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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 harm their health and quality of life. A new phenomenon resulting from the spread of social media is the 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

Several types of sleep disorders occur and are treated differently:

  1. Sleep rhythm and architecture: difficulty falling asleep or sleeping through the night. Stress, anxiety or other psychological problems are often the cause.
  2. Sleep apnoea: A severe sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep.
  3. Narcolepsy: An organic disorder characterised by excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden sleep attacks.
  4. 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: Caffeine consumption blocks the effect of adenosine, a sleep-promoting molecule.
  • Mental stress: Stress, anxiety, and depression contribute significantly to sleep disorders.
  • Irregular sleep rhythm: Shift work or frequent travelling across time zones disrupt the natural sleep-wake rhythm.
  • Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: Deliberately putting off going to bed to gain free time after a stressful day, often through smartphones or other digital devices.
  • Digital distractions: Using smartphones and other digital devices before bed 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 getting enough sleep.
  • Concentration and memory problems: Lack of sleep impairs cognitive functions and memory.
  • Mood swings and irritability: Lack of sleep increases irritability and mood swings.
  • Health problems: Long-term sleep deprivation increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other serious health problems.

Effective therapy options for sleep disorders

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

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

Professional help for sleep disorders

Psychotherapeutic treatment of 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.

Benefits of psychotherapy for sleep disorders

  • Individualised care: Psychotherapeutic 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 burdens that interfere with sleep.

Frequently asked questions about sleep disorders

What are the most common causes of sleep disorders?

Stress, mental illness, irregular sleeping habits and certain medical conditions cause sleep disorders.

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 bedtime rituals.

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

Psychotherapy is an effective treatment method as it helps to identify underlying emotional problems 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 longer than a month, are very stressful and impair quality of life. A psychotherapist or sleep expert can offer personalised treatment options.

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