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Causes of Not Having Enough Sleep, Essay Example

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Essay

The importance of sleep and sleeping disorders

Sleep is quintessential in our lives. Every human has the main basic functions in common. One of such necessities is our need of sleep. People greatly vary in their sleeping patterns, timing and quality. However, we all agree that sleep is essential for all the people to literally stay alive. Even though it is as important as breathing, many people live ignoring the basic rules which with time result into various sleep disorders. Often the importance of sleep is overlooked. The surveys conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (1999-2004) “reveal that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more.” (American Psychological Association)

There are many reasons explaining why sleeping is important for people. One of the most vital is that it is the way for our body to rejuvenate. During the period of sleep when we lower our energy levels, our soft tissues and muscles are able to be revitalized and repaired. Concurrently our brain has the time to process and absorb the memories and experiences we learnt during the day. Sleep is important no matter how old we are. However, it’s essential to pay careful attention to children because “importance of sleep during early life when the brain is rapidly maturing and highly changeable” is vital. (Medical News Today, p. 4)

One day of without the sleep is not fatal, however, the increase of sleepless nights will cause negative changes such as mood swings, poor physical and mental wellbeing, provoked disease or even death of a person.  To be able to clearly understand the importance of sleep, it is vital to consider the symptoms that happen with the lack of proper sleep.

It is a common norm that the amount of sleep person gets per day is eight hours. However, studies show that if some people are able to function with just six hours, others are in need of no less than ten. Lack of sleep will promptly become a cause of irritability, inability to follow or make decisions through cognitive functions. It will also result into hallucinations, possible weight gain, depressions and anxiety. “A recent survey found that more people are sleeping less than six hours a night, and sleep difficulties visit 75% of us at least a few nights per week”, says Harvard Women’s Health Watch. A chronic sleep disorder in a person will eventually cause immune system deficiency which is very dangerous for person’s health.

Psychologists and scientists, who examine the causes the sleep disorders, show that such problems can result into direct or indirect abnormalities of such systems as cardiovascular, metabolic, brain and nervous system and immune. The lack of sleep can cause insomnia, pathological sleepiness, emotional disorders such as bipolar disorder or depression, alcohol and drug abuse. All of the above symptoms clearly define the necessity of sleep for human beings.

According to sleep experts stress is probably a number one reason of short-term sleeping problems. Under stress we understand possible school or work related issues, family or illness problems among friends, etc. Often sleeping disorders tend to disappear once the stress situation is resolved. But it is important to note that, for instance, insomnia, that arises from short-term sleeping problems, if not carefully treated at the beginning can result into a lengthy discomfort. Among are reasons that can cause human lack of sleep are drinking of alcohol and the beverages that contain coffee. High risk of having sleep disorders have workers who work in shifts or travel a lot. “Biological rhythms” shift and sometimes sleep can be mainly elusive. “All living things contain molecular clocks that anticipate the daily pattern of dawn to dusk”, said Russell Foster in his book “Rhythms of Life”.

Among common sleep problems are such diseases as insomnia, periodic limb movement, obstructive sleep apnea, reflux, nightmares, narcolepsy, sleepwalking, etc. A lot of people have insomnia, which is a trouble of staying and falling asleep. The main reason of this disorder is stress and tension. A lot of things can lead to insomnia among them emotional problems, physical state and sometimes even uncomfortable sleeping position or environment in general.

Many people tend to have insomnia now and then. However, when it constantly troubles a person and lasts for months without positive relief, doctors call is chronic. There are a number of factors that can result into chronic insomnia among them: medication side effects, mental or health problems, etc. When having this disorder, a person should try to get help from counselor, therapist or a doctor. Sometimes matters can get worth because a person can start worrying about the insomnia itself. The person himself can build into a longer lasting disease. Such version of insomnia doctors call psychophysiologic.

Restless legs syndrome and periodic limp movements, as common sleep problems, refer to the conditions when sleep is troubled by leg or arm movements resulting into tiresome and irritability from the lack of rest.  Periodic limp movement disorder describes the movements as involuntary jerks or twitches. The reason why they are involuntary is because the person actually is not controlling the process and often is unaware of the movements. Both PLM and RLS are treatable by doctors; therefore, person needs to contact a specialist once he or she feels discomfort.

Among risky sleep problems is obstructive sleep apnea. This disease is described as a disorder that causes a person to temporarily stop breathing while sleeping. Usually the most common causes of sleep apnea are increased adenoids or tonsils, namely tissues that are located in the passage where nose and throat are connected. People who are overweight or obese are also likely to acquire the disease. In common practice people with obstructive sleep apnea tend to snore during the sleep, have trouble breathing and even sweat. Since these factors influence person’s sleep, it can result into general irritation and sleepiness during the day.

