Sleep is a very important part of our daily life, like that of eating and excreting. Sleep helps to rejuvenate the wear and tear the human body goes throughout the whole day, also refreshing our minds for welcoming a new day with new energy. But in present day the scenario of sleep is quite different, due to our modern lifestyle. Now a day’s people remain more stressed and tensed, depriving themselves from a good night’s rest which in the long run effects our mental and Physical health tremendously. There are three main types of sleep disorders that are pernicious to our health. Let’s talk about them –
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep. Some people have difficulty falling asleep while others are not able to sleep for days together. This is the commonest type of sleep disorder which is increasing steadily. Symptoms of insomnia –
- Difficulty in falling asleep at night or even not sleeping at all.
- Not being able to stay asleep for long, usually sleep breaks within 30 minutes.
- Feeling of tiredness, dizziness, headache, irritability, burning of Eyes, uneasiness of full body throughout the day.
- Lack of concentration and confidence.
If these symptoms last for less than a month it is called acute insomnia where as if the symptoms last for more than a month it is called chronic insomnia.
So what are the causes of insomnia?
Well, there are three main causes -psychological lifestyle and medical.
- Psychological disorders-psychological disorders include excessive stress, tension and anxiety. Stress may be due to the over excitement, depressing news or huge workload.
- Lifestyle causes –
- Lack of exercise and sedentary habits.
- High intake of stimulants like caffeine specially before bedtime.
- High intake of depressants like alcohol, which when taken in huge amount destroys the mental as well as physical state of a man. Chronic use of alcohol leads to depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders which ultimately paves the way to Insomnia, not to mention the various greivous diseases which comes along, like cirrhosis of liver and liver cancer.
- Overeating in dinner.
- Duties which require staying awake and working at odd hours of the night.example-night shift duties, parenting a newborn baby, even talking to your sweetheart till late night, etc.
- Change in time zones and jet lags affects the circadian rhythm of human body, thus affecting sleep.
- Excessive use of computers and mobiles, even watching TV for long hours distress the normal sleep cycle. The blue light emitted from this devices, chips trailer with the mote and boost awareness, but long term exposure to blue light, specially at night can lower the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that regulate sleep, ultimately affecting the circadian rhythm. (source).
- Acute Insomnias due to over excitement or sudden shock.
3. Medical causes are –
- Excessive pain due to any physical illness such as arthritis, cancer and ulcers.
- Nasal and sinus allergies which includes symptoms like severe continuous sneezing and watering from nose, difficulty in breathing, obstruction of nose, etc.
- Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, heartburn, acidity and bloating.
- Breathing disorders like asthma, paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnoea (PND),etc.
- Endocrinal disorders like hyperthyroidism, diabetes, etc.
- Neurological problems like Parkinson’s disease.
It is another type of common sleeping disorder which means excessive day time sleepiness. The affected person feels dizziness and drowsiness throughout the whole day even after sleeping at night. Along with this there is a feeling of lack of energy, tiredness, headache, irritability and lack of concentration.
Commonest causes are –
- The lifestyle disorders mentioned above.
- Narcolepsy- This occurs in about 1 in 2000 people. It usually affects the early middle aged and the adolescent age group people. The key symptom is ‘sudden irresistible sleep attacks’, often in very u inappropriate circumstances such as whilst eating, talking or driving.
- Idiopathic hypersomnolence – Here the exact cause of this excessive sleepiness is unknown.
- Brain injury- any sort of injury to head which affects the brain often lead to hypersomnolence. Any brain tumor or coagulation of blood in brain also leads to this.
- Obstructive sleep apnoea- normally during sleep all the muscles of our body relax, including the muscles near the throat that helps in respiration. When we are awake there is normal flow of air in and out of the lung with the help of the respiratory muscles in throat and abdomen, as the muscles are not relaxed and maintaining their tone. While sleeping due the loss of this tone some people face difficulty in breathing. The airflow is obstructed as the muscles can’t maintain the airway patency due to the muscle relaxation around throat. This results in forced inhalation of air which makes loud noise known as snoring. The person wakes up several times at night due to this difficulty of breathing. On waking the airflow becomes normal so he/she falls asleep again. Usually the affected person doesn’t remember anything about this, the bed partner complains. Same problem also occurs in people having nasal polyps which also obstruct the normal airflow in the same way.
