Hypersomnia, its causes and symptoms

Not a term most people are familiar with, it’s the reverse of insomnia, and sometimes it is confused with narcolepsy. In the case of the latter, people get an overwhelming feeling of fatigue and can even fall asleep suddenly. With Hypersomnia, the level of sleep gradually increases over the course of the day. It’s marked by bouts of severe sleepiness and fatigue, to list only two symptoms.

Hypersomnia Causes

In general, people with Hypersomnia do not get a lot of sleep at night, but by the same token, they also don’t suffer from insomnia. In fact, they often have trouble getting up in the morning, and staying awake over the course of the day. There are two forms of the disease, primary – also known as idiopathic, and recurrent hypersomnia; it’s also called recurrent primary hypersomnia. Both have the same symptoms; their only difference is how often and regularly those symptoms manifest themselves.

Hypersomnia Symptoms

With primary hypersomnia, sufferers find themselves getting more and more sleepy over an extended period of time during the course of the day. In the case of recurring, you get excessively tired, and the feeling persists for as long as several days. After easing off, it can occur again and again for a year or more. The primary difference between the two forms is that primary hypersomnia generally does not let up – it’s continuous. With recurring, you can suffer days of feeling sleepy, and then it goes away for a time, and then comes back – or “reoccurs”, hence the name. There’s even a particular form of recurring hypersomnia; it is called Kleine-Levin Syndrome.

Another symptom is frequent napping, and despite those naps, you do not feel wide awake and refreshed. In the case of Kleine-Levin Syndrome, sufferers will sleep as much as 18 hours a day, sometimes even more! They often feel very irritable; they gain weight quickly and without reason, and may commit acts of sexual harassment. The cause of this form of hypersomnia – and others – is still unclear. Some researchers believe it is a genetic disorder exacerbated by environmental factors, but recent studies seem to link it to a disorder of the hypothalamus. Yet, this still remains unclear.

Fortunately, the different forms of hypersomnia are quite rare; it has been determined that only about five percent of adults suffer from it. As there are a variety of causes for daytime sleepiness and fatigue, a detailed sleep study and tests are needed in order to diagnosis hypersomnia. In general, doctors use the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” to properly diagnosis the problem. First off, the feelings of fatigue have to persist for at least a month, and they have to cause trouble with your day to day activities. Next, there can’t be any other diseases or disorders present. So, if you have insomnia, narcolepsy or a severe mental disorder, hypersomnia may not be the problem.

Hypersomnia diagnosis

In the case of the recurring hypersomnia, diagnosis is very difficult. The periods of sleeplessness have to persist for periods of about three days or so, and continue for two years or more! For the most part, the symptoms will continue for the rest of the patient’s life; only Kleine-Levin Syndrome seems to be curable, it often clears up on its own by the time the patient reaches middle age. Using stimulants does relieve the symptoms, but does not treat the underlying cause.

As with diseases like MS, lupus and diabetes, there is no cure, only treatment. Some doctors – those who attribute the disease to a malfunction of the hypothalamus feel that some form of brain surgery or treatment using stem cells might eventually lead to a cure.

The Most Common Sleep Disorders

Sleep is precious. Without sleep a person is tired and under stress.

In this article we will shortly describe most common sleep disorders.

Insomnia

Insomnia is perhaps the most common of sleeping disorders and is the result of things like stress, a change to your sleep schedule, changing time zones or just poor sleeping habits. Depending on the cause, correcting it can be as simple as cutting out caffeine, TV before bed or stress in your life. We’ve even heard of a man who was suffering from insomnia because he was hearing a water drip that he couldn’t find until he called Tredent Contracting Services to check his roof for leaks.

There are many over the counter medications that help you to relax, but they are only for temporary relief. Chronic insomnia usually requires medical attention. Sometimes therapy can deal with an underlying psychological problem, or medications can offer relief. If you prefer purely natural treatments, there are herbal remedies like melatonin and chamomile.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is when a person stops breathing while asleep. Most people do this naturally, but only briefly – ten to twenty seconds. When it becomes severe enough to be a problem, there are a number of treatments available. Sometimes just losing weight or changing your sleeping position can solve the problem.

