GuideHealth

Sleep Disorders: What they are and how to know if you have one

Nearly everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time. Occasional difficulty sleeping could be due to stress, hormones, drinking caffeine before bed, or something else. Those who experience trouble sleeping on a regular basis, experience excessive tiredness, or have other sleep-related symptoms and concerns, however, may have a sleep disorder. With that in mind, you might wonder, what are sleep disorders, and how do you know if you have one?

What Are Sleep Disorders?

Sleep disorders impact roughly 50 to 70 million adults in the United States alone. They’re indicative of sleep disturbance of some kind, but they vary significantly from diagnosis to diagnosis. In the DSM or diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, there are multiple categories for sleep disorders. These include sleep-wake disorders, breathing-related sleep disorders, and circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders. Some of the most common sleep disorders include but aren’t limited to insomnia, narcolepsy, nightmare disorder, and sleep apnea. That said, this is by no means an extensive list.

How do you know if you have a sleep disorder? If you:

  • Have trouble staying asleep
  • Have trouble falling asleep
  • Struggle with staying awake throughout the day
  • Experience unusual or uncommon behaviors that disturb your sleep

There may be something going on. The only way to get a formal analysis of your symptoms is to see a medical provider who is qualified to provide you with a diagnosis. If you struggle with sleep in any capacity, it’s important that you don’t wait to reach out to a professional. Lack of sleep or trouble sleeping can impact your physical and mental health in many different ways. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it can impact your social relationships or cause you to withdraw from others, lead to physical health consequences such as a lowered immune system, an increased risk of diabetes, and an increased risk of heart disease, or heighten your risk of mental health concerns. It is common for people with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder to struggle with sleep in some way, and a lack of sleep can contribute to an increase in or worsening of symptoms.

Treatment For Sleep Disorders

Treatment for sleep disorders will depend largely on what kind of sleep disorder you have and other factors such as the unique triggers that may worsen or set off your symptoms. Everyone is different. One person might find that, if they use sleep hygiene tips, work on stress management, or implement a new bedtime routine, their symptoms improve significantly, whereas others will have to take additional measures to treat their symptoms. Types of mental health therapy such as CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy is one popular form of treatment for insomnia specifically. If you have trouble sleeping, it could be indicative of a sleep disorder or another medical or mental health concern, so it’s crucial to reach out to a medical or mental health professional if this is the case for you.

Find Support

Whether you’re struggling with a sleep disorder, symptoms of a mental health condition like anxiety or depression, life stressors, grief and loss, interpersonal relationships, or anything else that’s impacting your life, seeing a therapist or counselor can help. There are many ways to find a therapist. You can search the web for a provider, contact your insurance company to see who they cover, ask your doctor for a referral, or use a website like Mind Diagnostics that can help you find a therapist. Simply type your zip code into the upper right-hand of the Mind Diagnostics website, and you’ll see a range of providers with various specialties who are licensed to provide therapy to people living in your area. Regardless of how you find support, don’t hesitate to reach out if you think that you may benefit from therapy or counseling. You deserve to get the help that you need.

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