Sleep Disorder Treatment – Why It Happens and How We Can Cure

Jul 17, 2019

An average adult human body requires 6-8 hours of sleep on a daily basis to function properly. A recurring disruption to this normal sleeping pattern, which affects our daytime activities, is termed as a Sleep Disorder. While Sleep Disorders are more common in people with diseases of the Central Nervous System (CNS), those with psychiatric conditions can also be affected by it.

What are the Different Types of Sleep Disorders?
Sleep Disorders can be largely classified as below,

  • Insomnia - Insomnia (guided meditation for insomnia) is a condition where the individual is either unable to fall asleep or unable to continue in a state of uninterrupted sleep. A pattern of disrupted sleep three nights per week, lasting for three months, is characterized as Chronic Insomnia.
  • Sleep Apnea - Apnea is defined as a temporary cessation of breath. An individual can suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), i.e. when the air passage collapses and breathing is obstructed, or Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) which occurs due to a disruption of the brain signals.
  • Narcolepsy - Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder defined as the brain’s inability to control sleep cycles. Symptoms of Narcolepsy include excessive sleep at daytime, sleep paralysis, cataplexy, hallucinations and disturbed nocturnal sleep. Recent studies have proven that individuals who suffer from narcolepsy have around 95% less hypocretin-producing neurons than found in an average human mind.
  • Parasomnias - Parasomnias are actually a group of sleep disorders characterized by unwanted or abnormal experiences that occur when an individual is asleep, in the process of falling asleep or waking up from the state of sleep. Sleepwalking is the most commonly known category of Parasomnias; others are - Confusional arousals while waking up, Sleep Eating Disorder, Night Terrors, REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder, Nightmares, Sleep Paralysis, Sleep Hallucinations, Bedwetting, Exploding Head Syndrome, and Sleep Talking.  According to a recent study published by the National Sleep Foundation, Parasomnias can be genetic as they often run in families.
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS) - RLS is a sleep disorder which is described as an unpleasant or uncomfortable sensation in the legs of the patient affecting him/her with an urge to keep on moving them. The disorder occurs most often when the individual is resting in the form of sitting or lying down. Walking provides relief but discomfort soon returns once the movement is stopped. RSL can result in severe tiredness and daytime drowsiness due to lack of rest and sleep. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, U.S., nearly 7%-10% of the U.S. population may suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome.     
  • Circadian rhythm disorder - Circadian Rhythm is the 24-hour sleep/wake cycle of a human body. Occasional or continuous disruptions in a person's sleep patterns that lead to a mismatch between the body's Circadian Rhythm and external environment can be termed as Circadian Rhythm Disorder. Patients of Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder can be affected by excessive sleepiness or insomnia.

What Causes Sleep Disorders?
Recent studies have shown that more than a third of American adults suffer from disrupted sleep. Following are some of the most common causes of sleep disorders:

  1. Physical disturbances, such as headaches or physical pains can lead to a chronic interruption in our sleep patterns, thus, causing a Sleep Disorder.
  2. Medical issues or long term health problems, such as asthma can result in disturbed sleep
  3. Psychiatric disorders like anxiety, stress, and depression can have an adverse effect on the body's natural sleep cycle
  4. Environmental issues, such as consumption of alcohol or coffee, or bright light can also affect the sleeping patterns

Other factors like Aging, Genetics, Night-Shift Employment and Medications can also interfere with normal sleep cycles leading to sleep disorders.

Are Sleep Disorders Curable?
Yes, most sleep disorders are curable. If you are suffering then the doctor may conduct a physical examination to identify if there is a medical problem leading to a sleep disorder. In addition, you may be asked to review your sleep habits and keep a sleep diary for a few weeks. In some cases, you may be asked to undergo a series of sleep tests to study and record the brain and body activities while you sleep. Once the type of disorder is identified, it can be treated with any, or a combination, of the following methods,

  • Meditation: Progressive muscle relaxation and meditation are the most common recommendations for those suffering from Sleep Disorders. Breathing exercises  and a relaxed bedtime routine can help cure this illness without leaving any side effects.
  • Therapy: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) (sleeping disorder treatment) is the second line of treatment. This form of treatment can help an individual control and thus, eliminate the negative thoughts which affect sleep patterns. CBT techniques include stimulus control therapy, sleep restriction, sleep hygiene, sleep environment improvement, relaxation training, remaining passively awake and biofeedback.
  • Medication: In case the patient has not received any comfort from the above two methods of treatment, the doctor may prescribe sleeping pills. However, regular and long-term use of this form of medication can cause side effects including extreme drowsiness, agitation, balance problems, etc.

How can I Avoid Sleep Disorder?
In most cases, Sleep Disorders occur temporarily due to alterations in physical or environmental circumstances. A positive change in these circumstances can help cure the disorder. It is important to follow a healthy sleep routine and avoid any factors which may disrupt the normal sleep pattern.

Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

  • It is important to follow a routine sleep cycle. Go to bed and rise at the same time daily.
  • Ensure that the sleeping area is cozy, quiet and appropriately dark.
  • Avoid taking any naps during the daytime.
  • Reduce the intake of alcohol and coffee in your daily lifestyle.
  • Regular exercise (yoga for sleep) in the daytime can lead to better sleep in the night time.
  • Brightness from screens (TV or Computer) can send confusing signals regarding wakefulness to the brain resulting in insomnia. Avoid looking at them for at least an hour before bedtime and restrict their use in the sleeping area.


It's never too late to repair; a healthy and well-rested mind leads to a healthy and well-rested body.

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