Sleep Disorders Treatment
What is a Sleep Disorder?
A sleep disorder is a condition that impacts the quality of your sleep. Current research tells us that disordered sleep has a significant impact on health and function.
There are many sleep disorders. These include insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep), sleep apnea (abnormal patterns of breathing during sleep), restless leg syndrome (a sleep movement disorder), narcolepsy (falling asleep suddenly during the day), and circadian rhythm sleep disorders (poor synchronization with sleep-wake and light-dark cycles).
Many diagnoses impact upon sleep. For example, PTSD may result in nightmares and disrupt sleep and may result in a fear of sleep, anxiety disorders and/or stress responses may result in racing thoughts that block sleep onset, brain injury may impact sleep cycles, chronic pain may result in wakefulness and difficulty staying asleep, and depression may result in excessive sleep.
Common Types of Sleep Disorders
When it comes to achieving quality rest and maintaining overall well-being, sleep plays a crucial role. However, various factors can disrupt our sleep patterns, sometimes leading to sleep disorders.
Sleep disorders encompass a range of conditions that affect the quality, duration, and timing of sleep. Identifying the specific type of sleep disorder is essential for receiving appropriate sleep disorder treatment.
Those who struggle with insomnia often feel drained during the day, agitated, and unable to concentrate. The goal of sleep therapy, including cognitive-behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), is to address the underlying causes of sleep disorders.
CBT-I helps people form better sleep patterns and raises their overall sleep quality by focusing on behavioural and cognitive dynamics.
Sleep apnea is characterized by difficulty in falling or staying asleep due to breathing interruptions. This disruption can result in daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, and even serious health consequences if left untreated.
The treatment of sleep apnea involves changes in lifestyle, like using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, regular exercise, weight loss, and avoiding sedatives and alcohol.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) causes uncomfortable sensations and an irresistible urge to shake one’s legs, particularly at night. This condition can significantly disrupt sleep.
Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding nicotine and caffeine, practicing regular exercise, and implementing relaxation techniques can be used to manage RLS with the right medication to help reduce symptoms and improve sleep quality.
Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder defined by excessive daytime sleepiness, sudden loss of muscle control (cataplexy), sleep paralysis, and hallucinations. While there is no cure for narcolepsy, sleep therapy and medications can help effectively manage symptoms.
How Can Insomnia or a Sleep Disorder Impact my Life?
If you’re on this page, you probably don’t need an explainer on how a sleep problem or insomnia impacts your daily life! Lack of sleep impacts thinking, emotional regulation, reaction time, can result in anxiety or depressive symptoms increasing, increased aches and pains, irritability… it can even cause food or sugar cravings! Beyond that, the suffering and anxiety that is experienced by most people when they are struggling to sleep is its own kind of misery. Dreading night time can ruin your day. Seek treatment for your sleep disorder and find a solution that works for you.
Sleep Disorders can be Treated and Have a Good Success Rate!
We can use sleep hygiene, behavioural modifications and counselling, and other treatments for sleep disorders to help you improve your sleep. We have two techniques in particular, that have great sleep outcomes. CBT-I and neurofeedback.
CBT-I has a strong evidence base. Up to 70 – 80% of people with insomnia see positive change. This includes less wakefulness, less time to fall asleep, and more time asleep!
In a recent sleep study, a research team at the University of Pretoria found that using ISF neurofeedback (a kind of neurofeedback we use here at Renew), resulted in statistically significant positive change in sleep duration, latency, efficiency and overall sleep quality.
Research tells us that, for those who are willing to put in the time and effort, sleep can be improved!
What are Symptoms of Sleep Disorders?
Disordered sleep may result in excessive sleepiness during the day, difficulty thinking, safety issue when driving, poor emotional control, physical pain, headaches, and more.
Effective Sleep Disorder Treatments
Sleep therapy involves a variety of approaches and techniques that address specific sleep-related issues. The CBT-I treatment method focuses on the habits and underlying causes of sleep disruptions, and CBT-SD promotes healthy sleep patterns and changes negative sleep-related thoughts and behaviours.
Infra-slow Fluctuation Neurofeedback
ISF-NF (infra-slow fluctuation neurofeedback) is an innovative treatment for sleep disorders that aims to regulate sleep patterns by targeting very slow brainwave activity. Research suggests that this non-invasive and accessible therapy can significantly improve sleep quality, reduce sleep latency and wake after sleep onset, and alleviate mood and anxiety symptoms in individuals with insomnia.
Depending on the seriousness of your sleep disorder, medication might be recommended. It can help you regulate sleep cycles, reduce daytime sleepiness and improve overall sleep quality. However, it is important to ask a healthcare professional to determine the right medication and dosage for your sleep disorder.
Sleep Disorder Clinics
Sleep disorder clinics offer comprehensive evaluations, diagnostic testing, and personalized treatment plans. Visiting a sleep disorder clinic allows individuals to benefit from the expertise of sleep specialists who have in-depth knowledge of various sleep disorders and access the most effective treatment options available.
Yoga therapy offers a natural approach to improve sleep quality. Incorporating gentle stretching, relaxation techniques, and meditation, it helps calm the mind and release physical tension. Regular practice can regulate the sleep-wake cycle, promote deep relaxation, and create optimal conditions for restful sleep, aiding in the management of sleep disorders.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sleep therapy is a therapy that tries to treat sleep disorders by using methods like relaxation exercises, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), or neurofeedback to enhance sleep quality and address the root causes of sleep disruptions.
The type and underlying reasons for a sleep disorder play an important role in determining the appropriate course of treatment. Treatments can be individualized and may include sleep treatment, medication, lifestyle modifications, or a mix of these.
The duration of sleep therapy varies depending on the individual and the specific sleep disorder being treated. It can range from a few weeks to several months, with regular sessions and progress monitoring throughout the treatment process.
Sleep disorders can significantly impact overall health and quality of life. They can cause daytime fatigue, impair cognitive function, and might also increase the risk of other health conditions if left untreated.
Yes, sleep disorders can have a significant impact on brain function. Lack of quality sleep can impair memory, concentration, and cognitive abilities. Treating sleep disorders can help alleviate these effects and promote brain health.