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Help Me Sleep Sleep Disorders and Disruptions

Updated on March 30, 2013
Sleep Aids, Over the counter medications
Sleep Aids, Over the counter medications | Source

Sleep Walking Explained

Kicking Legs Restless Leg Syndrome

Sleep Disorders

"Help Me Sleep!" This is the biggest request from a sleep deprived person. As a previous sleep tech performing sleep studies, I came across many people with sleep disorders, experiencing ongoing disruptions. There are many things that can affect persons ability to sleep.

There are numerous sleep disorders, the foremost problem is sleep apnea. There are two types of apneas to cover, but snoring is a symptom of either type.

Rapid leg movements or periodic limb movement, also called restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder. It can disrupt the ability to sleep when legs jolt or are unable to relax during an inactive state. It can take hours to fall asleep and then It can prevent deep sleep due to the movements waking a person from a deeper stages of sleep. Although some medical information website indicate it is difficult to diagnose, it does show up during sleep studies so I would recommend a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis and obtain the appropriate prescription medications to control it.

Deviated septum in the nose restricts or closes the airway on one side of the nose or both. Snoring is one sign. Broken nose, sinus issues and size of the nose

Some contributing factors like a larger neck circumference 16 inches or greater in women and 17 inches or greater in men increase the likelihood of a sleep disorder.

Menopause, If the menopause is not currently under control, I do not recommend a sleep study. I think in an effort to give women a solution to lack of sleep while the hormones are changing, primary care doctors may recommend a study. The problem is the hormone levels need to be under control first. Otherwise, a female is unable to complete the study. Discomfort, restless, frequent restroom breaks all make it nearly impossible to complete a sleep study.

Sleep walking requires some safety precautions to protect the person stuck in this state. As a sleep tech, I had observed it when a person was on a prescription sleep aid and woke up during the night. That is not the only time it occurs, some people experience it nightly. Locking doors, securing the refrigerator and any other area of the house can reduce the possibilities of them walking out of the house or eating excessively at night.

Narcolepsy is the sudden sleep occurring during the day and without realizing it is going to happen. This disorder requires a day and night sleep study and medication to improve the person's health and safety.

Sleep Terrors are common in children and adults is not a sleep disorder. They are a dramatic response to an anxiety or fear. Meditation, therapy and calming techniques can help reduce the occurrence and replace them with a calmer sleep.

Medication influences sleep, depending on the category of drugs. Any that increase the heart rate or promote activity will create a lack of sleep circumstance and disruptions.

Follow the tips to recognize personal circumstances and health issues and apply some solutions to help get better sleep.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a highly disruptive sleep disorder. The consistent waking during the efforts to reach deeper levels of sleep creates a very sleep deprived person.

Sleep Apnea is the state of cessation of breathing, repeatedly during a night of sleep. Each episode prevents oxygen from circulating into the brain and body. There are two types of sleep apnea disorders, Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea.

Obstructive form is just like it sounds, soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep or a deviated septum in the nose can restrict the airways and cause snoring.
Central, the brain is not sending the appropriate information to perform the function of breathing.

Thick necks, thick tongues, tonsils, deviated septum in the nasal passage and a missed signal from the brain; contribute to sleep problems. Some people, alcohol causes apnea and snoring. Another person can observe the activity, comparing to a normal night of sleep versus a night following alcohol consumption. Notice the increased volume of snoring and periods of time of quiet, non breathing, cycling right back to a loud snore.

Sleeping in the supine or on your back, face up is the worst position for sleep apnea because it allows the chin to drop back too far. It tends to encourage the obstructions. Sleeping on your right side is the better option and should reduce the sleep apnea episodes.

Sleep Apnea Treatment - Caution view of surgery

Reducing and Removing Disruptions

Efforts to reduce and remove disruptions can improve sleep health. For some people, noises prevent sleep, for others it is a necessity to sleep. However, when you find yourself waking up too often, weening off of noises can reduce the wake times. Things like tv, fans, music and outside noises fall under unhealthy sleep habits. Like any habit, it takes time to break the destructive habit and replace it with a healthy option.

Keeping animals out of the bed and bedroom as much as possible can help you sleep longer. Pets tend to move around, lay to close to a human face or body and wake you out of a deep sleep. Plus they like to let you know when it is time to get up, according to their food and bathroom breaks.

If you have your office or computer in your bedroom, move it to another area. A loud ticking clock should occupy an area of the home that doesn't involve sleeping.

Dental Appliance for Sleep Disorder Tap 3 Appliance

Sleeping Comfortably

Tips to recognize personal circumstances and health issues and apply some solutions to help get better sleep. Finding your personal comforts and obtaining them for better sleep is key to improve the chances of sleeping well.

