Overview of sleep & sleep disorders

I am sure we all had trouble with sleeping at one point or another, maybe falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up. But sleep deprivation can be a serious issue. People who don’t get enough sleep are more irritable a perform worse on memory and attention tasks than people who do. All of this can be the minor annoyance in everyday life, but imagine the situation for say, firefighter, pilot or the person driving next to you on a freeway.

Downside of poor sleep

post4aThe sleep deprivation makes people more accessible to obesity. When you re sleep deprived your body produces more cortisol which is a hormone that tells your body make more fat, and also produce a hormone that tells your body you are hungry so you end up eating more and turning what you eat into fat.Also, sleep deprivation can increase your risk for depression, one theory about this link is that REM sleep helps your brain process emotional experiences which helps prevent depression. The fact is that most people experience sleep deprivation in some point in their life but the good news is that you will be able to get back in the track with a few good nights of a quality sleep.

So a good question would be what is the right amount of sleep?That is not an easy question but most adults need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep, but the exact number varies by the individual and by age.

Sleep disorders

post4bPeople who have pertinent problems with falling or staying asleep have a more serious sleep disorder called insomnia. There are numerous medications that can help people fall asleep but taking them for too long can result in dependence and tolerance. If person continues to rely on the medication then their body will get used to it and eventually they’ll need more to get the same effect. Treatment for insomnia often involves psychological training as well as or sometimes instead of medication.

On the other end of the spectrum is narcolepsy. Which is a disorder when people can help themselves from falling asleep. 1 in 2000 people suffers from narcolepsy and most of the time people who suffer from it will have this spontaneous intense sleepiness moment and occasionally lapsing into REM sleep.