For more severe cases, a dental insert or actual surgery is called for. The problem can be the result of a constricted airway, too much tissue in the back of the throat or a severe overbite. So an operation to remove some of the soft tissue in those areas can relieve the matter, or moving the lower jaw forward to open up the airway in the throat can help.

Snoring

Snoring kind of goes along with sleep apnea; the underlying causes can be the same. In general, your airway becomes narrower, and this results in an inability to breathe smoothly. As with sleep apnea, the treatments can vary wildly. Sometimes just changing your position in bed is enough, elevating the head, or losing some weight can relieve it.

Also, if you drink or smoke, cutting down on either one can ease the problem. If that doesn’t stop it, sometimes a mild antihistamine will dry your sinuses out enough to put an end to your snoring. There are also a variety of medical devices you can wear or insert into your mouth or nose. They’re designed to keep the breathing passages open. In extreme cases, surgery can be used in a similar manner as with sleep apnea. The key element is to open up the airway. So, by removing excess tissue from your main airway, you can cut down on your snoring.

Restless Leg Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Then there are two related problems: Restless Leg Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. In both cases, you have a nearly irresistible urge to move your limbs. This is generally marked by a tingly or creepy sensation in your limbs, and people find that by moving around they get some temporary relief.

When it happens in bed, the movements can be so severe that they wake themselves up. Usually, both disorders are associated with some other disease like kidney disorders, anemia, diabetes, thyroid problems, lupus, MS etc. There are some medications currently available to treat both, and also lifestyle changes like getting more exercise and improving your nutrition have been found to be helpful. If you have a rather extremely sedentary life, think about adding something as simple as a walk in the evening.

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is the polar opposite of insomnia; you get sleepy and even fall asleep without warning. You may be getting plenty of sleep and not feel sleepy – until one of these sleep attacks hits you.

In extreme cases, people can literally fall asleep as fast as their dog or cat. The cause of narcolepsy is unknown, but doctors suspect it’s largely a genetic disorder combined with some type of environmental trigger. Doctors recommend a three-pronged approach to treatment: medication, counseling, and some form of behavioral treatment.

How to Stop Snoring

snoring
Snoring is one of the most common sleep problems, and while it may not be a big issue for the person suffering from it, it can be for their bed mate! So, let’s look at some treatments you can use to keep you from “sawing wood” or “peeling wallpaper”, as they say.
Keywords: sleeping, sleep, snoring, stop snoring, how to stop snoring, tips

Why do people snore?

In general, your airway becomes narrower, and this results in an inability to breathe smoothly. As with sleep apnea, the treatments can vary wildly. Sometimes just changing your position in bed is enough, elevating the head, or losing some weight can relieve it.

How to Stop Snoring

First off, a change of position when you sleep can help. Snoring often occurs when you lie on your back. So, try to sleep on your side or stomach. If that’s not an option, maybe just a thicker pillow (or more pillows) to elevate your head will do the trick. Avoid a soft pillow; a firm one will get the proper elevation to your head. With a soft pillow, your throat will relax and this leads to a narrowing of the airways. Also, following a regular sleep routine can help.

Next, there are the things you eat and drink. You want to avoid things that tend to relax your muscles. So, don’t drink alcohol, take drugs, or any medications like sleeping pills or antihistamines. As your muscles relax, your airways become restricted, and this leads to snoring. Smoking is yet another contributing factor. The hot smoke causes swelling and inflammation of the airways, and this too constricts them.

Then there are foods to avoid, or to eat. First off, don’t eat a large meal close to bedtime; a full stomach will press against your diaphragm, and this too will constrict your airways. Also, dairy products cause the build-up of mucus in your breathing passages, and this too leads to snoring.

Then there are foods like pizza, chocolate, cakes and cookies; they’re very rich in calories, and they also contribute to snoring. One food that has been found to help reduce snoring is honey. A small dose before bed can help. It’s thought that it asks as a natural antihistamine, and thus clears the airways. In addition, just losing weight, if you’re overweight, can also help.

Snoring is one of the most common sleep problems. While it causes no medical issues, it can be very unpleasant for your partner.