If the tv disrupts your sleep during the night, remove it from the bedroom. Remove mini offices, computers and filing cabinets. Keep in mind the purpose of the bedroom is comfort, relaxing and stepping away from work and other disruptions.

Remove clutter and maintain a clean, fresh room. Dusting fan blades, dressers and blinds and washing sheets and bedding often enough to keep everything clean and fluffy.

Test out which side you can sleep on that provides a more rested feeling in the morning. Sometimes the problems are less prevalent lying on the right or left side. For some people, sticking to sleeping on one side of their body will not reduce the problem at all and requires medical treatment.

Dental appliances are an option in place of surgery. The placement and securing mechanisms place the jaw in the appropriate position, often reducing apnea and snoring. I recommend locating a dentist that specializes in sleep medicine, in addition to dental. They have the knowledge and understanding of the field, to apply medical devices appropriately.

How to Sleep During the Day

Sleeping during the day is the most challenging and affects your health the most. Following a few valuable tips can get a night owl sleeping soundly.

Darkness is key, the mind succeeds with a feeling of darkness. Sleep with ear plugs and a sleep mask to simulate night time. Sleep as far away from "awake" people in the house as possible. Spring and summer lawn mowers can contribute a great deal of outdoor noise seeping right into a bedroom. Consider insulating the room and windows a bit more to drown out those types of noises.

Avoid electronic devices and exercising within 45 minutes of sleeping. Try to avoid anything with caffeine within five hours of sleep time.

Avoiding photosensitivity and seizures by avoiding flash lighting and intensely bright natural light. This doesn't affect everyone,but it can have a greater potential for people that work nights.

Sleep Aids

Sleep aids are available to improve sleep environments and sleep deprivation.

Melatonin for short term use, based on less than three months.

Valerian is an extract that delivers results by taking it consistently and for more than four weeks.

German Chamomile tea

Passionflower (maypop)

Over the Counter Sleep Aid Medications:

Do not take Kava, European studies are indicative of serious side affects not worth any benefit it may provide. Avoid Tryptophan as a supplement, it is dangerous in that form. It is best to consume it in foods like turkey, cheese, nuts and beans.

I do not recommend any sleep medications when you have sleep apnea, it can extend the amount of time you literally are not breathing; further reducing the amount of oxygen in the body.

Bedroom Comforts

Each person finds a soft bed, medium, or hard bed appealing. Adjustable beds and waterbeds Duvets, pillows, down. Shabby Chic (link to book review hub), light and airy may be the right tones and textures to relax.

Sleeping during the day. Darker earth tones are better at blocking out the light and sounds,ensuring a chance at sleeping deep enough to gain recovery sleep levels.

Check out some of the comfortable room designs to see how effortless, uncluttered and fluffy everything looks. They all have a soothing appearance and will foster a soothing, relaxing environment.

Incorporate as much as you can into your own bedroom that resembles the examples of relaxing environments.

Comfortable Bedrooms

Shabby Chic comfortable bedroom
Shabby Chic comfortable bedroom | Source
This Interior Designer website offers a collection of comfortable bedroom designs.
This Interior Designer website offers a collection of comfortable bedroom designs. | Source
This Interior Designer website offers a collection of comfortable bedroom designs.
This Interior Designer website offers a collection of comfortable bedroom designs. | Source

Circadian Rhythm Responding to Light


Circadian Rhythms

Everyone is designed on a 24 hour cycle and responds to light and dark. For someone on the night shift, it will take two years for the circadian rhythm to reset itself from the normal phase of sleeping at night and awake during the day.

Our bodily functions (hormones, temperature and respond to the changes and effects from our personal rhythms. An unhealthy rhythm may contribute to sleep disorders and/or mental disorders. It is beneficial to regain the right rhythm and maintain it, for a healthier lifestyle; both mentally and physically.

Circadian Rhythms by Shelby Harris, Sleep Psychologiest

Medical Disclaimer

Disclaimer. This is not medical advice, nor is it a replacement for medical diagnosis and appropriate treatments related to sleep disorders and sleep disruptions. Utilize the information to guide you towards the appropriate care and doctor's advice. Incorporate some ideas with existing patterns you follow. This is an informational article with personal insight into the field of sleep as a sleep tech, not a physician of sleep medicine.

Reading books on sleep disorders and gaining healthy sleep is an excellent way to comprehend the conditions and the best ways to treat them. It can better prepare questions to ask your sleep specialist doctor during a consult.

Sleep or Not?

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    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Excellent information. It is amazing there are so many detriments to good sleep.

      Voted up and useful.

