Sleep disorders

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Sleep disorders which require treatment

The amount of sleep an individual needs varies from person to person. Waking up during the night is not necessarily a problem if you feel fit and rested the next day. However, if you constantly feel worn out and tired, you should seek the advice of a doctor. The most common sleep disorders which require treatment are summarised as follows:

1. Difficulties falling asleep and remaining asleep (insomnia)

A person is considered to suffer from insomnia if he or she is unable to fall asleep and remain asleep almost every night. Exhaustion and low-level irritability dominate the day. Fear of what will happen the next night often produces further internal stress.

2. Restless legs syndrome

Dragging and pulling sensations in the legs can interfere with sleep. Stretching exercises, massages and alternating hot and cold showers can help as well as iron, magnesium, vitamin E and calcium supplements. Always consult your doctor before you take any of these.

3. Sleep apnea or respiratory arrest

If breathing is regularly disrupted during sleep due to issues such as heavy snoring, this can be life threatening over the long term. Oxygen levels fall and the heart and brain no longer get what they need. People affected by this disorder feel totally exhausted during the day and this situation can easily result in dangerous microsleep.

4. Narcolepsy

Daytime sleepiness often occurs if you suffer from sleep apnea. In rare cases, narcolepsy develops which is an extreme form of daytime sleepiness. Sleep attacks or muscle weakness can suddenly occur and the sleep-wake regulation in the brain is disrupted.