Next common sleep problem is called reflux implying to the gastro-esophageal reflux disease. Basically this disorder involves stomach acid movements backward up in the esophagus which result into burning, uncomfortable sensation called heartburn. Sometimes when having this disease people experience much greater discomfort when they lay down. Individuals might not be clearly noticing the direct influence but while they sleep, heartburn is indeed causing interference into the sleeping cycle of a person.

Big cause of a sleep disorders among people is parasomnia, namely sleep phenomena that disrupts normal ability of sleep. This particular set of disease usually involves events that occur during sleep-wake timing, REM or arousal. Parasomnias include sleepwalking, nightmares and sleep terrors.

Nightmare is a sleep disorder that happens among people on occasions. However, some individuals might experience this discomfort on a regular basis. The disorder is described as a sudden awakening during the night because of a disturbing dream. Among things that cause nightmares can be some drugs, medications and even alcohol. Sleep deprivation itself often is a reason of the disorder. Usually nightmares result from emotional triggers such as anxiety or stress.

Sleep terror is an extreme form of nightmares. This kind of disorder often takes place during non-REM sleep of people. People wake up terrified, scream and usually need a few minutes to understand that it was just a dream and everything is okay. Scientists observe that sleep terror occur early at night and can be combined with the sleepwalking disorder. Upon having such symptoms a person is advised to contact therapist or doctor for interference and assistance.

Sleepwalking is common among children and can run in family genes. Usually it tends to occur when the person is sick or has a fever. Other reasons include lack of sleep and such emotional triggers as stress. Sleepwalking does not happen often and usually is not a serious problem for individuals. People who experience this disorder usually return back to their beds and in the morning do not remember what happened. Scientists say that sleepwalking occurs during the deeper sleep of a person.

Sometimes sleepwalkers need additional help when they try to move objects from one place to another. They can frighten the people who live with them but it does not involve any kind of harm. Usually it is advised for the family or siblings to helps the person to return back to his or her bed peacefully.

Taking about sleeping problems that influence people during the day it is worth mentioning narcolepsy. Individuals with this kind of disorder usually are very sleepy during the day and can fall asleep very suddenly, lose muscles control and see bright dreamlike images. Their night time sleep can be interfered with numerous awakenings. People who have narcolepsy need to be very careful because the disorder that causes sudden sleep “attacks” can be very dangerous in daily life, for instance, in driving. Individual’s work and social life can also be greatly affected by the unique sleeping patterns. Narcolepsy usually shows its first symptoms in the age range of 10 to 25 years old. When dealing with such patients, doctors tend to advice to change the lifestyle of a person as well as prescribe specific medications.

Various sleep problems are treated differently. Some patients might require medications and others need more detailed techniques such as light therapy, for instance. Doctors can encourage individuals to change their life styles and certain habits. There exist simple tips that a person can follow in order to develop a healthy sleep pattern that can prevent mentioned above diseases.

Elimination of caffeine at noon or at night hours will benefit better sleep since it will not directly inhibit person’s ability to sleep. Doing sports in order to maintain a healthy life is another area that should be considered. Together with the trainer individual can develop a smooth plan to stay fit and energetic. Heavy food, drugs and alcohol should be eliminated because they diminish quality of sleep. By doing exercise in the morning person will maintain healthy sleep regime.   If a person is taking some medications, it is a good idea to re-evaluate the influence of the medicine on the person’s body. It’s widely known that some pills can increase adrenaline or disable the body from proper relaxation.

“In order to have a health sleep person must maintain a certain daily routine that will guarantee great rest.” (Focus, p. 24) It is important to have one’s bed comfortable and the environment appropriate and favorable for the sleep. Such things as noise and light can cause unhealthy sleep patterns.

There are many alternatives and ways to try before starting to use sleeping pills that are not very good for people’s health in general. However, it is important to remember that life can give us various situations but by rejuvenating properly our body will be able to fight back. Proper sleep will greatly boost person’s health, mood and the perception of life around. Sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Therefore, we must always use it wisely to stay alive.

Works Cited

American Psychological Association. “Why Sleep is Important And What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough”. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/topics/sleep/why.aspx

Foster, Russell. “Rhythms of Life. The Biological Clocks that Control the Daily Lives Of Every Living Thing”. Profile Books Ltd. (2004): 57

Kreeger, Karen. “Importance Of Sleep During Early Life When The Brain Is Developing”. Medical News Today. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (23 Feb 2010): 4

Lydiard, Bruce R. “Clinical Importance of Sleep Disturbance as a Treatment Target in PTSD”. Focus. (Spring 2009): 24

Robb-Nicholson, Celeste. “Harvard Women’s Health Watch”. Volume 23 (7 November 2008) Harvard Medical School. http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/ importance_of_sleep_and_health

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