Sleep disorders can have many causes: a stressful situation, psycho-emotional overload, organic damage to the nervous system, a chronic disease. A short or interrupted sleep leads to a decrease in performance, to daytime fatigue and lethargy. And sometimes a person is sure that he was sleeping, but in the morning he feels overwhelmed. Why doesn’t a night’s rest bring freshness and joy? MedAboutMe will talk about the causes of restless sleep, including snoring and restless leg syndrome.
Snoring is a symptom of a serious disorder
Sleeper snoring, of course, does not improve the mood of loved ones, but it can also be a symptom of a serious illness. A condition in which frequent episodes of respiratory arrest of an irreversible or partially reversible nature occur during sleep, accompanied by oxygen starvation, is called obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. The symptoms of this disease are widely known: loud snoring, frequent awakenings, headache in the morning, daytime fatigue and drowsiness. The patient himself may not know about respiratory arrest, but close people should treat him with increased attention. The picture of the disease is standard: a snoring person suddenly becomes silent, breathing stops for a few seconds, then he snores loudly and begins to breathe. Apnea is diagnosed after a polysomnographic study with the onset of 5 or more episodes in 1 hour of sleep.
Respiratory arrest leads to hypoxia
If breathing is disturbed during a night’s rest, the level of oxygen saturation in the blood decreases (hypoxia), but the level of carbon dioxide increases (hypercapnia). Scientists have calculated that during repeated episodes of sleep apnea, microactivation of the brain occurs to restore breathing, so patients do not get enough sleep every night for 3–4 hours. Their sleep is interrupted and restless. Today, doctors recognize obstructive sleep apnea syndrome as one of the causes of arterial hypertension.
The syndrome develops against the background of narrowing of the lumen of the upper respiratory tract or loss of their elasticity. It is noticed that snoring is most often observed in overweight people. Almost 70% of adults with obstructive sleep apnea are obese. Also, the factors provoking its formation are: pathologies of the oropharynx or nasopharynx, anatomical defects, endocrinopathies (acromegaly, hypothyroidism), alcohol intake, sedative or hypnotic drugs. Multiple nocturnal respiratory arrests are detected in stroke patients, with some diseases of the nervous and cardiovascular systems.
restless leg syndrome
Restless legs syndrome is a sensorimotor disorder. At night, a person experiences discomfort in the lower extremities (burning, tingling, subcutaneous perturbation, trembling, etc.) and excessive motor activity (an obsessive desire to move). Trying to get rid of painful sensory manifestations, the patient makes facilitating movements and wakes up. The syndrome manifests itself on average a couple of times a week. A disease is called primary if there are no accompanying neurological and somatic pathologies. It has been recorded that in this case, the activation of symptoms coincides with a daily decrease in the level of dopamine. But with the secondary form of restless legs syndrome, there is an iron deficiency in the brain. A feature of this disease is the manifestation of symptoms exclusively in the evening or at night, the most unpleasant sensations increase from midnight to 4 in the morning. But in the morning and afternoon hours, restless legs syndrome does not manifest itself in any way.
Other forms of sleep disorder
When a person has difficulty falling asleep, or, conversely, waking up early, experts state a type of sleep disorder — insomnia. Two causes of different etiologies lead to sleep disturbance — emotional and psychological factors and organic lesions in metabolic processes. In the first case, the inability to relax, disconnect from anxieties, put off worries for tomorrow is fixed. Therefore, women, due to their increased emotionality, are more likely to suffer from insomnia than men.
Depending on the underlying cause, insomnia is divided into the following types:
- Psychophysiological insomnia. The main characteristic of this form is contained in just three words — “fear of not falling asleep.” The man tries his best to force himself to sleep. And it turns out the other way around, the more he wants, the more he gets the opposite result. At the same time, the next evening, his anxiety begins to increase in advance, long before going to bed. Treatment in this case consists in cognitive-behavioral correction, reducing the “sleep pressure” on the psyche.
- Adjustment insomnia is a short-term disorder associated with new experiences, both positive and negative, or a change in environment (moving, traveling, conflict, new job, etc.). Once life returns to normal, insomnia usually ends on its own. In this case, over-the-counter sedatives come to the rescue. But you can get by with relaxing breathing techniques, meditation and other relaxing methods.
- Violation of sleep hygiene leads to a disorder of night rest, which mainly affects adolescents, young and old people. In accordance with their age, they hang out in front of computers in the evenings, watch aggressive films, discuss topical issues, which causes difficulties with subsequent falling asleep or with frequent awakenings. The therapy consists in putting the daily routine in order and creating optimal conditions for going to bed (ventilate the room, listen to relaxing music, limit TV viewing, abandon the daily “quiet hour”, etc.).
- Paradoxical insomnia is characterized by complaints of patients about the complete disappearance of sleep over a long period in the absence of any supporting facts. Their daily activities, social and production functions are not disturbed. It is possible to prove the objectivity and sufficiency of night rest only with the help of a polysomnographic study.
- Such chronic pathologies as osteoarthritis, cholecystitis, peptic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular changes also lead to sleep disturbance. Moreover, insomnia in this case is secondary, since it is observed after the development of the underlying disease.
- Also, secondary insomnia includes a disorder of night rest caused by taking sleeping pills and other drugs, including alcohol. The problem here is the established drug addiction, which is very difficult to break. Any attempts to do this lead to negative consequences — the development of a withdrawal syndrome.