Archive for sleep

Rhythmic Movement Disorder

Sleep rhythmic movement disorder is a neurological disorder common in children manifest before and during sleep. Learn the types, symptoms, and treatment of RMD.

Rhythmic Movement Disorder

I know you are probably asking yourself, “What is rhythmic movement disorder?” Well, it is a neurological condition where the patient will rock his or her body in repetitive motion just before falling asleep or during sleep.

The body will include moving the following body parts: neck, arms or head. It is experienced mostly by children who seem to outgrow it by the age of 5. Some of these patients may also exhibit rhythmic humming along with body movements.

Types of RMD

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, rhythmic movement disorder (RMD), manifests in the three different ways listed below:

  • Body rocking

Here the child may rock only the upper body while he/she is sitting down or even go on hands and knees and rock the whole body.

  • Headbanging

Here the child will lie face down and then lift his or her head and bang it on the mattress or pillow. In some cases, the child may even lift his or her entire body and then forcibly bang it on the pillow or mattress.

The child will usually do this action repetitively. The child can even do it while sitting down on a sofa or floor and the bang the head against the wall or headboard.

  • Head rolling

In this case, the child in question will be laying on his or her back and then roll the head back and forth. This poses very little danger, especially to toddlers and infants.

Most of these RMD types occur when the child feels most sleepy. There are instances in which it occurs at different points during the night as the child is sleeping. Some children experience RMD when they are engaging in quiet activities during the day such as listening to music.

The rate of the RMD episodes may vary from one child to the next but the actions are usually very rapid with even two motions occurring every one or two seconds. 1 episode can last for as long as 15 minutes with motion stopping when something distracts the child. Most children who have reached the age of talking tend to forget the RMD events in the morning.

RMD is common in normal infants and toddlers and just having these motions do not qualify your child to have a disorder. A disorder is when the actions the child takes to result in him/her getting seriously injured or they disturb his/her sleeping greatly.

Symptoms of RMD in children

Symptoms of RMD in children

If you have a child with RMD he or she may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • The child may make repetitive movements with his/her body such as head rolling, head banging or body rocking.
  • The body motions mentioned above tend to occur when your child is feeling most sleepy or when he or she is actually asleep.
  • The child may experience sleep interruption and he/she may be very grumpy during the day.
  • The child can sometimes get hurt and suffer an injury that will require medical attention.

As a parent, you should try and find out whether there are other factors that are causing your child’s sleeping problems. The following are some other factors that could affect your child’s sleep:

  • The child might be having another medical condition.
  • The child might be suffering from another sleeping disorder.
  • The child might have a mental health disorder.
  • The child might be using medication that is affecting his or her sleep.

RMD has been recorded to occur at the same rate in both boys and girls. Studies show that this condition is likely to occur among family members and the children with this condition have higher anxiety levels.

This is a rare condition among adults and teens and those of these age groups suffering from RMD usually have an injury to the central nervous system, autism, pervasive development disorder or mental retardation. In such cases, the motions will occur when the person is awake.

Most children that experience RMD do not require medical assistance as it is a common part of how they develop their sleep process. It is, however, advisable to talk to your child’s physician about your concerns or you can take your child to a sleep specialist in case the motions caused bodily harm.

The doctor will need to know when the motions began and what else is happening in your child’s life before making a diagnosis. You will also be required to keep a sleep journal for your child for at least two weeks. This will help the professional to get an idea of what might be causing the motions.

There are no medical tests that can be used to detect whether your child has MRD. The only thing doctors can do is make the child do an overnight sleep monitoring in the event that the child exhibits severe motions. This study will check the child’s brain waves, breathing, and heartbeat.

Treatment

The doctor may prescribe medication for the child if the movements are causing disturbance to the child or if they are causing the child to lose sleep or even causing injuries.

You should also install extra padding to the child’s bed and add railings to the bed or crib so as to protect the child from getting injured or falling off.

RMD in adults

This is not a common condition in adults but in the rare occasions that it does occur, it can be quite embarrassing for the patient. As long as it is not causing any bodily harm the patient should ensure that they use extra padding to protect him or her and also notify their sleeping partners so as not to alarm them when the motions start.

Most adults that have this condition usually suffer from it since they were children. If the symptoms only manifest once the person is an adult then there is a strong likelihood that he or she has suffered an injury to the central nervous system.

Conclusion 

Rhythmic movement disorder is a condition that does not last for a long time as the child would have outgrown it by the age of 5. All you can do as a parent is to ensure that you provide the protection needed to ensure that child will not get hurt during the motion episodes.

You can make sure that you provide your child with a soft mattress and also give them head and neck pillows to provide the child with comfort as well as protecting them while they roll their heads.

It is important to pay attention to those adults who suffer from RMD and not shame them because it is not something that they chose.

How to Tell If You Have Insomnia?

Sleeping disorders have become prevalent and insomnia is the leading sleep disorder. But, how to tell if you have insomnia? Get insights into the symptoms and causes of this sleep disorder.

