Getting enough sleep is an essential part of maintaining physical and mental wellness. Everybody tosses and turns sometimes, but when poor sleep becomes a pattern, it can have a dramatic impact on a person’s ability to function properly during their waking hours.
Certain mental health conditions are associated with disturbed sleeping patterns – people with anxiety might lay awake worrying, and people experiencing post-traumatic stress may suffer from night terrors. But sleep disorders are common in individuals without other mental health concerns, as well. You are not alone if you or someone you care about is stuck in an unhealthy sleep pattern.
New Directions Mental Health offers sleep disorder treatment in Pennslyvania that can help you develop better sleeping habits. Our treatment program for sleep disorders is designed to get to the root cause of disrupted sleeping patterns and address any underlying issues that are causing interference with restorative sleep. Contact us at 724.374.7414 today to learn more about our mental health disorders treatment.
What Are Sleep Disorders?
Sleep disorders are conditions that interfere with a person’s ability to get a good night’s sleep by impacting the amount or quality of sleep. Even though they are common, sleep disorders should be taken seriously because poor sleep can affect your physical and emotional health and even pose serious safety risks.
Driving while sleepy, for example, is sometimes compared to driving drunk because poor sleep can impact your concentration, coordination, and reaction time. Getting behind the wheel after being awake for over 18 hours impairs the driving ability to the same degree that a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05% would, and being awake for 24 hours is comparable to getting behind the wheel with a BAC of 0.10%, which is higher than the legal limit in every state.
Types of Sleep Disorder
“Sleep disorders” is a broad term that includes many distinct conditions ranging from mild to severe. Here are a few sleep-wake disorders defined in the DSM-5, the current diagnostic manual that mental health professionals use to identify and diagnose mental disorders.
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, which can either mean waking up throughout the night or waking too early in the morning.
Many people who suffer from depression or anxiety disorders, such as general anxiety disorder, have insomnia.
Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder in which a person sleeps too much. This can present as extreme daytime drowsiness or sleep for too much of the day. Many people who suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders like major depressive disorder may also experience hypersomnia.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder in which a person may fall asleep very suddenly during the day. During a cataplectic attack, a person may lose control of their facial expression, droop their head, or even collapse altogether. People with narcolepsy also experience other sleep-related symptoms, such as daytime sleepiness, disrupted nighttime sleep, and sleep paralysis.
Nightmare disorder is a sleep disorder in which a person experiences extended episodes of distressing, extremely dysphoric dreams. These nightmares can be so severe that they impact the individual’s ability to go to work, maintain social relations, or otherwise function normally in their day-to-day life.
People who have another mental disorder causing nightmares – such as anxiety disorders like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – do not meet the criteria for nightmare disorder.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
As the name suggests, restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder characterized by the urge to move one’s legs, particularly in the evening. This urge can interfere with a person’s ability to fall or stay asleep.
Sleep Disorder Symptoms
Different sleep disorders can have vastly different symptoms – hypersomnia and insomnia, for example, describe sleep disorders that are complete opposites. That being said, there are some general signs and symptoms you can look out for that might indicate a change in sleep quality that could indicate a sleep disorder.
Symptoms of sleep disorders can include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Inability to stay asleep
- Waking up too early
- Daytime drowsiness
- Falling asleep during other activities
- Experiencing sleep paralysis
- Frequent nightmares
Sleep disorder treatment depends on the precise sleep disorder being experienced. In general, the treatment for sleep disorders can include the following:
- Medication – Medication can be used to help a person fall asleep, feel more alert, or address underlying mental health conditions that could contribute to poor sleep quality.
- Lifestyle changes – Practicing good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding blue light and developing a regular bedtime routine, can help improve sleep quality.
- Therapy – Therapy may be included in treatment when sleep disturbances are comorbid with or a symptom of another mental health condition.
Poor sleep can have a significant impact on your health and safety. Our mental health specialists can help you understand and overcome your sleep disorder.
Discover New Directions Mental Health's Sleep Disorder Treatment Program
At New Directions Mental Health, we are dedicated to helping people in our communities access life-changing mental health care. If you believe that you are experiencing a sleep disorder like insomnia, hypersomnia, narcolepsy, or any other sleep disorder, contact us today at 724.374.7414. We are dedicated to helping you get the restful sleep you deserve.