SLEEPING disorders are often overlooked, and in most cases,
never ever get treated. Battling to fall and stay asleep are basic forms of
sleeping disorders, and experts say there’s a medical explanation behind your
A normal sleeping period for adults is eight hours. Many
blame social media and their smartphones for sleeping three or four hours less
than the normal time. But Nobuhle Mbulawa, a general practitioner, says that’s
not always the case. She says struggling to fall asleep could be the first
signs of stress and anxiety. She says that it’s normal to have few sleepless
nights in a month, but if it becomes a routine, it’s a disorder that needs
intervention. “Sleeping disorders are often overlooked, and mostly never ever
get treated. Depression, stress and anxiety can cause sleeping disturbances,”
she explains. There are a lot of factors that can result in abnormal sleeping
patterns. Apart from medical, psychological and psychiatric factors, registered
nurse Sibusiso Zikhali lists physical discomforts as other sleep disturbances. He
explains that due to discomfort and pain from injuries, one can struggle to
sleep. He goes on to explain that sleeping disorders can be inherited. “Some
conditions related to sleeping disorders are inherited. If there is a family
history of sleeping disorder, you can inherit those conditions,” he says. Having
excessive sleep is also classified as a sleeping disorder, and certain
medication can result in the disorder. Experts say excessive intake of sleeping
pills, and anti-depressants can tamper with normal sleeping patterns and
disturb your daily productivity.
FORMS OF SLEEPING DISORDERS
It’s advisable to keep track of your sleeping patterns.
Experts say this will make you more aware of your functionality. Simple night
activities like laughing or snoring deep in your sleep may be an indication of
a sleeping disorder and signs of an underlying medical condition. Chronic
conditions like asthma, diabetes and hypertension may cause sleeping disorders
while some sleeping disorders can result in chronic conditions.
MOST COMMON SLEEPING DISORDERS
Insomnia – Individuals suffering from insomnia have
difficulties sleeping, they can’t stay
asleep and they wake up too early in the morning.
Sleep apnea – This is a very serious condition
as sufferers have disturbed breathing patterns. The body takes in less oxygen
during the first hours of sleep and there are breathing pauses and a person
Teeth grinding – Sufferers chew on their teeth
deep in sleep. The sleeping disorder may be caused by stress and anxiety.
Parasomnia – Sufferers may just burst into
laughter during sleep. The condition is a result of irregular emotions and can
happen at any time of the sleep circle.
Narcolepsy – There’s a
temporary paralysis during sleep and it usually goes together with
hallucination. A person can’t wake up
from a nightmare.
EFFECTS OF HAVING LITTLE SLEEP
Getting enough sleep is vital, your body functions better
after a good night sleep. Experts say denying your body an opportunity to rest
may have a negative impact on your mood, productivity and your overall health. Nobuhle
explains that chronic irregular patterns that deprive you of enough sleep may
make you an unpleasant person to be around.
“People who don’t get enough sleep are generally irritable. For some,
it’s even worse, they start seeing and hearing things that don’t exist,” she
shares. Sibusiso explains that having little to no sleep kills your sex drive,
saying people who don’t get enough sleep have low energy levels. He says people
who suffer from depression and sleeping disorders pose a danger to others and
themselves. The nurse recalls a lot of incidents where patients lost control
and hurt themselves or others around them. “It’s easy to lose concentration and
cause accidents, especially when your work requires that you operate machinery.
It’s even worse for people suffering from depression. I have treated patients
who sustained an injury because they didn’t have enough sleep and lost focus,”
OTHER SIDE EFFECTS
Weight gain – Sleeping disorders affect your
brain, and you are more likely to overeat as the brain takes longer to detect a
Forgetfulness – People who don’t get enough sleep have impaired memory, they easily forget
sex drive – Lack of sleep results in
tiredness, and low energy levels. All this decreases the libido in both men and
of concentration – One loses their creative juices,
and has hard time solving general problems.
immune system – Sleep boasts the immune system.
Having little sleep can weaken the immune system and make you prone to colds