When you can’t get enough sleep, it seems like nothing in life works well. You go to sleep tired, you toss and turn through the night, and then you wake up in the morning feeling exhausted. It’s like you are in a fog for the entire day.
For some people, the inability to sleep is a temporary discomfort. For others, it’s chronic and a sign of a sleep disorder that needs to get treated.
A Sleep Disorder Versus a Sleep Problem
The difference between a sleep disorder and a sleep problem is the frequency with which it impacts your ability to sleep well. Everyone has an occasional sleepless night. It could be because of stress, jetlag, or something else that interrupts your normal routine.
However, when a person has a sleep disorder, they regularly cannot sleep well. Sleep disorders can seriously impact your mood, your ability to handle stress, your physical health, your memory, your job performance, and your relationships.
You should not ignore sleep disorders. People who ignore their sleep disorder may put on weight, get into automobile accidents, and suffer serious health issues. A good night’s sleep is not a luxury. It is a necessity.
Sleep disorders are debilitating. When you don’t sleep well at night, you are tired in the morning and drag throughout the day. When you get home, no matter how tired you are, you can’t go to sleep. And then the cycle starts again.
Do You Have a Sleep Disorder?
When evaluating whether you have a sleep disorder or a sleep problem, you may need to ask yourself some pointed questions. For example, are you frequently irritable or sleepy throughout the day? Do you doze off when driving? Is it difficult for you to concentrate on a task? Are you having problems controlling your emotions? Do you struggle to stay awake while reading or watching TV? Are you relying on caffeinated beverages to keep yourself going?
If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms regularly, you might have a sleep disorder. Something may be causing your sleep disorder that you are completely unaware of.
For example, many people have TMJ. The symptoms of TMJ get worse at night because most people unconsciously grind their teeth and clench their jaw. Your body is struggling to keep your airway open while you sleep. This clenching and grinding of your teeth produces TMJ pain. You won’t be able to sleep well until you learn how to sleep with TMJ pain.
It may take a bit of investigation on your part to identify what is causing your sleepless nights. Medical professionals can help you to identify reasons you might not be sleeping. They may give you guidance on steps you can take to address your sleep disorder.
What Is Your Circadian Rhythm?
Your circadian rhythm is the biological clock you have that dictates your sleep cycle. Your body uses light to determine when it should be awake and when it should be asleep.
During the night, when there is not a lot of light, your body releases melatonin. This makes you sleepy. However, when the sun shines in the morning, your body tells you it is time to be awake.
When your circadian rhythm is get disrupted, you loose orientation. Your body wants to sleep at awkward times. If your circadian rhythm is off, you may have issues sleeping, deal with seasonal affective disorder, and battle with depression.
These problems are commonly seen with people who work the night shift. If you work at night, your biological clock is thrown out of sync. You have to force your body to go to sleep when external signals are telling you you should be awake.
Some people do a better job of adjusting to this change than others. However, for many night workers, getting good sleep is difficult. As a result, they battle with mental lethargy. Their productivity drops and are more prone to getting injured at work.
Many sleep disorders can be treated. It may require making some adjustments to your habits and developing a relaxing sleep routine. In other circumstances, getting a good night’s sleep might require the help of professionals who can identify the challenges you are facing and provide guidance.