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Sleep Disorder - To Call The Doctor Or Not?

Experiencing difficulty in sleeping for any great length of time may well indicate that you suffer from a common sleep disorder.

Today more than 35 million Americans reportedly suffer from a chronic sleep disorder (sleeping difficulty that lasts for more than one month) and as many as 30 million more suffer from a shorter term or "transient" sleep disorder (sleeping difficulty that lasts for less than four weeks).

Commonly triggered by upcoming events (such as important meetings or interviews), jet lag, or a passing illness (like a cold or the flu), a mild sleep disorder presents relatively little difficulty in terms of its management and, if left to its own devices, will often pass quite quickly. This said, many simple steps can be taken to both reduce the effects of mild insomnia and to speed its passing.

A persistent sleep disorder however will rarely disappear of its own accord and may well require pro-active treatment. Prolonged sleep disorders include conditions such as chronic insomnia, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea and narcolepsy.

Difficulty in getting to sleep, staying asleep, waking through the night (and being unable to get back to sleep), or waking too early in the morning, when experienced for any length of time (and certainly for more than four or five weeks), warrants a diagnosis. You should also begin exploring natural sleep remedies that can help you get a better night's sleep, not to mention assisting you in effectively managing your problem.

The most commonly diagnosed sleep disorder, insomnia, also represents one of the easiest problems to treat. Simple lifestyle adjustments, structured relaxation or meditation, or a variety of herbal and natural sleep remedies will often provide a cure.

Like insomnia, sleep apnea is another sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans each year. The most dangerous of all sleep disorders, sleep apnea occurs when air flow through the windpipe is temporarily obstructed during sleep, often due to the relaxation or collapse of surrounding muscles. Sleep apnea is most commonly associated with snoring, although snoring alone is not necessarily indicative of sleep apnea.

Narcolepsy, a sleep disorder marked by uncontrolled "mini sleeps" during the day (even when the sufferer otherwise appears completely alert), is sometimes confused with sleep apnea; however, these represent two very different conditions.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS), another sleep disorder that ranks as one of the most frequently diagnosed, affects more than twelve million people in the US alone each year. Unlike other common sleep disorders, restless legs syndrome combines the physical symptoms of a sleep disorder like insomnia with neural symptoms such as periodically uncontrolled limb movement and a tingling sensation in the legs and feet.

While a serious sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea, chronic narcolepsy or restless legs syndrome requires the intervention of a medical professional, there are still various ways in which you can actively manage your sleep disorder. In fact, numerous natural sleep remedies can help you get a better night's sleep and effectively deal with your sleep disorder, without resorting to sleeping pills or artificial sleep enhancers.

These sleep remedies are too numerous to discuss them in any detail in this short article, but they include melatonin and valerian root, two natural alternatives to sleeping pills, as well as aromatherapy, color or chromatherapy and guided relaxation and meditation. Chamomile or lavender teas and infusions are also an excellent natural remedy for managing various sleep disorders.

While some persistent sleep disorders do certainly merit investigation by your doctor, chronic insomnia can, more often than not, be cured without the need for medical intervention. Understanding the underlying causes of your insomnia and then making a number of simple changes to your lifestyle or routine can make a dramatic difference to the quality of your sleep. With the added help of one or two natural sleep remedies, you can then soon say farewell to this particular sleep disorder.

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