Healthy sleep is absolutely necessary for the proper functioning of our organism, because it allows to regenerate forces, increases intellectual performance, is a source of well-being and energy necessary for everyday activity. In turn, various sleep disorders cause a feeling of constant fatigue, apathy and bad mood, they also have a significant negative impact on the operation and condition of the body.
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Sleep disorders – causes
It is estimated that about 30% of the entire population currently has problems with sleep. The increase in the number of such ailments is, to a large extent, caused by the conditions of modern life – its increasingly fast pace, the crowd of all kinds of stimuli, the stress accompanying us almost constantly, the lack of rest or inability to organize it properly.
All this affects the quality of sleep and, as a consequence, leads to a worse mood, and even strictly health problems, a state of permanent fatigue, greater nervousness. A vicious circle is formed – we have problems with falling asleep because we are too tired or nervous, and lack of sleep additionally intensifies the negative symptoms.
Sleep disorders are all kinds of anomalies concerning its length and quality. Healthy sleep means not only an appropriate length of its duration, but also a proper course of the entire cycle. Sleep, as we know, consists of several phases, and waking up in the wrong moment can have a significant impact on our mood and activity. Apart from the mentioned external circumstances, genetic conditions, individual psychophysical factors, for example life tragedies or stress, as well as failure to observe proper sleep hygiene rules, may influence the disturbances of a proper sleep cycle.
The most common types of sleep disorders
Sleep disorders may have psychological or somatic basis, they may also result from various external factors. Mental disorders such as neurosis, depression, addictions and somatic symptoms such as pain, metabolic disorders, hyperthyroidism should be consulted with a doctor in each case, also when they are accompanied by problems with sleep.
However, sleep disorders often result not from one disease or another, but from current circumstances: tragic experiences, stress at work, financial or other problems. As a rule, they result in such an ailment as insomnia. Problems with falling asleep and staying asleep are, unfortunately, quite a common effect of modern, nervous and not very healthy lifestyle.
On the other hand, a frequent symptom of depression is the so-called hypersomnia, i.e. too long sleep or excessive sleepiness appearing without any rational justification during the day. Narcolepsy is a relatively rare neurological disease characterised by sudden attacks of sleepiness during the day, as a result of which the patient falls asleep in any situation, sometimes accompanied by catalepsy.
Another type of disorders are disruptions in the rhythm of sleep and wakefulness, their cause is usually external factors – change of time zones, work in a different than natural daily rhythm, as well as the mentioned mental problems.
The disorders also include sleep apnea consisting of a temporary cessation of breathing due to abnormal structure or functionality of the upper airways. Relatively less common are sleepwalking, sleep intoxication, or persistent anxiety and nightmares.
Treatment of sleep disorders
Sleep problems lasting for a long time bring a number of negative consequences for the whole organism and our mental condition. The decrease in physical efficiency is accompanied by a feeling of continuous fatigue, irritation and frustration, problems with remembering and concentration, and even by lowered immunity and increased susceptibility to various physiological and mental illnesses.
Therefore, all sleep dysfunctions should be accurately diagnosed and then treated. Currently, you can use not only the help of a specific doctor, for example, a psychiatrist or neurologist, but also specialized sleep medicine centers. In such cases, special psychotherapy with pharmacological support is generally used. When it comes to drugs and supplements, melatonin for sleep is often used, as this hormone secreted by the pineal gland is responsible for the proper quantity and quality of sleep, and its deficiency causes adverse health disorders.
It is also worth on your own to take care of the comfort of sleep. How to sleep better? Observe regular hours of nightly rest, lead a healthy, physically active lifestyle, avoid stimulants, eat light supper at least two hours before going to bed, and before going to sleep relax by reading, for example, a book with a cheerful mood.
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