Sleep is as important an activity for living beings as any other life-saving activity like eating, drinking, breathing, moving etc. It’s the relaxing time and gives an opportunity for the body and mind to recover and rejuvenate. In fact, a complete sleep is the one activity that decides how active you will be the next day.
For human beings, sleep is more than that. It affects your mood and your mental alertness. Physically it determines your preparedness, your posture, and general health conditions. On an average, a normal adult needs 8 hours sleep every day. However many do not get it adequate due to some sleep disorders. To an estimate, around 12% population suffers from one such disorder or the other. Let us examine some commonly occurring ones.
Inability to fall asleep or frequently waking up in the night is called insomnia. It can be caused by stress and anxiety, hormones, or digestive problems. Insomnia is one of the most common syndromes and can be chronic or acute in nature. Under chronic conditions, you are not able to sleep properly for months together. In extreme cases such as narcolepsy, you feel sleep-deprived all the time. You are not able to sleep in the night and whole day you feel drowsiness and lack enthusiasm. More than 10% people suffer from insomnia in varying degrees.
Sleep apnoea is a disorder wherein the breathing is interrupted or slowed down significantly during sleep. In this condition, the body takes in less oxygen than normal, Though this happens for few seconds only at a time more often than not, this sleep apnoea is followed by loud snoring and subsequent waking up. It may be repeated many times during the night.
Sleepwalking is a type of sleep disorder known as a parasomnia. In sleepwalking, you just wake up and start wandering. This is a mental status when your consciousness level is extremely low but physically you are more active. Sleep walking can be caused by the factors like Sleep deprivation, Obstructive sleep apnoea, Stress, Genetics and family history. Apart from walking you may also be involved in other activities like talking, cleaning, driving etc. This is dangerous and you may hurt yourself.
During sleep or just before you reach sub-consciousness sometimes you experience strange things. You may hear strange voices, see animals or strange people or feel lost. You want to shout, you want to run away. You try it with your full energy but you cannot and suddenly wake up sweating. This is sleeping hallucination coupled with sleeping paralysis. Many factors like mental illness called schizophrenia, nervous system problem like Parkinson’s disease cause Hallucination.
You may be conscious enough to choose your food while awake; however, in this syndrome, you wake up in your sleep and start eating strange things which you may never do otherwise. You may indulge in high-calorie food like chocolates, butter etc or sometimes even strange things like soap.
You will find all the above and some more sleep disorders at a glance in an infographic. A lot of research has been done on sleep disorders and it is still going on. Major reasons identified are anxiety, mental stress, jet-lags, medication, drink before sleeping, health conditions and even genetics. Treatment varies from sufferer to sufferer depending on the problem and its degree. However, if you maintain some basic sleep hygiene, you will find a remarkable reduction in your sleep disorders.
Make your bedroom environment sleep worthy with no TV in bed, no noise, no sharp light there. Intake of alcohol, caffeine or nicotine must be avoided. No argument, no emotional discussion before sleep. Just try these simple tricks and very soon you will forget you had any sleeping problem.