Not catching enough z’s? A sleep disorder may be to blame. About 70 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from sleep disorders. If you’re struggling to get quality rest, you may be one of them.
Let’s go through the red flags for sleep disorders so you can identify the symptoms and know if it’s time to seek help.
Why sleep disorders matter
It’s important not to shrug off symptoms of a sleep disorder. Depending on the diagnosis, a sleep disorder can have serious health effects. For example, it may:
- Impact your overall health and energy level
- Decrease your quality of life
- Intensify symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Put you at risk for other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease and other chronic conditions
Red flags you may have a sleep disorder
The most common symptom of a sleep disorder is that you’re not feeling well-rested. However, symptoms may vary depending on the condition. Some red flags that may indicate that you have a sleep disorder include:
- Feeling sleepy or groggy throughout the day (even after 8 hours of sleep).
- Experiencing difficulty falling asleep (30 minutes or longer).
- Waking up in the middle of the night, sometimes for hours.
- Waking up too early in the morning.
- Experiencing irregular breathing during sleep, such as snoring or gasping.
- Experiencing unusual movement, or tingling sensations in the legs during sleep.
- Falling asleep at odd times during the day, especially while reading or watching TV.
- Feeling drowsy while driving.
- Having trouble concentrating at work or school.
- Experiencing weight gain, elevated blood pressure or other physical symptoms.
- Having difficulty controlling your emotions during the day.
Common types of sleep disorders
Sleep disorders encompass a wide range of conditions. The most common disorders that people have today include:
- Insomnia (difficulty falling asleep)
- Sleep apnea (abnormal breathing patterns)
- Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) (urge to move legs during sleep)
- Narcolepsy (extreme daytime sleepiness leading to falling asleep suddenly)
- Circadian rhythm sleep disorder (lack of alignment between the body’s instincts and the patterns of the sun)
- Kleine-Levin syndrome (ability to sleep for two or more days at a time)
- Idiopathic hypersomnia (extreme sleepiness despite getting enough sleep)
Nonmedical factors that cause poor sleep
Though these red flags may indicate you have a disorder, sleep can be complex. There are plenty of nonmedical factors that can contribute to poor sleep. Often by resolving these issues, you can return to a normal quality of sleep. These factors include:
- Poor sleep habits (such as blue light technology in bed)
- Lifestyle factors (such as drinking alcohol, or working a night shift)
- Dietary choices (such as eating junk food before bed)
- Psychiatric conditions (such as depression or anxiety)
- Medications (some may impact sleep)
- Aging (older adults experience sleep disorders more frequently)
- Stressful circumstances
If any of these factors impact your sleeping patterns, it’s important to try and correct them. Even if you don’t have a sleep disorder, these behaviors can disrupt your sleep and make it difficult to get good rest.
Next steps for diagnosing a sleep disorder
1. Sleep journal
If you’re experiencing poor sleep, start a sleep journal. Write down all the information about your night of sleep, including how many hours, the quality of sleep, what you did and consumed during the day, etc.
2. Home sleep monitoring app
You might also try a sleep monitoring app like SleepScore or SleepCycle that tracks how much sleep and how deep of sleep you’re getting. You can even set up sleep goals and work towards better sleep.
3. Medical diagnosis
It’s important to see a doctor if you think you have a sleep disorder. Your doctor will ask you key information about your sleeping patterns and perform any tests to rule out other conditions.
4. Sleep lab
In extreme cases, your doctor may also refer you to a sleep lab, so you can have more specialized insights into your sleeping patterns, including heart, lung and brain function. This may be especially important if your doctor isn’t sure what’s causing your symptoms.
Boost your quality of sleep
Exhaustion isn’t normal. If you’re not getting good rest, it’s possible you have a sleep disorder. You can use these red flags above as a guide for when it’s time to see a doctor.
In addition, you can boost your quality of sleep by forming good bedtime habits. For example, your bedroom should be a cool, comfortable place where you feel relaxed. Polysleep can help create your ideal bedroom space. Simply choose from our many comfy mattresses and pillows for more restful sleep!
If you liked our blog article, please don't forget to Share it with your friends by clicking the button below!