What’s keeping you awake?

If you struggle with getting a good night’s rest, you may have a sleeping disorder

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

If you struggle with getting a good night’s rest, you may have a sleeping disorder

My Reading Room

Sleep deprivation affects many of your body’s essential functions and hormone balances. The obvious effects of short-term sleep deprivation are sleepiness, poor memory, lack of concentration and irritability. But there are also hidden consequences, with poor sleep linked to cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and metabolic syndrome disorders such as diabetes and obesity.

Here are some highly treatable sleep-related disorders that can affect your snooze time.

Snoring A person who snores can disturb their partner’s sleep as well as their own.

Many regular snorers also suffer from sleep apnoea.

Sleep Apnoea This can cause you to stop breathing freely for a few seconds or longer, over and over while you sleep. It is caused by a narrow, floppy throat. Most people who have sleep apnoea also snore.

Each time it happens, you wake briefly without even knowing, which disrupts sleep and causes excessive tiredness during the day.

There are treatments that work.

These include weight loss, cutting down on alcohol, using dental devices and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy – a small quiet air pump that delivers a gentle pressure to a mask placed over your nose.

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome DSPS is a disorder where you can’t sleep until very late at night. This can be as late as 4 am. In the morning, you will want to sleep in for longer, perhaps until early afternoon. If you have to wake up earlier than this, you will feel groggy, but as the day goes on you will get more energy. On the weekend, many people with DSPS will sleep late into the afternoon. DSPS has been linked to body clock issues. A sleep specialist can help.

Narcolepsy About one in 2,000 people suffers from narcolepsy – a disorder that involves poor control of sleep-wake cycles.

People with narcolepsy experience periods of extreme daytime sleepiness, and uncontrollable bouts of sleep that can strike at any time. It can lead to disrupted sleep at night and may cause hallucinations when falling asleep or waking up. Drug therapies can work very well for sufferers.

More: sleep