Reasons for sleep disorders
From 30-40% of adults snore. Normally this is not a disease. More often snore men and people who are overweight and have short fatty neck. Snoring is disruptive for both »snorer« as partner and is a common predictor of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
The cause of snoring is the oscillation (vibration) of the upper respiratory tract mucosa and soft palate during sleep, when body muscles including neck are released and softened. Snoring is heightened by alcohol, drugs or tranquilizers.
Snoring can also transitionally occur during inflammation of the upper respiratory tract (nasal congestion, sore throat). Very often, there is a chronic inflammation of the upper respiratory tract (chronic rhinitis, nasal polyps and enlarged tonsils…)
Obesity is one of the most important factors of snoring and sleep apnea. The most vulnerable are people with central obesity and fatty neck. These people have, due to the thick layer of fat under the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, narrowed o even closed most respiratory ways.
OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA (OSA)
The term »apnea« means the cessation of breathing. Approximately 2-4% of adults have at least a less severe form of OSA. It is a dynamic obstruction of the upper airways (nasal passages, throat or larynx) during sleep. Usually, muscles are relaxed during sleep and therefore looser. Root of the tongue may slip back against the wall of the throat, loosed and thickened soft palate can be hanged at the root of the tongue, swollen or inflamed mucous of the nasal passages and throat can compress the airway. The enlarged tonsils contribute to the same mechanism.
All of these causes can temporarily interrupt air flow to the lungs; deadlock may last from 10 to 120 seconds. During apnea (respiratory arrest), breathing muscles and diaphragm shrink to permit airflow or breath.
Such patients frequently snore at night, toss and turn, sweat excessively and repeatedly arouse panic shortness of breath. Their partners notice that snorers stop breathing several times during the night. In the morning such patients wake up tired, gloomy, slowed down and with the feeling that they did not get enough sleep and did not dream anything. During the day they snooze several times. The are mentally less effective. They often cause work and traffic accidents. Treatment is performed at several levels and includes weight loss, promotion of physical activity, regulation of the nasal route (surgically or anti-inflammatory), patients are advised against taking sedatives and alcohol drinking. Sometimes additional treatment with device which produces an overpressure in the airway is required (CPAP).
It is a sleep disorder that begins during teenage years. It is characterized by chronic excessive daytime sleepiness and emergence of real »attacks« od sudden sleepiness, when despite inappropriate situation person cannot resist sleep. These patients can also be genetically burdened and have ancestors with similar problems.
Cataplexy is a form of narcolepsy, where occur muscle paralysis and nightmare hallucinations during sleep attacks.
Narcolepsy is treated by neurologists specialized for sleep disorders.
RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME:
It is uncomfortable itching in legs which triggers an irresistible urge to move legs. Only leg movement or walking help. Such patients are therefore often waking up, walking at night…Sleep is very disturbed. Treatment is relatively easy with relaxing stretching exercises for limbs, yoga before bed and iron supplements in case of iron deficiency.
Most often it is present in children. It is walking while sleeping. It is often associated with depression and anxiety. Episodes can last up to several minutes. There is no specific treatment.
In most cases it disappears during growing up.
SLEEP DISORDERS AT SOMATIC DISEASES
These abnormalities are associated with severe somatic disorders. These are patients with uncontrolled nocturnal asthma, chronic bronchitis (COPD), lack of oxygen in blood, severe heart failure and nocturnal choking, cardiac rhythm disorders, diabetes type II, reflux disease of esophagus, Parkinson`s disease or pain syndrome in cancer and neurological disorders. Therapy is symptomatic and targeted according to the type of the disease.
SLEEP DISORDERS IN MENTAL DISEASES
Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or panic disorders disturb sleep in a large proportion. Such patients need psychiatric treatment and therapy.