One key aid is moisture – keeping your throat and airways at optimum moisture eases tightness of the airways and reduces congestion. So, drinking some water or using a room humidifier can be helpful. Also, if you suffer from hay fever and have to take an antihistamine, be sure to drink plenty of water. The two will combine to dry out your airways, yet also keep them properly moist.

If snoring persists…

If snoring persists, there are things like dental grips, nasal strips, and anti-snoring pills and nasal sprays. All of them accomplish the same thing: opening your airways. With a dental device, it normally has to be custom designed and made by the dentist.

If none of these measures helps, then surgery may be needed. Consult with your doctor, and get a second opinion on how to proceed. The most common physical problems that cause snoring are a deviated septum, enlarged tonsils, or having a large overbite. A doctor can do somnoplasty, which requires going in through the mouth and removing some of the soft tissue in the upper airway.

Surgery for preventing snoring

If a deviated septum is the problem, nasal surgery can clear the airway by removing the obstruction. Then there’s an auvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP); the removal of some soft tissue from the back of the throat in the area of the palate. If you have an overbite, mandibular maxillar advancement surgery moves the lower jaw forward, and this opens the airway up more.

Finally, a Pillar Palatal Implant can ease snoring by reducing vibrations in the soft palate. Three pieces of polyester mesh are sown into the area between the hard and soft palate. Whichever means you use, there are plenty of ways to deal with snoring.

What to do in case you can’t sleep

Sleeping is an important process where body and mind regenerates. Not being able to sleep is a serious problem. But you are not alone! Many people have sleep problems. Just like them, you can sleep well again!
Keywords: sleep, can’t sleep, cannot sleep, what to do if you can’t sleep, sleeping, sleep problem, sleep aid, cant sleep

Can’t sleep? here’s what you can do….

Last night you couldn’t sleep and as a result, you were tired and irritable all day. Now it’s bedtime and you’re worried if it will happen again.

That becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, of course. You toss and turn. Every time you look at the clock, you get more aggravated. You know the next day will be awful, and it’s even worse than you expected. Once insomnia gets started, it’s very hard to stop the pattern.

You know you need to find some way to get a decent night’s sleep.

Medical problems can cause irregular sleep

First, you need to find out if there are underlying medical causes for your sleeping problems. If you haven’t had a physical for a while, you’ll want a doctor to examine you and talk about whether you have a medical condition that is causing insomnia.

People with arthritis, for example, may have trouble sleeping because of pain and need to take pain medication at night before bed. Certain mental conditions like depression and bipolar disorder can cause insomnia.

Sleeping problems can also be linked to cancer, congestive heart failure, lung disease, increased blood sugar levels, overactive thyroid, stroke, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and gastroesophagael reflux disease.

If your doctor thinks you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea or Restless Legs Syndrome, he or she may refer you to a sleep center for special testing.

Side effects of drugs

One thing to check on is whether you are taking any drugs that can affect sleep. A number of prescription drugs can cause sleeping problems, including antidepressants, stimulants (such as Ritalin), corticostersoids, heart and blood pressure medication, and allergy medications.

Over-the-counter drugs may contain caffeine and other stimulants that keep you from sleeping. These drugs include decongestants, weight loss products, and some pain medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether any drugs could be causing your insomnia.

Say goodbye to bad habits

If there’s no medical condition causing your insomnia, some changes in your life may be needed to improve your sleep. Avoid drinking coffee, tea, cola, or other drinks with caffeine in the late afternoon because that can keep you from falling asleep.

If you smoke, your insomnia is another good reason to quit, since nicotine is a stimulant that causes insomnia. Another stimulant is exercise, which is great for your body generally. However, exercising within 6 hours of bedtime can contribute to insomnia.

Remove TV from your bedroom

You need to work to improving your sleep environment and habits. If there’s a television or computer in your bedroom, it’s a good idea to remove them and just use that room and your bed for sleeping.

Big meals right before bed can make it hard to sleep. Finding a way to relax before bed is important. Create a nightly ritual like a warm bath, breathing exercises, reading or listening to quiet music. Avoid drinking alcohol, which may relax you, but will make you sleep more lightly and wake up during the night.

