Not only does the body naturally require sleep to function adequately physiologically, problems sleeping may be an indicator of serious underlying disease, or worse still; sleep disorders may precipitate depression and other mood disorders leading to suicide in some cases.
The average human being spends about a third [1/3] of their day sleeping! However, the quality and quantity of human sleep varies with age. At younger ages, sleep is more stable consisting mostly of stages 3 and 4 Non-Rapid Eye Movement [NREM], a stage of sleep which represents the deepest levels of sleep. Thus as alluded to by this fact, the saying “sleep like a baby” actually has a scientific backing to it.
With advancing age, past early adolescence, both the depth and and continuity of sleep deteriorate as sleep progressively constitutes more of Stage 1 NREM sleep, [which represents the initial stages of sleep where the individual is still in the transition from wakefulness to sleep]. In addition, the duration and frequency of Stage 3 and 4 NREM sleep also decreases.
As a rule, there are two broad categories of people on matters sleep;
Short Sleepers– Refers to the ‘lucky’ few to whom sleep is not much of an impediment to their activities, as they require just about 6hrs of sleep at night to function well during the day. Short sleepers tend to be the efficient, ambitious, outgoing and socially contented type.
Long sleepers– They are the unlucky type as for most of their lives, long sleepers have to contend with unkind remarks such as being labeled lazy and other cruel taunting. Long sleepers require >9hrs of sleep at night for them to function meaningfully during the day. They tend to be introverted individuals, gloomy; but this is not set in stone.
Outside these two broad categories, other patterns of sleep can be noted. Some unfortunately so, are indicative of sleep disorders.
Sleep disorders are of for types, depending on their presumed causes:
These disorders in sleep are attributed to endogenous abnormalities in sleep-wake pattern regulation, often in the setting of appropriate aggregating factors. The sleep disorders in this category are further grouped into Dyssomnias and Parasomnias.
2.Sleep Disorder Related to a co-existing Mental Disorder
The diagnosis of this sleep disorder occurs in the setting of a diagnosable mental disorder severe enough to warrant independent medical attention, when the patient complaints of prominent symptoms suggestive of a disturbance in the sleep-wake patterns. The usual culprits are mood disorders such as depression and anxiety disorder.
3.Sleep Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition
As the name suggests, the physiological demands of other medical illnesses, may cause disturbances in sleep-wake patterns leading to sleep disorders. Pain and other forms of generalized discomfort, are the usual culprits in such a case. Treating the underlying medical condition using medication, usually alleviates the symptoms.
4.Substance abuse- Induced Sleep Disorder
The sleep disorder is usually related to the use/ discontinuation of a substance. Cannabis addiction and caffeine addition are some of the examples. Some medically prescribed drugs also have the untoward side effect of inducing excessive sleep such as cough syrup and anti-histamines such as H1 receptor antagonist Chlorpheniramine [Piriton]
DISCLAIMER: If you are experiencing any kind of problems with sleep, it is advisable that you check up with your doctor,as this seemingly harmless state, can be potentially life threatening. Not only does the body naturally require sleep to function adequately physiologically, problems sleeping may be an indicator of serious underlying disease, or worse still; sleep disorders may precipitate depression and other mood disorders leading to suicide in some cases.
Desists from the urge of believing that Tv advertisement that has conveniently come at 2AM, while for an unteempth time you are battling with sleep problem, to purchase that over-the -counter [OTC] sleeping pill.
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