Sleep Disorder – Sleep Disruptions

Somnipathy (sleep disorder) is a condition or disorder that disrupts sleep and sleep patterns in persons or animals. There are various sleep disorders that must be treated accordingly with different approaches, depending on the sufferer’s condition.

Sleep Disruptions

Predisposing Factors of Sleep Disorder Causes

Some specific predisposing factors of a few of the many causes of sleep disorders are as follows:

Nightmare Sleep Disorder

  • Difficulties in relationships
  • Personality disorders
  • Drugs (for example, beta-adrenergenic drugs, REM suppressing medications, etc.)
  • Other causes of stress (for example, work pressures etc.)

Sleep Terror disorder

  • CNS depressant medicines
  • Lack of sleep (sleep deprivation)
  • Fever

Sleepwalking Sleep Disoder

  • Drugs (lithium, desipramine, fluphenazine, chloral hydrate, perphenazine and thioridazine)
  • Possible family hereditary
  • Sleep apnea and lack of sleep
  • Fever
  • External stimuli causing uneasiness (such as external noises)
  • Internal stimuli causing uneasiness (such as full urinary bladder)
  • Other slow-wave sleep disrupters

REM behavior sleep disorder

  • No specific known cause
  • Dementia
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Ischemic cerebrovascular disease
  • Multiple sclerosis

Restless leg syndrome sleep disorder

  • No specific known cause
  • Menstruation, pregnancy and menopause
  • Anemia as a result of deficiency of iron
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Osteoarthritis of knees and hips
  • Neurological disorders
  • Spinal cord diseases
  • Postpolio syndrome
  • Disorders of the sacral/lumbar region

Sleep Disorder Treatments

Sleep disorders can be treated at home with self-care. All that is required is taking some measures of sleep hygiene:

  • Going to bed at regular timings every night
  • Avoiding naps
  • Avoiding vigorous activities prior to bedtime, though brief and easy aerobic activities a few hours before bedtime may be helpful
  • Avoiding excessive caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes

When a person has been diagnosed with the sleepwalking sleep disorder, the following precautions should be taken:

  • Removal of potentially harmful objects in the house
  • The sufferer should preferably be sleeping in a bedroom on the ground floor
  • Lock the windows and doors
  • Glass windows should be covered with heavy drapes
  • Placing alarms or bells at the doors of the bedrooms

Sleep Disorder Medical Treatments

The treatments of sleep disorders are aimed at lessening the intensity of their occurrences. The following are a few treatments for the mentioned disorders:

Sleepwalking sleep disorder and sleep terror disorder

These disorders don’t need to be treated in children usually, as they grow out of them with age. However, any obvious risk factors should be identified and avoided.

In the case of adults (especially involving injuries), certain lifesaving medications may be required, such as Benzodiazepines (used for insomnia situations), and Estazolam (Prolam). These have been seen to be greatly effective for adults suffering with sleep terrors and sleepwalking.

REM behavior sleep disorder

The treatment of this disorder is initiated with Clonazepam (Klonopin). It is remarkably effective in controlling the behavioral and dream-disordered factors of REM. Tricyclic antidepressants are also used occasionally for this disorder.

Other drugs such as levodopa, pramipexole, clonidine and gabapentin are also used; however, their benefits have not been evaluated systematically.

Restless leg syndrome sleep disorder

Medicines used include:

  • Anti-parkinsons drugs such as pergolide (Permax), pramipexole (Mirapex), ropinirole(Requip) and bromocriptine
  • Benzopines (especially clonzepam)
  • Opiates such as propoxyphene, oxycodone, codeine, and methadone
  • Dopamine agonists such as pergolide or levodopa
  • Anticonvulsants or clonidines such as gabapentin, carbamazepine, and valproate

Of course, every medication must be used on the physicians directions. No drugs should be administered without consulting a doctor first, as they may have different reactions or effects on the patients. Various studies on the above mentioned groups of medications for sleep disorder treatments have shown certain efficiencies, however their results vary on different patients. Some people do not respond to the treatment with just one sort of medication. In such cases, medicines need to be administered in combination with other drugs. For example, a sufferer may not respond to benzodiazepines alone, and may need to combine it with opiates.

Observations have revealed that certain problems such as intolerances, incidences of abuse and addiction to these medications appear quite significantly in people suffering of restless legs syndrome. One important thing to note in sleep disorder treatments is that, small doses of medications should first be administered (on the physician’s directions) and the patient should be observed. If any negative reactions to the medications are noticed, the treatment should be stopped and changed immediately.

Certain drugs such as lithium or fluoxetine and tricyclic antidepressants should be avoided, because such drugs could worsen certain symptoms of restless legs syndrome sleep disorder. The deficiency or decrease of iron content in the body should be corrected with iron supplements, such as vitamins. The administering of oral iron is often preferred; however, it takes a longer time to provide improvement as a result of low gastrointestinal absorption.

In general, somatic treatments and medications usually provide rapid symptomatic reliefs in sleep disorder related problems.