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Sleep is probably best described as the loss of awareness of what is happening around. The brain itself never sleeps and still continues to function, although the brainwave rhythms are gradually altered and slowed as a person approach the deeper stages of sleep.
Sleep deprivation exists when a person is not getting the dream needed. This varies from person to person. The average adult requires six to nine hours a night. Kids and teens require more sleep than adults. If you feel energetic during the day and do not experience daytime sleepiness then you are probably getting adequate sleep.
Public awareness of fitness and nutrition has grown over the last few years but unfortunately little is known about the very important issue of sleep disorders. They are not included in any general medical training so the lack of knowledge is perpetuated.
If only sleepiness were the only drawback of sleep deprivation, it would not be such a serious condition. Unfortunately, the consequences are many and some of them are absolutely serious. There are behavioral and physical symptoms of sleep deprivation.
Effects of sleep deprivation
These ranges from uncomfortable to downright dangerous, so if you can see yourself in the symptoms below, it’s worth trying to establish what is causing your sleep deprivation then we can resolve ourselves and how to treat it.
- Tension and anxiety. This can be a vicious cycle as stress and anxiety can actually cause lack of sleep, it is also a result of it.
- Cholera, irritability, and depression. These are all stress related and can cause relationship and social problems. The National Sleep Foundation has said that anger due to sleep deprivation may be one of the contributing factors to road rage. The answer to these problems may simply be more or better sleep
- Lack of focus and difficulty concentrating. The brain looses function as a result of sleep deprivation. Students suffering from lack of sleep loses the ability to focus and concentrate on studying. One study has found that from the age of puberty, the need for sleep increases until adulthood.
- Short-term memory loss. Memory is affected by a lack of sleep, this is also a problem for those trying to study and for those learning new job skills.
- Inability to drive a motor vehicle safely. A person who is sleep deprived has lower concentration and can fall asleep at the wheel. Sleep deprivation can also cause blurring of peripheral vision. The danger has been determined to be close to someone who is affected by alcohol!
- Suppression of the immune system. This is a concern as it leaves a person vulnerable to every infection that happens to be around all the time. People who are deprived of sleep get more colds and flu than those who are not.
These are probably enough reasons to convince us to take action to change our sleeping habits! If the lack of time is keeping us up late, something else may have to be sacrificed to make sure we get the rest we need.
If a sleep disorder is making your life miserable, do not despair! There is always something you can do and knowledge on the subject is improving all the time so read on!
Insomnia is a common symptom of various psychiatric disorders and has significant implications for them. In the context of anxiety disorders, insomnia appears to be a natural symptom, in fact, it is often the key to diagnosing anxiety disorders or it is believed that it can accelerate the development of such disorders. Insomnia is the inability to get the amount of sleep required to wake up feeling refreshed and fresh, it is defined by the quality of sleep and the feeling of rest. It does not depend so much on the number of hours of sleep. Insomnia becomes something chronic if this condition of not having quality rest and sleep happens every night for a month or more.
The relationship between anxiety and insomnia creates a vicious circle, insomniacs anticipate problems with sleep and this causes them to develop anxiety and fear of going to bed and not being able to sleep. This pressure to sleep causes further difficulty in falling asleep. This lack of sleep accentuates the other symptoms of anxiety.
Many scholars think that if chronic insomnia is controlled, this may help control anxiety symptoms. However, others find that if anxiety is managed, insomnia will overcome itself. Actually, both points of view are valid, what is true is that when we fall into a cycle of insomnia by anxiety, it is very important to seek help and treatment.
According to Dr. Ralph Downey III, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Loma Linda University in California “The greatest health risks for the insomniac, if not treated within six months, are mental illness and Alcohol abuse “.
Practical Tips for Treating Chronic Anxiety Insomnia
Sleep problems are usually treatable and there are a variety of ways to deal with them. Changing behaviors such as avoiding drinking lots of caffeine, drinking alcohol or smoking before bedtime, taking naps during the day or having an irregular sleep schedule. They may sound pretty obvious, but people often overlook these recommendations and this literally takes away the dream.
Here are some of the most basic and practical recommendations for treating chronic anxiety insomnia:
- Make sure the bedroom is quiet, dark and cool. Noise, light, and heat can interfere with sleep.
- Establish a regular sleep schedule. Our body really works like a clock and it is healthy to support it respecting the bedtime and getting up every day, to create a rhythm.
- Avoid naps. Napping during the day can make it harder to fall asleep at night.
- Remove pressure. According to the Anxiety Guide, it is preferable to face each night with low expectations, receiving every night that passes as a new opportunity to sleep, even if only a few hours of sleep. This removes the pressure of being forced to sleep.
- Avoid situations of high stimulating activity before bedtime. This includes watching TV, playing video games or using the computer before bed.
- Control your light. The brain produces a hormone, called melatonin, which helps regulate sleep, wake cycles and the biological clock in general. The production of this hormone is controlled by exposure to light.
If you feel that despite implementing self-help tips and ordering and changing your sleep habits, you still cannot overcome your insomnia, you may want to consider consulting with a health professional. A sleep specialist can observe your sleep patterns, brain waves, heart rate, rapid eye movements and more, by means of control devices connected to your body. You will then analyze the results of your sleep study and, if necessary, design a treatment program. You should find it encouraging that insomnia can and should be treated.
Understanding the causes of chronic insomnia can be somewhat complex. It is often the result of a number of factors. A lot of those factors are underlying psychological or physical disorders that end up triggering chronic insomnia.
Depression is one of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Other disorders such as chronic anxiety and bipolar also known as manic-depression also cause chronic insomnia. Researchers found out that about 70% of people diagnosed with depression experience insomnia. Depressed people tend to have abnormal levels of stress hormones. These abnormalities can affect sleep.
However, it should be noted that emotional or mental problems can be caused by insomnia, which is why it can be difficult to determine if the emotional and mental problem triggers insomnia or insomnia triggers the emotional and mental problem.
Also, chronic medical illnesses could be a possible cause as some of them have been known to interfere with the regular sleep pattern. This includes congestive heart failure, heartburn, menopause, arthritis, diabetes, hypoglycemia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, not to mention others. Allergies, hypertension, kidney disease, sleep apnea, asthma, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, hyperthyroidism, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD and Parkinson’s disease can also be underlying causes of chronic insomnia.
Although physical and mental disorders are usual contributing factors in insomnia, they are not the only things that can cause chronic insomnia. Behavioral factors such as addiction to caffeine, alcohol and other substances, disturbed sleep or wake cycles and chronic stress can cause chronic insomnia.
Some Causes of Chronic Insomnia in Women
Hormonal fluctuations can significantly affect sleep. It is known that progesterone helps to sleep. During menstruation, progesterone levels decrease, causing insomnia. During ovulation, progesterone levels go down, causing drowsiness.
Women who are in the first phase of menopause may also develop chronic insomnia because extreme fluctuations in hormone levels occur. The common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, anxiety, and sweating, and these occur frequently at night during sleep. Women who are in the stage of menopause may also be experiencing psychological distress, causing insomnia.
As people age, waves of growth hormone which is a substance associated with sleep erupt. Stress hormone levels such as cortisol have been found to increase in older people, although the results are not entirely conclusive. It has also been found that levels of melatonin, a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland and is linked to sleep, does not decline as a person ages.
Different treatment options for insomnia
Apart from addressing issues underlying physical and mental problems, you should also examine your daily living habits. The different treatment options for insomnia include behaviors and lifestyle changes as well as natural remedies all of which will help you defeat the causes of chronic insomnia.