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Sleep disorders

Sleep disorders: causes, symptoms and treatment options


Sleep disorders are an increasingly widespread problem in our society. Many people struggle with sleep problems that have a negative impact on their health and quality of life. A new phenomenon resulting from the spread of social media is so-called “Revenge Bedtime Procrastination”. This blog post is about the different types of sleep disorders, their causes, symptoms and effective treatment options, based on the latest scientific findings and current phenomena.

The different types of sleep disorders

There are several types of sleep disorders that occur and are treated differently:

Sleep rhythm and architecture: difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Stress, anxiety or other psychological problems are often the cause.
Sleep apnoea: A serious sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep.
Narcolepsy: An organic disorder characterised by excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden sleep attacks.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS): An urge to move the legs, often accompanied by unpleasant sensations that disturb sleep.
Causes of sleep disorders

The causes of sleep disorders are varied and are influenced by both external and internal factors:

Caffeine and other stimulants: The consumption of caffeine blocks the action of adenosine, a molecule that promotes sleep.
Mental stress: Stress, anxiety and depression are significant contributors to sleep disorders.
Irregular sleep patterns: Shift work or frequent travelling across time zones disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle.
Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: Deliberately putting off going to bed in order to gain free time after a stressful day, often through the use of smartphones or other digital devices.
Digital distractions: Using smartphones and other digital devices before bedtime prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep and reduces sleep quality.
Environmental factors: Noise, light and temperature in the bedroom affect sleep quality.
Symptoms of sleep disorders

The symptoms of sleep disorders vary and have different effects on everyday life and health:

Tiredness and sleepiness during the day: a common sign of sleep disorders is constant tiredness despite adequate sleep duration.
Concentration and memory problems: Lack of sleep impairs cognitive functions and memory.
Mood swings and irritability: Lack of sleep leads to increased irritability and mood swings.
Health problems: Long-term sleep deprivation increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other serious health problems.
Effective treatment options for sleep disorders

There are various approaches to treating sleep disorders and improving sleep quality:

Sleep hygiene: maintaining regular bedtimes, a comfortable sleeping environment and avoiding caffeine and electronic devices before bedtime.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): An effective method of treating insomnia that aims to change negative thoughts and behaviours that interfere with sleep.
Medication support: CBD oil or herbal extracts, such as valerian, to improve sleep quality. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle, for example in the case of jet lag.
Digital detox: limit the use of digital devices before bedtime to improve sleep quality. Clear rules for the use of laptops and smartphones and the introduction of relaxing evening rituals help to overcome “Revenge Bedtime Procrastination”.
Professional help for sleep disorders

Psychotherapeutic treatment for sleep disorders

Psychotherapeutic treatment is a proven method of overcoming sleep disorders. Psychotherapists specialise in identifying and treating the psychological and emotional causes of sleep problems. Through targeted talk therapy and behavioural changes, sufferers learn to improve their sleeping habits and alleviate their symptoms.

Advantages of psychotherapy for sleep disorders

Personalised care: Psychotherapy treatments are tailored to the individual’s needs and challenges.
Addressing root causes: Psychotherapy focuses on addressing the underlying causes of sleep disorders to achieve long-term improvements.
Strengthening coping strategies: Psychotherapy helps to develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress, anxiety and other emotional pressures that interfere with sleep.
Frequently asked questions about sleep disorders

What are the most common causes of sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders are caused by stress, mental illness, irregular sleeping habits and certain medical conditions.

What symptoms indicate sleep disorders?

Tiredness during the day, concentration problems, irritability, frequent awakenings during the night, difficulty falling asleep and early morning awakenings are typical symptoms of sleep disorders.

How can sleep hygiene be improved?

Improving sleep hygiene involves creating a relaxed sleep environment, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, limiting caffeine intake and screen time before bedtime, and introducing calming rituals before bedtime.

What role does psychotherapy play in the treatment of sleep disorders?

Psychotherapy is an effective treatment method as it helps to identify underlying emotional issues and develop coping strategies to improve sleep quality.

When should professional help for sleep disorders be sought?

Professional help should be sought if sleep disorders persist for more than a month, are very distressing and affect quality of life. A psychotherapist or sleep expert can offer personalised treatment options.

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