40% of Canadians suffer from sleep disorders, study says
Published Monday, January 14, 2013 3:56PM EST
Didn’t sleep well last night? You’re not alone, and the symptoms could be far more than just feeling tired and grumpy.
A 2011 study from Laval University says 40 per cent of Canadians have some form of sleep disorder.
The most common of the 96 diagnosable sleep disorders is insomnia. It causes people to have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, leading them to feel tired all through the day.
But the problems don’t end there, as insomnia can also lead to heart problems.
“That’s one of the risks associated with insomnia, cardiovascular problems,” says Dr. Willy Galarraga, a sleep medicine specialist at KW Sleep Lab.
Another common sleep disorder, restless leg syndrome, causes sudden movements of the arms and legs which can interrupt a person’s sleep.
Also common are narcolepsy, a brain dysfunction that causes people to fall asleep during the day, and sleep apnea, in which a blockage in the airways causes a person to stop breathing while asleep.
Of the 96 sleep disorders, only six involve respiratory disruption. The other 90 are based on factors that have nothing to do with breathing irregularities.
While some sleep irregularities do come from underlying physical issues, mental issues can play a role as well.
Dr. Michelle Drerup is an American sleep medicine specialist. She says mental history plays a key role in determining whether someone might suffer from a sleep disorder.
“Patients who have a tendency to be anxious or are diagnosed with anxiety disorders are much more likely to have sleep disturbances,” she says.
Experts say most adults require seven to nine hours of sleep each night, but many adults have trouble achieving that amount.
To help reach the goal, specialists recommend winding down as the night goes on, having a period of “quiet time” before bed without TV, smartphones or other forms of excess stimulation.