Sleep disorders

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 Sleep disorders are divided into three main groups:

Dyssomnia which includes insomnia of psychological origin (inability to sleep at night), altitude insomnia, insomnia of external origin (extrinsic), sleep disorders linked to alcohol or drugs and narcolepsy. Insomnia is a frequent complaint of people over the age of 60. A distinction is made between insomnia onset of sleep, insomnia for maintaining sleep and insomnia on early awakening. Temporary insomnia can last up to 3 weeks. Beyond that, we speak of chronic insomnia;

Parasomnias which are sleep disorders associated with nocturnal awakenings but without significant disturbance of sleep or impairment of vigilance during the day. They are especially observed in children but can persist in adults with a pathological character. Parasomnias include sleepwalking, night terrors, sleep disturbances associated with REM sleep, nocturnal bruxism and nocturnal enuresis (urinary incontinence during the night);

Sleep disorders of psychiatric or neurological origin or linked to other diseases.


Dyssomnias

  • Chronic insomnia of psychological origin is due to emotional stress.
  • Insomnia of extrinsic origin occurs following a change in the sleeping environment (hospital bed, noise, light, snoring of the partner) or following an important event (illness, loss of a close individual, change of professional activity, examination);
  • Insomnia can occur during a stay at high altitude (linked to the decrease in oxygen in the air);
  • Sleep problems can be related to alcohol or medication. In some patients, consuming 5 cups of coffee may be responsible for sleep disturbances. Insomnia may occur during the hypnotics withdrawal period;
  • Narcolepsy is believed to have a genetic origin.

Parasomnias

The cause of sleepwalking remains unknown;

  • Nighttime bruxism (teeth grinding) begins at the end of the second decade and most often resolves spontaneously around the age of 40. Stress seems to play an important role in the genesis of this disorder;
  • The causes of secondary enuresis are emotional disturbances, urinary tract infections, urinary tract malformations and epilepsy.
  • Sleep disorders are frequently observed in mental (depression, manic-depressive illness), neurological (migraine headaches, cluster headaches, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome and Huntington’s chorea) or others. diseases (asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Symptoms of dyssomnia

Psychogenic insomnia: the patient falls asleep more easily at unscheduled periods (when not trying to fall asleep);

Insomnia of extrinsic origin: there is an increase in the time it takes to fall asleep, frequent nocturnal awakenings and early morning awakenings;

High altitude insomnia: breathing problems (breathing pauses) appear during sleep. Subject complains of frequent awakenings and poor sleep, especially during the first few nights at high altitude;

Insomnia linked to drug use: caffeine is responsible for an increase in the latency of falling asleep, more frequent nocturnal awakenings and a reduction in the total duration of sleep for 8 to 14 hours after its ingestion. Alcohol is responsible for an increase in nocturnal awakenings although it increases drowsiness and reduces the latency of falling asleep;

Narcolepsy: the patient exhibits excessive sleepiness during the day which may be accompanied by involuntary episodes of sleep during the day. It is accompanied by disturbed sleep at night, cataplexy (sudden muscle weakness triggered by an emotion), and sometimes visual hallucinations when falling asleep and sleep paralysis (the patient experiences his muscles when falling asleep).

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