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Here’s a question for you! Do you find it hard to remember things and concentrate at home or work? If the answer to this is yes, think about your sleep schedule and pattern. How fine do you sleep? Do you face issues with the quality, timings, and amount of sleep?
Disorder in sleeping patterns or habits negatively affects health. More than 60% of the world’s population experiences sleep problems nowadays. Experiencing sleep problems occasionally is fine, but it might be time to consult a doctor if it happens regularly. Medical conditions and other mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and cognitive disorder often add to the problem of sleep disorder along with them. While insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorder types, other sleep disorders include obstructive sleep Apnea, parasomnias, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome.
Sleep difficulties are linked to physical and emotional problems, contributing to mental health conditions and being a symptom for other mental health conditions.
Importance of Sleep
As much as your body needs food to survive, sleep is equally critical for your physical and mental health. Your body works on a 24-hour cycle that helps you know when to sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need about seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night. In 2015, based on a meticulous review of the scientific literature, the foundation revised its sleep recommendations. However, many of us fail to get enough sleep, with nearly 30 percent of adults getting less than six hours of sleep every night. An estimated population of 35 percent reports their sleep quality as ‘poor’ or ‘only fair’.
A good night’s sleep benefits brain functions by increasing concentration and productivity. The same good sleep pattern can have a direct impact on the behavior and academic performance of the children. Due to lack of sleep, your longing or capability to maintain a healthful lifestyle could directly or indirectly contribute to weight gain. A good sleep pattern further lowers the risk of heart disease as it allows regulated blood pressure.
Do you know that sleep helps to repair the body, regenerate, and recover? Research suggests that better sleep quality can improve the immune system.
Consequences of lack of sleep
We do realize that sleep helps with proper brain functioning, and not getting enough sleep or poor-quality sleep has many potential consequences. Due to lack of sleep, your body experiences fatigue with decreased energy and irritability. It also affects your decision-making ability. Not just lack of sleep, too much sleep can also cause trouble. Lack of sleep and too much sleep are linked to many chronic health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.
You would be surprised to know that your brain forms connections while sleeping, and it helps in the process of remembering new information. Your problem-solving skills, concentration, and creativity aren’t up to par when you don’t get enough rest. Sleep deprivation can make you moody, emotional, cranky, and short-tempered. It can further affect your mood and lead to anxiety or depression, which may escalate. Lack of sleep also weakens your immune system’s defensive power against viruses causing cold and flu. Sleeping for less than five hours a night can increase your high blood pressure and heart disease risk. Increased blood pressure and higher levels of chemicals are linked to inflammation, which ends in heart diseases. Lack of sleep also affects your balance and coordination, making you prone to falls and other physical accidents.
You may face a sleep disorder because of the changes you make in your lifestyle every now and then or any underlying health condition. Consult a sleep disorder doctor right away if any of the disorders are persistent to avoid further health problems.
Types of sleep disorder
Insomnia – It is one of the most common sleep disorders affecting sleep patterns and causing trouble in falling or remaining asleep. Stress, jet lag, hormonal changes, anxiety, digestive issues are some of the factors contributing to the issue of insomnia. Insomnia doctor provides treatment, including therapy, medications, and changes in the lifestyle. Insomnia may lead to weight gain, depression, weak concentration, irritation, and other health-related issues if not treated on time.
Sleep Apnea – One of the severe medical conditions is ‘Sleep Apnea’. While this is more prevalent in men, it causes disruption in breathing. Have you ever felt tired even after having a good sleep? It could be a symptom of sleep apnea. Time to consult sleep apnea doctor. Symptoms like loud snoring, poor memory, poor concentration, disturbed mood, high BP, and daytime fatigue causes sleep apnea. Though Sleep apnea doctors can treat it by making lifestyle changes, if the condition persists for a longer duration, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine may be advised by the sleep apnea doctor.
Restless Leg Syndrome – Uncomfortable sensations in the legs followed by an irresistible urge to move the legs is referred to as restless leg syndrome. Ranging from insignificant to intolerable and later on worsening, the severity starts disrupting sleep. Affecting both men and women; it is usually diagnosed in middle-aged or older people.
Parasomnias - Causing abnormal behavior and movement during sleep. Parasomnias includes sleepwalking, nightmares, groaning, teeth grinding, sleep talking, bedwetting, and jaw clenching.
Narcolepsy - A chronic sleep disorder caused by abnormal signaling to the brain and genetic factors that lead to overwhelming daytime drowsiness.
Treatment of sleep disorder
Sleep disorder doctor provides treatment depending on the type of disorder one is suffering from and its underlying cause. Improving lifestyle and routine medication can control the disorder. Your doctor will recommend you medical treatments that include sleeping pills, medication for allergy or cold, melatonin supplements, CPAP in case of sleep apnea, dental guard (teeth grinding), and medication for any underlying disease that is causing the sleep disorder.
Lifestyle changes recommended by the doctor include creating a sleep schedule, limiting alcohol and tobacco use, dietary changes, and reducing stress, sugar, and caffeine intake.
It is highly recommended to take care of your sleep schedule and get treatment from any sleep disorder doctor if you face any problem.
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