    • bridalletter profile imageAUTHOR

      Brenda Kyle 

      6 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Eileen, I hope you seek a doctor. For most people, there just isn't a home remedy or something that controls it; other than medication. You deserve a peaceful night of sleep. Thank you for sharing your personal experience.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      I understand the Restless legs syndrome. It drives me mad I have tried a variety of different things. I lay there tossing and turning and my husband cannot understand. But he does sympathize with me as he knows I am missing out on a lot of sleep. He leaves me in bed if still asleep when he wakes in case I had a bad night.

      I have taken magnesium, camomile tea, brandy and milk. For a while there I thought that the hot water bottle was working. But now no effect. It drives me mad. Many times I fall asleep when it is nearly time to get up. And worse still I think I could sleep during the day but not game as then I wont sleep at night either. Great hub

    • bridalletter profile imageAUTHOR

      Brenda Kyle 

      6 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you for commenting Express10. As a writer, you probably have a very active mind that keeps you awake too. What is the one thing in your life that makes you feel calm? Interesting supplement, sounds like it is similar to Catclaw. There are so many factors with insomnia, but in simpilist form - it is a symptom of something or multiple things preventing sleep. I found a link that may be helpful. You have to break it down piece by piece, till you find exactly what the cause is. I do recommend the sleep study, at the very least; a consult with a sleep doctor. That alone may give you a faster insight on the cause and get you to sleeping normal a bit sooner.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 

      6 years ago from East Coast

      This is very useful information. However, I am a raging insomniac that hasn't responded to much of anything over the years and just started using 5 HTP. The first couple of weeks went along swimmingly until I ran out (waiting for to restock) and that explains how I've found your hub just after 1 a.m. I am completely re-thinking my doctor's suggestion that I do a sleep study as I await my next delivery of the 5 HTP pills that have allowed me to finally get some normal amounts of sleep.

    • bridalletter profile imageAUTHOR

      Brenda Kyle 

      6 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you Nell Rose, great to hear from you. That is funny, poor clock. That was an experience I never forgot, trying to sleep in someones house with a very loud clock. I went outside and slept in the tent (it was near a lake on fourth of July).

    • bridalletter profile imageAUTHOR

      Brenda Kyle 

      6 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you DzyMsLizzy for a great comment! You are so right, people are very different on those rhythms. I have many times gotten by on so few of hours too, but I always of a make up sleep night in a week too. My cat sneaks in too, she does wake me up when she walks on me. I still call that a sleep disruption. The good thing is she heads to the end of the better pretty quickly. As you noted, it is soothing to you and anything soothing, you want to maintain as part of your healthy sleep. That is great you can do without the darkness. I personally need it, but have slept in the daylight when tired enough too. Thank you for relating and sharing your personal experiences.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I found this interesting, but not necessarily true for everyone--there are so many individual differences in peoples' biorhythms. For example, I've always been more of a night owl--8 to 9 hours of sleep is enough, IF it ends at a time not prior to 9 or 10 a.m. That same amount of sleep time ending before 8:a.m., and I'm toast, and non-functional for most of the day.

      I can even get by on 4 or 5 hours of sleep, if I can sleep until 11:a.m....which I often do, on account of insomnia.

      Kick my cats out of the bedroom? Not on your life. Their "purr songs" are soothing and relaxing. Additionally I must have a white noise machine running to counteract my tinnitus.

      Darkness? I only have my window blocked to keep a streetlight from shining directly into my eyes when I lay on my right side...otherwise, I don't need a darkened space, per se, to sleep; heck, I can fall asleep in the blazing sun on a beach at high noon if I'm tired.

      Redecorate? I can't see the room with my eyes closed. As long as I can get physically comfortable in the bed, it's all good.

      But then, I tend to be an oddball, out of step with the rest of society, and marching to my own drummer. I believe your tips will be valuable to many others, so I'm voting this up, useful and interesting.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      This is really great, and I totally agree with you about the darn clock! lol! I had a clock in my room for ages, and it took me a while to realise that was causing me problems with sleeping, I threw it across the room at one point! lol! then I moved them all out, interesting about the 24 hour cycle too, voted up! nell

    • bridalletter profile imageAUTHOR

      Brenda Kyle 

      6 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you paradigmsearch. There are a lot more details on that Tap 3 device on glidewell laboratories website. It doesn't list the cost of course, but a dentist could give an estimate. I would check with a dental school and see if the can get it and give it to you based on grant funds.

    • paradigmsearch profile image

      Person of Interest 

      6 years ago from USA

      A truly excellent article. I'm going to check out some sleep-specialist dentists and find out what that whole Tap 3 Appliance adventure will cost. A very well-written, professional page.


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