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Problems connected with sleep
Every human being needs to sleep to the same extent as to eat and drink. It is one of the most important human’s physiological processes that is why we devote one third of our lifetime to it.
While sleeping, our body and mind is not just resting from a hard and intense day behind, but it is restoring organism’s processes that are exhausted during a day for it to be ready to welcome the next day. Our mind does not stop at night either. It is almost as active as it is when we are wakeful, although our body is immovable. It is occupied with arranging the information we have got during the day (that is why it is easier for us to cope with a difficult situation in the morning – we see it clearer and it may not seem to us as difficult as we think it was yesterday). According to some scientists’ point of view, it is the reason why we see dreams. Also, a sound nocturnal sleep strengthens our immune system and promotes metabolism processes (if a person has a sleep disorder, he/she may gain or lose weight drastically).
So, if a man doesn’t keep to a sleep schedule for some reasons (goes to bed very late, sleeps less than he/she needs), then he/she should be ready to face the consequences of sleep deprivation:
Heart attack and failure.
High blood pressure.
Tremor of limbs.
Visual and motor skills’ deterioration.
Early aging of internal organs.
Inability to judge reasonably.
Memory and cognitive impairment.
Rambling speech and fogged thoughts.
How does it work?
A person cannot fall asleep or has a disturbed night sleep for a day, two, a week or even months (in the last case, a person can even die). Sometimes, such people do not have another choice but to stand these tortures on their own because a behavioral and pharmacological treatment does not always help. How do you think, is there anything they can still be interested in? I doubt. There might be the only one thought on their minds: What can help me to fall asleep? What can help me to fall asleep? It is so overwhelming that it must not leave space for any other thoughts. Consequently, there appear problems at work because the thoughts are confused; a concentration level is low; initiative is absent. A person can become depressed and indifferent towards anything and anyone because he/she has hung a head down that he/she would never overcome this disorder. Eventually, the relationships with friends, relatives and beloved can be ruined.
As you see, sleep disorders can totally ruin our lives. The worst thing is that there nothing can be done about this in some cases… It is unbelievable, but in the 21st century this area is still to be investigated. At that point, there is no medication for most illnesses concerning sleep problems.
According to the statistics, about 20% of the planet’s adult population suffers from sleep disorders of different kinds. It refers to elderly people more frequently because they may have these disorders as the side effects of age-related diseases.
All existing sleep disorders belong to three main groups:
Dyssomnias are sleeping disorders which are characterized by particular difficulties when a man is trying to fall asleep, during the night (a man’s sleep can be disturbed; a man can wake up several times per night and have troubles with immersing into a sleep again; etc.) and when it is time to wake up.
To dyssomnias refer such disorders as (this is not the whole list):
Idiopathic hypersomnia. It is a sleeping disorder that is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness regarding that a man’s night sleep in such a condition is usually more than 10 hours (a norm for an adult is 7-9 hours). It is quite difficult for a man to wake up in the morning; he/she likes (and feels an urgent need) to have long naps during a day (it is recommended to have naps for no more than 30-45 minutes. This time is considered to be optimal for a man’s organism to restore lost power and refresh mind to be ready to continue working properly). Also, a man who suffers from this disorder may have problems with memory, alertness and concentration as well as depression, sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations.
The Kleine-Levin syndrome is a recurrent hypersomnia, a neurological disorder when a man is used to sleep more than 18 hours. He/she wakes up only when his/her organism requires eating and drinking as well as satisfying some other natural needs. A man usually becomes aggressive and evil if someone prevents him/her from sleeping a few hours more. Such people also feel overfatigue all the time; they have rambling speech and thoughts, memory lapses, hallucinations. They can have hyperphagia (it is a voracious appetite without the feeling of satiation) as well as hypersexual behavior (especially men) and depression (refers to women more often than to men).
Unfortunately, there is no any course of treatment that would help to get rid of such disorders fully and once and for all. What is applied here is a behavioral approach (obviously, if someone has such a health problem, he/she has to reconsider sleep hygiene points as well as his/her attitude to them), however it is not that effective in this case.
Insomnia (when it is difficult for a person to fall asleep and stay asleep during the whole night).
Restless leg syndrome (when a person is feeling an urge to move his legs all the time. It happens mostly when a man is relatively immovable; usually, a person does not want to do it when he/she is on feet).
Sleep disordered breathing (it is an unhealthy condition when a man cannot sleep well (or cannot fall asleep at all) because it is difficult for him/her to breathe properly. Sleep apnea, snoring, upper way resistance syndrome relate to it).
Circadian rhythm sleep disorder. However, it is called a disorder, many scientists adhere to the point of view that it is just a personal deviation from the norm. The thing is that everyone has his/her own body clock which decides when it is time for us to go to bed and wake up in the morning. That is there are night owls and early birds among us. CRSD implies that a person does not follow a generally accepted sleep timing that is why he/she has some problems. The quality of their sleep is alright though.
Parasomnias are sleeping disorders which symptoms are shown by unnatural movements, emotions and perceptions while a man is sleeping.
To this category refer:
Sleep walking (somnambulism).
Bruxism (means grinding teeth in a sleep. About 8% of people do it. As a result, they may have a dental damage, jaw pains, a headache and a disturbed sleep at night. The causes of this process are still unknown, but scientists incline to the opinion that some people have it because they smoke, drink alcohol and caffeine or have breathing problems in a sleep. They reject the assumption that psychological problems can lie beneath).
Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis).
Sexsomnia (when a person has sex with someone while he/she is sleeping not in a dream, but in reality. Sexsomnia is one of the causes of sexual assaults).
Exploding head syndrome. It is hypnagogic auditory hallucinations like a bomb explosion, earthquake rumble, etc. which last from a few seconds to a few minutes. They are observed to be either after a person has fallen asleep or before a person is going to wake up. Regarding this fact, experts affirm that such auditory hallucinations are nothing else than moving from one sleep stage to another (there are 4 of them. Three are of a Non-Rapid Eye Movement and the last one is a Rapid Eye Movement stage (only in this one, we can see dreams). This phenomenon is not painful, there can be only fear and light flashes together with it.
Sleeping sickness is the one which is caused by external organisms and does not depend on us in most cases. For example, a Tsetse fly infection. The first symptoms are fever, headache, joints pains and itchiness which are usually shown in three weeks after a bite. Then (in a month) come a disturbed sleep, poor movements’ coordination and concentration, rambling speech and thoughts, numbness, etc.
All these disorders can be treated in two ways: either with behavioral and cognitive treatment or pharmacological. The first one stands for changing a person’s sleep hygiene without any medicine. The second one implies prescription of some medicaments which will help him/her to be more relaxed. Taking into consideration the world experience, none of the ways is 100 per cent effective. It emphasizes the importance of keeping a healthy lifestyle and avoiding stress.