Stop Snoring. Sleep Better.

How Do You Know If You Have a Sleep Disorder?

Probably the most basic litmus test of whether or not you have a sleep disorder is feeling tired in the daytime, consistently. Sleep is meant to rejuvenate and prepare you for the next day. If that’s not happening, then you probably have a sleep disorder — or you’re making a conscious decision not to get the right amount and type of sleep.

That being said, here are some telltale signs of sleep disorders:

Do you. . .

  • feel sleepy or irritable during the day?
  • have difficulty staying awake when sitting still, watching television or reading?
  • fall asleep or feel very tired while driving?
  • have difficulty concentrating?
  • get told by others that you look tired?
  • react slowly?
  • have trouble controlling your emotions?
  • feel like you have to take a nap almost every day?
  • require caffeinated beverages to keep yourself going in the daytime?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, the likelihood is that you are facing a sleep disorder. The question then is what type of sleep difficulty are you facing.

The most common types of sleep disorders are insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome (RLS), narcolepsy and circadian rhythm disorders.

Insomnia is the one disorder most susceptible to life-style fixes, often without seeking professional help. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), however, is a much more serious disorder that causes the sufferer to literally gasp for breath during sleep, but often without realizing it. Sleep apnea has many causes, and professional help is definitely called for.

RLS is a painful condition that forces the sufferer to continually reposition his or her legs to relieve the pain, causing sleep to suffer. If you have RLS, you definitely should seek help.

Narcolepsy is a condition that causes the sufferer to fall asleep uncontrollably during the day. Narcolepsy arises from a dysfunction in the brain that requires professional evaluation and treatment.

Circadian rhythm disorders are often caused by life-style changes, such as working the graveyard shift. These disorders are born of internal signals — light signals being awake, and dark signals sleep time. These signals can get confused when one suffers jet lag, faces changes in work schedules or suffers from depression.

Regardless of the cause of your sleep problems, you owe it to yourself to solve the disorder and enjoy your daytimes fully. If you need to seek professional help, that is exactly what you should do.

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