Very many people suffer from a number of different sleeping disorders the most common one being insomnia. We will do our best to enlighten you on how to tell if you have insomnia so as to enable you to stay ahead of the disorder.

How to Tell If You Have Insomnia

There are two types of insomnia: acute insomnia and chronic insomnia. Acute insomnia occurs for a night or lasts for a few weeks while chronic insomnia will occur for 3 nights a week for about a month or even last longer.

Causes of insomnia

According to reliable studies and research by organizations like The National Sleep Foundation, there are a number of things that can cause acute insomnia. The following are some of these factors:

  • A major life’s stress: These include events such as the loss of a job, divorce, moving from your current living location or even the death of a loved one.
  • Medications which can cause loss of sleep: These include some high blood pressure meds, depression meds etc.
  • When your normal sleep schedule is interrupted either by changing your works shift or traveling
  • When you are suffering from physical or emotional discomfort such as pain or a strain in a relationship or an uncomfortable mattress or pillow.
  • If you are sick you may be unable to fall asleep easily.

The following are some of the factors that can cause chronic insomnia:

  • If you are suffering from anxiety or depression
  • If you are under constant stress
  • When you are plagued with a constant pain or discomfort during the night

Symptoms of insomnia

The following are signs that you may be suffering from a type of insomnia:

  • Having difficulty in falling asleep or having to wake up many times in the middle of the night.
  • When you wake up at night and then you find it hard to go back to sleep
  • Feeling tired and sleepy during the day because you were unable to sleep at night.
  • Being irritable and sometimes even feeling depressed during the day.
  • You may suffer from poor concentration or even have very poor memory.
  • Feeling drowsy in the morning once you wake up.
  • You have a higher risk of accidents at work or even in traffic due to lack of focus.
  • You may suffer from restless legs syndrome which is a painful, tingling feeling in your legs.

Effects of insomnia

Effects of insomnia

Not getting enough sleep can have some very negative effects on both your health and social life. The following are some of the side-effects you may be faced with due to insomnia:

  • Some people may suffer from obesity
  • It can lead to premature aging
  • You may suffer from stomach problems such as indigestion and ulcers
  • You may be at a higher risk of getting diseases search as diabetes and heart diseases
  • You may suffer from chronic memory loss
  • Your immune system may be compromised if you don’t get enough sleep

Treatment for insomnia

The treatment you will be put on will depend on the type of insomnia that you suffer from.

If you are suffering from acute insomnia then there is a probability that you may not require any treatment.

Mild insomnia, on the other hand, can be prevented by just practicing some good sleeping habits. Sometimes your healthcare provider may decide to prescribe you sleeping pills if the insomnia is interrupting your normal day to day activities.

When it comes to chronic insomnia, the underlying health conditions that may be causing it will have to be treated first and if the condition persists then you will be put under behavioral therapy. These may include sleep restriction therapy, relaxation exercises and even reconditioning.

Sleeping habits that will help treat insomnia

The following are some of the good sleeping habits that will help you combat insomnia and ensure that you are able to get your sleeping under control.

  • Try and go to bed at the same time every night and also wake up at the same time every morning. You can even decide to use an alarm clock to help you with this and also avoid taking naps during the days so as to prevent you from having less sleep at night
  • Avoid taking a lot of caffeine during the day as this may cause you to have difficulty getting sleep at night.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol late in the day as it may cause you to wake up frequently during the night thus lowering the quality of sleep you get.
  • Avoid using electronic devices such as phones and e-books at night as they emit a lot of light that can make it hard for you to fall asleep
  • Ensure that your sleep environment is comfortable enough by dimming the lights, adjusting the temperature so that it is neither too hot or too cold, and eliminating all noise

Conclusion

As we have been able to learn, insomnia is a condition that can affect anyone. The factors that bring about insomnia are things that we face on a daily basis but as long as we learn to manage them we can avoid insomnia.

Insomnia is mostly brought about by practicing poor sleeping habits. This is something that we can all avoid by just implementing a few changes in our life that will surely reduce our stress levels and ensure that we give our minds and bodies the rest they require.

The symptoms and effects of insomnia we have given will guide you on how to tell if you have insomnia. If you suspect that you are suffering from insomnia it is advisable to notify your physician so that you can start on treatment right away.

Don’t let your life or health suffer because you cannot sleep for a few hours and allow your body and mind to recharge. As you now know sleep is very important.

Great Tips on How to Stop Nightmares

Scary sweaty dreams do not have to interrupt your sleep any longer. Beat scary dreams with these great tips on how to stop nightmares for better, comfy, and uninterrupted sleep. Did you know that your personality may be the cause of your nightmares? Get insights on how to deal with, and prevent nightmares.

cant-sleep-at-night

You already know what nightmares are if you are reading this. There are so many people who suffer from nightmares and they don’t know what to do to get rid of them. Don’t worry; we have great tips on how to stop nightmares that are sure to help you out.

Causes of nightmares

Nightmares are more common in children than in adults. At least one out of every two adults experiences a nightmare on occasion. There are a number of things that can be causing your nightmares that you may not even be aware of.

