Deepak is frustrated, often tired, and irritable. He isn’t sleeping through the night, has trouble concentrating on his work and displays a lack of energy in his chores. While behaviours like these are often considered as a passing phase or mood, and even related to someone’s personality, more often than not they showcase sleep disorder symptoms.
A study conducted by a consumer giant in 2015 claims that 93% Indians are sleep-deprived. But the worst part is that they are unaware of their condition, and its impact on their health.
What is a Sleep Disorder
Growing up, we all have heard our elders say, “Get 7-8 hours of sleep”, or “Go to bed early, and rise early”, but in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, these take a backseat. Tech gadgets, stress, work schedule, medication are some of the problems responsible for the lack of good sleep at night. And if this happens on a regular basis, it is a sign of a sleeping disorder.
As a result, a larger section of the population now feels lethargic, and finds it hard to concentrate on anything for long. The implications of this could be severe, particularly for those who have crossed 40 years of age. And may lead to threatening health issues like weight gain, diabetes, increased blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.
The first step to avoid these would be to identify if you have a sleeping disorder. Here are the top 5 warning signs to look for:
Major Symptoms of a Sleep Disorder
Trouble Falling Asleep
Everyone experiences difficulty in sleeping now and again. But if it takes you 30 minutes or longer to fall asleep on most days, or if you have trouble going back to sleep after you wake up at night, those may be signs of insomnia or some other sleep disorder.
Waking up frequently at shorter intervals during your sleep due to restlessness, difficulty in breathing, dry mouth or frequent visits to the bathroom, might be symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This also involves having episodes of choking or gasping several times during sleep.
Frequent or loud snoring a subject of humour for most of us. But it's time we looked at it as having serious health implications. Caused due to factors like age, weight, smoking, or breathing problems, snoring can result in troubled sleep, often leading to other factors like acid reflux, and daytime sleepiness.
Snoring occurs as a result of partial closing of the upper respiratory tract. Loud snoring, and waking up in the middle of the night gasping for breath, or snorting in your sleep, are signs of sleep apnea. This could lead to a dangerous condition where your airway becomes obstructed and you could stop breathing in your sleep.
Sleeping Through the Day
Do you experience the following symptoms during daytime?
Even after eight hours of sleep at night, you wake up groggy and unrefreshed
You often feel very sleepy during the day, especially in the morning hours
You take frequent naps and fall asleep at odd times or while reading or driving
It might be normal to experience such symptoms after a troubled sleep at night, but if these occur often, it's a cause of worry. Displaying excessive daytime sleepiness is a warning sign that you are not getting enough sleep. And that you may have a sleep disorder.
Difficulty in Concentrating on Work
A good night’s sleep keeps you fresh and rejuvenated at whatever you do. The lack of it can make you restless, irritable, cause a headache, and make it difficult for you to concentrate on the work at hand.
Some of the symptoms might be forgetting stuff, lack of enthusiasm and dozing off at work, in school or even while driving, and requiring a stimulant such as caffeine to keep you awake during the day.
Other Health Issues
Consecutive periods of bad sleep can lead to throat aches. Vulnerability to cold, widespread pain in joints and muscles, and frequent morning headaches are signs that you are not sleeping well.
At times, due to lifestyle changes, work or health issues could lead to an improper sleep and your irritable mood throughout the day. This does not necessarily mean you have a sleeping disorder. Not unless these are frequent, or worse, a part of your everyday routine. Then, you need to worry. And try to improve your routine, with better care of your health and well being.
Take our Sleep Quiz to find out if you are at risk.