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

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

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.


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