The following are some of the factors that can cause nightmares in adults:

  • Having a late-night snack

Having a snack very late in the night can cause an increase in metabolism and signal the brain to become active. This can cause you to keep waking up during the night and cause increased heart rate.

  • Taking specific drugs 

When you take drugs which act on the chemicals in the brain they can cause you to have nightmares. These drugs include antidepressants, some blood pressure medication, and narcotics.

  • Withdrawal from drugs 

The process of withdrawal from narcotics as well as some medication can cause you to get nightmares. This may include withdrawal from tranquilizers and alcohol. It is important that you contact your doctor if you start having frequent nightmares when you stop taking some specific medication.

  • Sleep deprivation 

If you don’t get enough sleep or you choose to go for a few days without sleep you may get nightmares. This is not a proven cause but it is considered one factor that contributes to this condition.

  •  Personality 

If you are an adult with personality traits such as emotional estrangement, distrustfulness, and alienation, you may suffer from nightmares. Ernest Hartmann, an established dream researcher, suggested that those people who have a thinner personality boundary and exceptionally high creativity might be more perceptible to experiencing nightmares.

  • Traumatic experiences 

If you have had a traumatic experience it may cause you to get nightmares. The nightmares may be the reliving of the exact experience or events that are related to it. This is one of the causes of chronic nightmares.

  • Pain 

It is common to find that if you are experiencing physical pain it may also manifest in your dreams. If the pain is too severe, it may cause you to experience a nightmare which will make you wake abruptly from sleep.

  • Psychological disorders 

There are a number of psychological triggers that can cause adults to experience nightmares.  Such conditions may include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.

  • Sleep disorders 

There are some sleep disorders that can cause nightmares in adults. These include restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea. If your nightmares are chronic then they may be a sleep disorder.

Health effects of nightmares

Health effects of nightmares

There are a number of health effects that can be caused by frequent nightmares. Those people who suffer from depression and anxiety are the ones who are most likely to suffer from psychological distress from experiencing nightmares.

  • For a while now, nightmares have been associated with suicide. It is very important that you consult a professional if you are having frequent nightmares as they have a direct effect on the quality of life.
  • Nightmares can cause sleep deprivation which also causes a number of different medical problems. The conditions may include the following obesity, heart disease, and depression.
  • Since nightmares may be the sign of an underlying sleep disorder such as apnea and PTSD, there may be a number of negative health and physical effects that may be caused by the underlying problems.

 How to avoid getting nightmares

Most times our dreams will incorporate some aspects of the activities we undertake while awake. This can either be a literal or abstract representation of your day activities. These dreams may occur between one to seven days from the occurrence of the stressful situation.

The following are some of the great tips on how to stop nightmares:

  • Good hygiene when sleeping 

It is very important to ensure that your sleep environment is properly prepared. You should check to ensure that both your sleeping habits and sleep environment are ideal enough to give you some quality sleep.

You can achieve this by ensuring that the beddings are clean and smelling fresh. You can even choose to spray on some sweet but mild fragrance on your pillow and mattress to create a calming vibe.

You should also make sure that the pillow you choose is soft and it’s comfortable enough for your neck. This will help greatly in ensuring that you rest properly and help you to reach the deep sleep phase faster.

You should also make sure that you get a sleeping routine that you follow daily. This will go a long way in increasing the quality of your sleep.

  • Play some calming video games before bed 

A study on the former American and Canadian male soldiers with PTSD showed that most of the PTSD patients who played video games before bed ended up having less frightening dreams. This only works on males as those women suffering from nightmares and who play games before bed tend to have a hard time getting rid of nightmares.

  • Talk or write it out 

It is important to share the traumatic experience you had with a professional. Talking about the bad dreams you are having can help you to get a clearer perspective of what might be causing them. This may go a long way in eradicating the problem from the source.

You can choose to write the dream down in a journal if you don’t want to talk to anyone about it. There is a very effective therapy called Image Rehearsal Therapy which involves the recalling of a nightmare and then writing down a new version of the dream which is more positive. You are then required to rehears the positive version of the dream until it replaces the nightmare.

  • Don’t eat immediately before bed 

As we already established above, eating before bed can sometimes cause you to have nightmares. This is because there may be indigestion when you eat before falling asleep which can also affect metabolism and cause your brain to become active.

There are some dishes that are believed to cause nightmares such as sugary snacks and spicy foods before bed.

  • Get professional help if needed 

If your nightmares recur or they are chronic, then it’s advisable to seek out a professional. As we said earlier, nightmares can cause a number of health and mental problems if they are left unchecked. Nightmares can even affect your day to day life.

You can choose to visit a psychiatrist to help you get to the root of the problem so you can deal with it once and for all. This can help you get rid of the nightmares once and for all or you could be given medication to help deal with the problem.

Conclusion

I hope that these tips on how to stop nightmares have given you deeper insights to understanding the causes of nightmares and how to circumvent them for peaceful nights. Ensure that you check on the contributing factors to your nightmares and avoid them as much as possible.