1. Sleep disorders are common.
  2. Sleep disorders are often neglected.
  3. Sleep disorders can be life-threatening.

Today, there are over 60 different classified sleep disorders that can affect one’s slumber. You have probably heard of the more familiar conditions such as, insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and sleepwalking but there are many others that spend much less time in the spotlight. Some of these include sleep-related groaning, exploding head syndrome, confusional arousals, and sleep paralysis, just to name a few.

When encountering friends, family members and even strangers in passing, the topic of sleep often comes up and honestly, probably 1 out of 4 people complain to me about sleeping poorly. I am always amazed that despite hearing from others that their nights are unrestful and sometimes a source of anxiety, it is rare for those suffering to seek help for their abnormal sleep behaviours.

Sleep disorders despite how common a problem, tend to be one of the most disregarded of health concerns. Sleep disorders often take a back seat to medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, yet these conditions can actually occur as a result of an untreated sleep disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea. If ignored, this problem of airway blockage leading to repetitive pauses in breathing during the night accompanied by snorting/gasping, can also lead to more serious issues such as heart attack and stroke.

Some symptoms of sleep disorders include restlessness, twitching, snoring, gasping/choking, and frequent washroom trips during the night. Daytime signs may include fatigue, sleepiness, irritability and decreased concentration. If you are aware of any of these issues or are told so by your bed partner, be sure to discuss this with your physician or sleep specialist. The act of properly diagnosing and treating sleep disorders improves quality of life and increases life expectancy.


Author: Alena Krizek, RPSGT, REEGT, Certified Clinical Sleep Educator