From time to time everyone has a poor sleep. You cannot fall asleep, you sleep too short, you wake up regularly or you wake up too early. It is only incidental and it will pass by itself, usually it is caused by a temporary period of tension or stress. But even if you only occasionally get too little sleep, it has a negative effect the day after. You are less able to concentrate, you are forgetful, tired and you are easily irritated.
However, if you don’t sleep well regularly and for a longer period of time, you may have a sleep disorder. Your body and mind are unable to recover and relax, and this hinders your daily life. You can suffer from physical and mental health issues, memory problems, reduced work performance, tense relationships and it can lead to dangerous situations. Think of traffic accidents because you react too late or fall asleep. Or an industrial accident when you have to work with dangerous machines and you are not paying attention due to fatigue. If you have a sleep disorder, it is wise to seek help.
What are the symptoms of sleep disorders?
Symptoms vary according to the severity and type of sleep disorder. General symptoms of sleep disorders can include:
- you have trouble falling asleep;
- you regularly wake up at night and you do not fall back to sleep again quickly;
- you wake up very early in the morning and do not fall back to sleep anymore;
- you have slept enough hours, but the quality of your sleep is insufficient;
With the possible result:
- fatigue during the day and lack of energy;
- reduced performance at work or at school;
- concentration problems;
- reduced responsiveness;
- strong urge to take a nap during the day;
- fall asleep while reading or watching television;
- drinking too much coffee to combat fatigue;
- irritability or anxiety;
- weight gain.
The above symptoms include the signs of the common sleep disorder insomnia. You have trouble falling or staying asleep, but in general, you are not getting enough sleep or your sleep is not refreshing enough to feel rested during the day. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder.
There are about eighty sleep disorders, ranging from snoring, grinding teeth, sleepwalking, sleep apnea and sleep attacks to jet lag, disturbed biological clock, restless leg syndrome and nightmares.
Causes of sleep problems
It is not always easy to find the cause of a sleep problem. Usually it will be a combination of a number of factors, such as:
- physical problems, especially pain;
- mental health issues (depression, burnout, anxiety);
- tension or stress (at work or in the private sphere);
- death of a loved one;
- noise pollution;
- your bedroom is not comfortable enough (too warm, not dark enough, your mattress is not comfortable);
- breathing disorder (apnea);
- too often and too much use of stimulants (caffeine and alcohol);
- side effect of medicines;
- working in shifts.
If you are concerned about sleep itself, you can also create a sleep problem or make an existing sleep problem worse. For example, if you are concerned because you are not getting the ‘normal’ eight hours of sleep per night and think something is wrong, this worry itself can lead to a poor sleep.
The number of hours of sleep you need varies considerably from person to person. While it is often said that people need eight hours of sleep per night, each individual is different. Age, diet, and your level of physical and mental activity all affect the amount of sleep you need. Ultimately, what is enough for one person may not be enough for another.
Treatment of sleep problems
During the treatment, we look for the cause of your sleep problems, what is bothering you and how this affects your daily life. We also analyse your sleep pattern and examine which factors in your lifestyle may be perpetuating or worsening your sleep problems. Are there any tensions, what are your habits, what is your eating pattern, do you exercise enough, etc.
We also examine whether you may suffer from other mental health issues, such as depression or an anxiety disorder. Poor sleep can be both the cause and the consequence of mental health issues.
Therapy can also help if your insomnia is caused by a life-changing event that is difficult for you to process, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a dismissal.
Contact Psychologen Amsterdam
Do you recognize your symptoms and do you need help or do you just have a question about the treatment of your sleep problems? Then call for an appointment or send a message to practice Psychologen Amsterdam.