- Any physical pain due to diseases like arthritis, ulcers, toothache, cancers etc. disrupt the normal sleep.
- Restless leg syndrome/ periodic limb movement of sleep- This is characterized by unpleasant leg(and sometimes arm) sensations, that are relieved only by constant movement of legs and hands. This disturbs the quality of sleep of the affected person as well as their sleeping partners.
- Depression/anxiety- This seriously needs immediate attention. Too much depression and anxiety dosen’t allow the brain to relax completely. So sleep is un-refreshing.
- Parkinsonism and other neurodegenerative diseases.
- Medication- some medications like cough syrups, high dose sleeping pills induce excessive sleepiness.
- Drug addiction- any kind of drug addiction like opium, morphine, heroine, etc. Induce sleepiness after the initial euphoric state passes away.
- Environmental factors- unfavorable sleeping environment like excessive light, noise or uncomfortable room temperatures affects the sleep quality extremely.
This is also a common sleeping problem which many of us don’t pay any heed to. Parasomnias are abnormal behavior of the nervous system that occurs around sleep. Normally sleep has two stages-a)REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep) and b)Non-REM Sleep (no rapid eye movement). Normally the muscles of the whole body loose tone while sleeping so it is abnormal to act out the dreams. It occurs due to the disturbed motor activities of the brain. Now let’s discuss the abnormalities –
- Non-REM Sleep abnormalities- These are due to incomplete arousal from the non-REM sleep. The manifestations are usually in the form of night terrors, sleep walking and confused arousals (sleep drunkenness). This sort of stuff typically occurs within one to two hours of onset of sleep. Children are mostly affected. Rarely this symptoms last till adulthood. If it continues till adulthood the symptoms become increasingly complex, including dressing, moving objects, eating, drinking and even act of violence like murder or rape. Patients have very little or no recollection of the happenings, although they appear fully awake. The causes are usually hereditary and are triggered by alcohol or unfamiliar sleeping environment.
- REM sleep abnormalities -In this type patient act out their dreams during the REM sleep phase. They can act out as their muscles are not relaxed, which is not normal. The patient typically fights, screams and struggles in their sleep sometimes causing injury to themselves are their partners. They can be easily awakened from this state, and they have the recollection of their dreams, unlike the non-REM state if sleep.
- Restless leg syndrome/periodic Limb movement of sleep- This is characterized by unpleasant leg (and sometimes arm) sensations that are relieved only by constant movement of legs and hands. This disturbs the quality of the sleep.
MANAGEMENT OF SLEEPING DISORDERS:
Any sort of sleeping disorders should be treated and dealt with care as early as possible, otherwise in the long run it will affect the heart and brain poorly resulting in many type of chronic incurable diseases.
So let’s discuss how to get a proper sleep –
- Try to maintain a specific time to go to bed and wake up even on the holidays.
- Every Texas if defence specially before the bed time.
- Avoid too much consumption of liquors.
- Avoid any kind of screen including phone, T.V and computers at least 2 hours before going to bed.
- Maintain a good environment for sleeping- The room temperature should be comfortable, there should be no disturbance in the form of any noise, the room should be completely dark, as light during the night disrupt sleep.
- Avoid exercising within 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
- Try and avoid over stressing yourself, if needed to get help of a doctor or a counselor.
- Try to avoid eating dinner after nine o’clock, also avoid heavy food in dinner.
- Don’t drink huge amounts of water especially around bedtime as sleep gets disturbed due to frequent urge to urinate.
- Don’t self medicate yourself, as in the long run this sleeping pills won’t work well and also will invite several sorts of diseases including heart diseases like hypertension. Also it may lead to addiction to the pills overtime and completely change your psychology, so better to consult a doctor.
- Try out alternative medicines like homoeopathy, which cures this cases in no time, but always take the medicine under the supervision of a qualified doctor, do not self medicate with alternative medicines too. It may be quite dangerous.
- Practice meditation and exercise regularly for at least 45 minutes 90 minutes daily.
- If there are other diseases do not ignore, treat them.
- Try avoiding Day napping and staying awake till late night.
So with all these measures we can easily overcome the problems related to sleep and be more productive in our daily lives. Thank you dear readers, hope you like this and if any queries you may ask in the comment section. Your comments are valuable as we are always trying to improve ourselves.