Photo by Annie Spratt:

Everybody sleeps. Else, they become cranky, and their health deteriorates. Unfortunately, many can’t help but miss sleep due to the sleep disorders they’re suffering from. How do these conditions influence them?

About 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, hindering them from adequately functioning daily. This doesn’t only impede their social responsibilities but also adversely affects their mental and physical health. Everyone has internal body clocks overseeing their bodies throughout the day. These keep track of people’s sleep-wake cycles, influencing them when they should sleep and wake up.

However, only some have the privilege to enjoy this cycle.

A Broken Clock

While others are cuddled up in their beds, enjoying a good night’s sleep, some struggle and grapple as their body clocks go haywire. Those who suffer from sleep disorders fail to recharge their bodies and minds, causing countless detrimental effects. Sleep deprivation doesn’t only cause simple irritability and laziness throughout the day. It may also lead to grave consequences.

A perfect example of capturing the worst-case scenario is reflected in Insomnia: Two Wives, Childhood Memories and Crazy Dreams book by Jack Hawn. The book accounts the author’s story from when he met his wife down to losing her because of insomnia. His story warns why people must be conscious and attentive to their sleep cycles, as it shows how, at worst, insomnia is incurable.

But aside from the latter, other sleep disorders are also detrimental to people’s health.

Sleep Disorders to Pay Attention To

In their basic definition, sleep disorders influence people’s ability to fall or stay asleep, leading to various health problems. These conditions are caused by multiple factors, including lifestyle choices, underlying medical conditions, and the medication people take to control these. Due to this, treatment may also revolve around lifestyle changes, medication, and therapy.

People need to seek professional help upon first observation of symptoms. They don’t have to wait until conditions worsen and impact their lives. Sleep is essential to people. It’s what helps them to function and interact with each other as proper humans. By addressing these sleep disorders, they aren’t only fixing relationships but improving their quality of life.

Some of the most common types of this disorder include sleep apnea, which happens when breathing stops and starts during sleep. This causes loud snoring, interrupting not only one’s rest but also those around them. Sleep apnea increases people’s risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

People may also suffer from narcolepsy, a condition causing people to fall asleep anytime and anywhere uncontrollably. With its sudden onset, narcolepsy places people at high risk of accidents, physical injuries, and fatalities.

The Most Common Type of Sleep Disorder

Among the numerous conditions, many people suffer from the same disorder: insomnia. This is one’s inability to fall or stay asleep, leading to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating during the day. Unlike the others, which may only occasionally happen, insomnia attacks are more frequent, disrupting one’s routine habitually.

According to recent studies, around 9% to 15% of American adults currently have insomnia, significantly affecting their daytime activities.

However, while severe medical conditions typically cause other sleep disorders, insomnia is commonly associated with behavioral issues. A common cause for this condition can be traced back to one’s poor sleeping environment, like having an uncomfortable bed. Lifestyle factors also contribute to this deprivation, such as drinking too much alcohol or caffeine. Studies also suggest that people with crazy or vivid dreams may be prone to insomnia due to the stress and anxiety these experiences cause.

Insomnia and People’s Health

Beyond affecting their daytime activities, insomnia also impacts people’s physical and mental health. When people constantly lack sleep, they can experience lower performance at school, at their jobs, or even throughout their social interactions. It has also been long linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Nobody can go through a week of sleep deficiency. One way or another, their grogginess will manifest, influencing their activities and putting them at risk of physical injuries. For instance, someone who has had insomnia for two days may experience extreme sleepiness on the third. If they go through with their day, they may encounter accidents or emotional meltdowns.

When untreated, chronic insomnia increases one’s risk of developing anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. Generally, all of these sleep disorders can seriously impact people’s physical and psychological health. Thus, anyone must seek help if their sleep worsens and interferes with everyday life. Practicing excellent sleep hygiene and investing in a good sleeping environment can help prevent a disorder from developing.