Sleep disorders are a widespread phenomenon. The most common are sleep onset insomnia and sleep maintenance insomnia. Those affected suffer from too little sleep or restless sleep. The consequences are fatigue in the morning or during the day, reduced performance and concentration difficulties. Sleep disorders also increase the risk of different diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases.
Sleep disorders can have physical, psychic or emotional causes. The most common physical causes include Sleep apnoea syndrome and Restless legs syndrome. However, cardiac disease, lung disease or hormonal disorders can impact on your sleep as well. However, psychological or emotional factors often play a decisive role in sleep disorders. Stress, chronically stressful situations, fears or unresolved conflicts in particular often rob people of sleep. A vicious circle arises as a result: poor sleep heightens stress, which in turn makes sleep disorders worse.
Sleep disorders can manifest in different ways. The most common is sleep onset insomnia, where the person lies awake for a long time before falling asleep. Or you wake up too early in the morning and can no longer get back to sleep. Sleep maintenance insomnia is also common. Those affected wake several times per night and can then have difficulty falling back to sleep. Certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnoea syndrome manifest primarily as a result of fatigue and a great need for sleep during the day.
Temporary sleep disorders may occur now and again, and do not require medical intervention. However, if the sleep disorders last for a longer period, they should be checked and treated by a doctor.
It is difficult to diagnose sleep disorders, so different examinations are required. The type of the sleep disorder can be recognised by keeping a sleep diary. An in-depth discussion helps to detect psychological, emotional or social factors behind sleep disorders. Sometimes an examination in the sleep laboratory helps to determine the type and cause of the sleep disorder. Further examinations are sometimes necessary to rule out physical causes.
The treatment depends on the type and cause of the sleep disorder. Often simple measures such as regular physical activity, relaxation exercises, careful mobile phone use, airing the bedroom well and avoiding stimulants or rich food in the evening can lead to an improvement in sleep disorders. If there are physical causes at the heart of the sleep disorder, the treatment focuses on treating them. Medication, in particular sleeping pills, should be used sparingly and only for a short period. However, sometimes they are essential to break through the vicious circle of sleep deprivation and stress, for example.
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