What are the causes of Sleep Disorder
Causes of sleep disorders
Sleep disorders can have several causes:
1. psychiatric diseases
More than half of all sleep disorders are precursors or accompanying symptoms of psychiatric diseases. In almost all severe forms, problems falling asleep or sleeping through the night or the feeling of not being refreshed during the day may occur. Patients with depression are particularly frequently affected. In addition to problems falling asleep and staying asleep, a typical symptom is an awakening in the early morning hours, after which the patient is unable to fall asleep again. In anxiety disorders, falling asleep is particularly disturbed, and in patients with dementia, the distribution of sleep throughout the day often changes massively, so that in extreme cases patients sleep almost exclusively during the day and are awake at night. Abuse and dependence on alcohol and drugs lead to a wide variety of sleep disorders, but very often there are severe sleep disturbances that can persist for years even after the triggering substance has been discontinued.
Primary insomnia is a clinical picture in which severe problems falling asleep and staying asleep occur with impaired daytime well-being without significant symptoms of another psychiatric illness. This form of sleep disorder is also very distressing for patients and therefore absolutely requires treatment.
2. other brain diseases
Many neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, epilepsies, brain tumors, and stroke lead to significant sleep disturbances and, in some cases, increased daytime sleepiness. Certain diseases of the diencephalon can cause massive daytime sleepiness in the context of so-called idiopathic hypersomnia or narcolepsy. Neurologic disorders also include nocturnal movement disorders, the most important of which is restless legs syndrome, in which there are uncomfortable lower extremity sensations at night that interfere with falling asleep and lead to involuntary nocturnal leg movements that disrupt sleep continuity. A variety of other nocturnal movement disorders; e.g., sleepwalking, can also interfere with sleep.
3. nocturnal breathing disorders
Nocturnal breathing disorders affect 2% to 5% of the population. Snoring, an alarm symptom of nocturnal breathing disorders, is even more common. In particular, but not exclusively, people who snore not infrequently exhibit pauses in breathing during sleep. During such pauses, called apneas, there is a decrease in the oxygen content of the blood. Sleep apneas last an average of 30 seconds, but can also last for more than one to two minutes. The most common are so-called obstructive apneas, in which the airways collapse during sleep due to excessive slackening of the muscles and excessively narrow anatomical conditions in the throat. At the end of each pause in breathing there is a waking reaction, which is why the sleep of such patients is considerably disturbed. Such pauses in breathing, which occur many hundreds of times per night in severely affected patients, not only disrupt sleep continuity, but also lead each time to a significant stress response with release of stress hormones. Therefore, sleep apnea syndrome is a condition associated with an increased risk of vascular and metabolic disease. The majority of patients do not notice this sleep disorder themselves and suffer exclusively from increased daytime sleepiness.
4. other diseases
A variety of diseases that do not primarily affect the brain can indirectly have a significant negative effect on sleep. These include hormonal diseases (e.g. thyroid diseases, pituitary diseases, adrenocortical diseases) but also chronic inflammatory processes such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. All diseases that are accompanied by pain can disturb sleep quite significantly and, conversely, chronic sleep disorders seem to increase the sensitivity to pain.
5. drugs and medication
Small amounts of alcohol (a glass of wine or beer) promote falling asleep. However, alcohol impedes sleeping through the night and reduces the overall restfulness of sleep. Many medications for various illnesses can cause sleep disturbances (pay attention to the package inserts!) and certain sleeping pills, if taken for a long time, lead to dependency and to continuing, sometimes even increasing sleep disturbances.
6. sleeping environment and habits
Of course, the sleeping environment has a considerable influence. Noise, the lighting conditions, the ambient temperature, all these factors can greatly affect sleep. In addition, there are also behaviors that are detrimental to healthy sleep. These include irregular bedtimes, shift work, eating large meals for dinner, very intense exercise right before bedtime, and the like.
7. psychosocial problems
Worries and hardships at work and in private life often lead to temporary sleep disturbances. Then, when there is acute cause for concern, such sleep disturbances do not constitute a disease and usually disappear spontaneously after the stressor has subsided. However, if the private and professional stresses persist permanently or if the sleep disturbance persists substantially beyond that, clarification and, if necessary, treatment are recommended.