Sleep is a vital aspect of human health and well-being, and it is crucial in promoting physical and mental restoration, cognitive function, and overall quality of life. However, millions worldwide struggle with sleep disorders that disrupt their ability to obtain restful and restorative sleep. The United We Care platform offers an Advanced Program for Sleep Disorders  to help you cope with sleep disorders.
What is a Sleep disorder?
The American Psychiatric Association defines sleep disorders as sleep quality, timing, and quantity-related difficulties, leading to distress and impaired functioning during wakefulness. These disorders frequently coexist with medical or mental health conditions or other conditions like depression, anxiety, or cognitive disorders .
Sleep has a critical role in the well-being and functioning of a human being, and poor sleep can have devastating consequences at both personal and societal levels. At a personal level, sleep loss causes impairment in cognition, psychomotor functioning, negative mood, poor concentration, poor memory, lags in learning, and lags in vigilance and reaction times. It also causes the risk of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and heart problems . Societally, this can lead to low productivity and a higher likelihood of vehicular and workplace accidents .
Types of Sleep Disorders
Over 80 types of sleep disorders have been identified  . However, the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD-2) classifies them into eight categories .
- Insomnia: Insomnia is the most common among sleep disorders, and its characteristics are trouble with falling, staying asleep, and experiencing non-restorative sleep. It can be a symptom of another disease (secondary Insomnia) or a diagnostic category (primary Insomnia).
- The sleep-related breathing disorders: Such as sleep apnea, are characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep. It occurs when the airway becomes partially or completely blocked, leading to loud snoring, choking, and fragmented sleep.
- The hypersomnias of central origin: Hypersomnia disorders such as narcolepsy occur when people feel excessively sleepy during the day, but not because of nighttime sleep or body clock problems. Excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden, uncontrollable episodes of sleep occur in these disorders and are known as “sleep attacks.”
- The circadian rhythm sleep disorders: This occurs when an individual’s internal biological clock is out of sync with the external environment, leading to disruptions in sleep-wake patterns. Common types include jet lag, shift work sleep disorder, and delayed sleep phase disorder.
- Parasomnias: Parasomnias are abnormal behaviors or experiences during sleep, including sleepwalking, night terrors, nightmares, and teeth grinding (bruxism). Although they are not issues in sleep-wake patterns, they often occur together with other sleep disorders.
- The sleep-related movement disorders: Such as Restless Leg Syndrome, involve repetitive, simple movements during sleep. It also includes uncomfortable sensations such as tingling or crawling. Symptoms worsen during inactivity or at night, leading to difficulty falling asleep.
- Isolated symptoms, apparently normal variants, and unresolved issues: This involves all the signs and issues in sleep, which may border on symptoms of sleep disorder—for instance, snoring, long sleep length, sleep jerks, etc.
- Other sleep disorders: This category consists of sleep issues that are not a good fit for any other category. For instance, an environmental sleep disorder occurs due to disturbing environmental factors.
Irrespective of the category, sleep disorders cause a significant challenge to the person experiencing them and lead to poor quality of life.
Causes of Sleep Disorders
Sleep problems can arise from various causes, even though the specific factors may vary. However, common causes include  :
- Medical conditions: Conditions like asthma or chemical/hormonal imbalance are known to cause some sleep disorders.
- Physical characteristics: Sleep apnea often occurs due to obstruction in the airways. Further, some physical injuries can also lead to short-term sleep disturbances.
- Genetic Factors: Some disorders like hypersomnia may have a genetic basis.
- Substance use: Like using alcohol may disrupt a person’s sleep-wake cycle and cause them to develop sleep disorders. Many individuals also tend to depend on alcohol to manage sleep issues.
- Psychological conditions: For example, Insomnia is a common symptom of mental health concerns like depression and anxiety.
- Poor schedule: Working long hours or night shifts or having an irregular sleep schedule can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle and lead to sleep disorders.
- Age: For instance, delayed sleep is common in adolescents, whereas older individuals usually have some or the other form of sleep disorder.
While causes can vary from person to person, it is essential that they are found and worked upon while seeking help for Sleep Disorders.
How Does UWC Help You With the Sleep Disorder Program?
The UWC’s Advanced Program for Sleep Disorders will help you manage your sleep-wake cycle . The program provides you with multidisciplinary approach to sleep disorders instead of relying on medication. It includes:
- Individual consultation sessions with nutritionist, psychologists, and psychiatrist (if needed)
- Videos explaining sleep disorders and the role of the environment in it
- Videos for therapies a person can self-administer
- Nutritional advice for better sleep
- Useful resources like Insomnia beating checklist
- Training in breath work and other relaxation techniques for better sleep
- Training in mindfulness
- Access to various guided meditations
- Self-help guides for techniques like paradoxical intention training
- Guidance in Biofeedback technique
- Bed-time stories
- Music therapy
Spanned over three weeks, the program is self-paced, and you will get to practice and learn at your own convenience without disrupting your schedule. It begins with psychological and nutritional consultation, and the first week will help you understand sleep disorders, your routine, and strategies to correct your sleep-wake cycle. Week two follows this with training in therapies and relaxation techniques. The program culminates in week three with follow-up consultation, assessment, and more resources like guided meditation and podcasts for better sleep.
The program will help you combat disorders like Restless leg syndrome, Sleep apnea, Insomnia, and other sleep issues. What you will require is dedicated time to practice and attend daily sessions, a yoga mat, headphones, and a good internet connection.
Sleep disorders can significantly impact one’s overall well-being and quality of life. Understanding the types and causes of sleep disorders is crucial in seeking appropriate solutions. The United We Care platform offers an Advanced Program for Sleep Disorders for individuals struggling with sleep issues. The program adopts a multidisciplinary approach to treating sleep issues. It provides you with various resources, including expert consultation, training in relaxation, and self-help guides for sleep wellness. If you are struggling with sleep disorders, join the Advanced Program for Sleep Disorders by United We Care. United We Care’s experts are committed to providing the best solution for your well-being.
- “Advanced Program for Sleep Disorders,” Find the right professional – united we care, https://my.unitedwecare.com/course/details/22 (accessed May 26, 2023).
- “What are sleep disorders?,” Psychiatry.org – What are Sleep Disorders?, https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/sleep-disorders/what-are-sleep-disorders (accessed May 26, 2023).
- D. R. Hillman and L. C. Lack, “Public health implications of sleep loss: The community burden,” Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 199, no. S8, 2013. doi:10.5694/mja13.10620
- “Common sleep disorders: Symptoms, causes & treatment,” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11429-common-sleep-disorders (accessed May 26, 2023).
- M. J. Thorpy, “Classification of Sleep Disorders,” Sleep Disorders Medicine, Sep. 2012. doi:10.1016/b978-0-7506-7584-0.00020-3