Special Report

Sleep Disorder Warning Signs You Should Know About

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1. Being very tired during the day
> Possible sleeping disorder(s): Central sleep apnea, insomnia

Being sleepy may seem like an unavoidable reality of life, but feeling sleepy over a prolonged period of time could actually be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Sleep is vital for health, and regularly feeling sleepy could be a sign that something is interrupting restfulness. A number of health issues such as sleep apnea, insomnia, or restless legs syndrome could be the culprit.

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2. Difficulty falling asleep
> Possible sleeping disorder(s): Circadian rhythm disorder, insomnia

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder in which people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. They don’t get restorative sleep at night, which results in them feeling exhausted during the day. It’s possible for people with chronic insomnia to have a few good nights of sleep followed by many nights with lack of sleep.

Difficulty falling asleep may also be a sign of circadian rhythm sleep disorders. These disorders involve disruptions to the body’s “internal body clock,” which controls the body’s sleep-wake cycle or rhythm..

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3. Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking up
> Possible sleeping disorder(s): Obstructive sleep apnea

Snoring and breathing through the mouth can be signs of obstructive sleep apnea and can cause people to wake up with a very dry mouth or even a sore throat in the morning. Dry mouth and sore throat are common symptoms of OSA. According to one study, nearly a third of people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea experience morning dry mouth.

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4. Excessive daytime sleepiness
> Possible sleeping disorder(s): Obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome

Excessive daytime sleepiness is a common sign of several sleeping disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, and restless leg symptoms, and it affects up to a fifth of Americans, according to the Sleep Foundation.

Excessive daytime sleepiness is the urge to sleep during daytime hours, especially when sedentary, like while sitting and working or driving, and it is easily confused with fatigue. The difference is that people with fatigue may not actually fall asleep despite feeling tired. Daytime sleepiness is considered excessive and possibly a symptom of a sleeping disorder when it happens almost every day for at least three months.

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5. Falling asleep while driving
> Possible sleeping disorder(s): Narcolepsy

Suddenly falling asleep while doing any activity is a sign of narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder that causes overwhelming and uncontrollable daytime drowsiness. Falling asleep while driving, in particular, is especially common among those with narcolepsy. Some studies suggest that more than half of the people with the condition have fallen asleep while driving, and one-third have been in an accident due to being too sleepy.

The causes of narcolepsy are not very clear. One theory is that narcolepsy attacks are brought on due to the lack of a brain chemical that regulates sleep.

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