Any beverage close to bedtime is likely to make you wake up and have to go to the bathroom a lot during the night. Put your clock where you can’t see it so you don’t keep checking the time and worrying about whether you’ll ever get to sleep.

Take sleep medications as last resort!

If you still are having trouble sleeping, you may want to consider sleep medication. Over-the-counter sleep aides contain antihistamines that make you drowsy, but they can cause dry mouth, daytime sleepiness, and/or blurred vision.

Your doctor may prescribe sleeping pills to help you break out of the insomnia pattern.

At some point in our lives, most of us get insomnia. Sleep is something we take for granted until we lose it. Making these changes in your life should soon help you fall asleep more easily and stay asleep. Curing your insomnia and getting good sleep is an incredible relief.

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How to Get Better Sleep

When looking to get a good night’s sleep, there are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of getting it. This article describes few tips on how to get a better sleep!
Keywords: sleep, sleeping problem, how to get better sleep, sleep better, cannot sleep



If you want to get a good night’s sleep, read the following tips and try to follow them.

Remove caffeine or any other stimulant

First off, caffeine is a stimulant, which is why people drink it in the morning, and it can take upwards of six to eight hours to wear off. So, if you have trouble sleeping, cut out coffee, soda, and other forms of caffeine late in the day or the evening.

Next, cut down on alcohol. While a few drinks can relax you and help you to fall asleep, the sleep will not be as deep as it should, and you may wake up during the night.

Try relaxation methods

If unable to sleep, use some form of relaxation technique to calm your mind and body down. If you have stresses from the day’s work, work to disconnect yourself from them and calm down.

This technique may not work at first, but over time your body will be conditioned to respond to it. Also, there’s no one right way to calm down.
Relaxation methods:

  • Reading,
  • meditation,
  • hypnosis,
  • doing some light stretching,
  • drinking warm milk,
  • take a warm bath,
  • use aromatherapy.
  • Exercising

    Then there’s exercise. Now, this can vary depending on the individual. If you’re the type of person to get pumped up or energized by exercise, then do it in the morning. If it calms you down and drains you, the late afternoon is the perfect time. Next is your bedroom and sleeping arrangements. Are you the sort of person who needs peace and quiet and total darkness to sleep? Then draw your shades and turn off the TV and radio.

    On the other hand, if a bit of white noise helps you to relax, maybe turn on the radio or get yourself some soft music tapes to listen to. Also, consider the conditions of your bed. Are the sheets comfortable for you? What about the firmness of the mattress; is it too hard or too soft? Do you suffer from allergies? If so, the detergents you use can be a factor. Do you have pets? If so, you might want to keep them off of your bed; here again, they can cause you allergies.

    Food and nutrition

    Next is the issue of food. On the one hand, you do not want to go to bed hungry. An empty belly will lead to your stomach grumbling, and this will keep you awake. On the other hand, eating a large meal right before bed will leave you feeling very stuffed, and drinking too much may result in you having to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

    If you must eat, eat light. Milk has tryptophan, a natural sleep enhancing hormone – hence the old wives’ tale about drinking a glass of it before bed. Also, fruit will give you natural sugars, yet not overly stimulate you; tuna, pumpkin, almonds, eggs and walnuts (to name only a few foods) all promote sleep.

    Avoid bad habits

    Along with laying off of alcohol, try to avoid or at least cut down on smoking. Nicotine has the initial effect of making you feel relaxed, but over the long term it is a stimulant. So, like alcohol and caffeine, try to only smoke in the early part of the day; the late afternoon at the latest.

    Take a short nap

    Some people find a mid morning or afternoon nap refreshing, but too long a nap can cut into your nighttime sleep schedule. So, keep naps to a maximum of fifteen to twenty minutes, and don’t nap in the late afternoon.

    Bed is for sleeping

    Finally, remember what a bed is (mainly) for: sleep. So, cut out distracting non-sleep activities like eating, watching TV or getting into very serious discussions with your spouse/partner. By following these tips, you can insure yourself of a decent night’s sleep.

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