when a person is falling asleep. RSL can be found in roughly 5% of adults and typically runs in families. It can also be accompanied with random and periodic limb movements that may last for hours or minutes after the RLS suffer has fallen asleep. Typical treatment for this sleeping condition is the prescription of the drug Levodopa which has been used to treat other muscle control diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
The Next Step
Now that we’ve briefly explored the most common sleeping disorders in America, the next step is to visit a physician. If you feel you are experiencing any of the symptoms of these disorders, discuss it with your doctor and see what they recommend. We hope we’ve shed some light on the most common sleeping disorders in America and that you may be able to diagnose a disorder for better health and a good night’s rest.