Sleep is a period of rest for the body and mind, during which volition and consciousness are in partial or complete abeyance and the bodily functions partially suspended. This period is so important that one needs it for survival. More so, one needs it for better health, hormonal balance, optimal performance, improved memory and learning and many more day-to-day activities. However, sleep disorder can ruin sleep so it is important to know methods with which one can conquer sleep disorders. In this blog post, we will be explaining what sleep is, why it is important, what sleep disorders are, causes of sleep disorders, what sleep aid are and how they can help you conquer sleep disorders.
What Is Sleep?
A phase of rest that alternates with wakefulness is known as sleep. Internal clocks in your body regulate when you are awake and when your body is prepared for sleep. These clocks have roughly 24-hour cycles. Light, darkness, and sleeping patterns are only a few of the variables that affect the clocks. You go through the stages of sleep in a predictable order after you are asleep and continue to do so throughout the night.
Because it has an impact on many bodily systems, sleep is crucial. Your chance of developing cardiac and respiratory issues increases if you don’t get enough sleep, and it also has an impact on your metabolism, your capacity for clear thinking, and your ability to concentrate.
Why Is Sleep Important?
Lack of sleep, especially poor quality sleep, can be detrimental to one’s long-term health and well-being as well as short-term learning and information processing difficulties. Many American don’t receive the necessary amount of sleep each night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The mysteries of sleep are continuously being investigated by scientists. Research demonstrates that sleep is essential for good functioning in numerous ways, even though science does not yet fully understand the particular functions of sleep.
- Better health: Sleep is crucial to staying healthy. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep raises a person’s risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and other illnesses, according to research in adults. By producing disruptions that keep you from sleeping through the night, your surroundings can impact the quality of your sleep. Additionally, the body releases hormones when you sleep that aid in growth, muscular development, disease prevention, and physical damage repair. For instance, growth hormone, which is crucial for growth and development, is created while you sleep. A lack of sleep may be a factor in obesity and diabetes because other hormones released while you sleep have an impact on how your body uses energy.
- Hormonal balance: Several crucial hormones, including those that stimulate growth and development, repair cells and muscles, and fight disease, are created during sleep.
- Optimal performance: Even a 1-hour reduction in sleep might affect how well you can concentrate the next day and how quickly you react. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, not getting enough sleep can also make you more willing to take chances and make bad choices
- Improved memory and learning: Sleep promotes brain plasticity, which aids in learning and the formation of long-term memories.
- Mood: Insufficient sleep can make one easily irritated or furious, which can cause relationship issues, especially in kids and teenagers. Additionally, according to NHLBI, those who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to experience depression.
What Are Sleep Disorders?
A range of illnesses known as sleep disorders have an impact on regular, sound sleep. Sleep disorders are on the rise in the United States, whether they are brought on by a medical condition or too much stress.
Due to stress, busy schedules, and other external factors, the majority of individuals periodically have trouble sleeping. However, they can be signs of a sleeping disorder if they start to happen frequently and interfere with daily life. Some of these disorders include:
- Insomnia: Difficulty falling or staying asleep is referred to as insomnia. Jet lag, anxiety, stress, hormones, or digestive issues are some of the possible causes. It might also be a sign of another ailment.
- Sleep apnea: During sleep, people with sleep apnea experience breathing pauses. The body absorbs less oxygen as a result of this significant medical issue. You might wake up in the middle of the night as a result.
- Parasomnias: A class of sleep disorders known as parasomnias causes unnatural movements and actions when a person is asleep.
- Narcolepsy: “Sleep attacks” that happen when a person is awake are a feature of narcolepsy. This means that you will unexpectedly become drowsy and feel exceedingly exhausted.
- Restless leg syndrome: Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is characterized by an intense urge to move the legs. Sometimes a tingling sensation in the legs occurs along with this impulse. Even while these signs might appear throughout the day, they are most common at night.
Causes Of Sleep Disorders
People may struggle to fall asleep and experience acute fatigue throughout the day depending on the sort of sleep disorder they have. Energy, emotions, focus, and general health can all suffer from sleep deprivation.
- Allergies and respiratory issues: Colds, upper respiratory infections, and allergies can all make it difficult to breathe at night. Sleeping issues might also result from an inability to breathe through your nose.
- Frequent urination: Nocturia, or the need to urinate frequently, can make it difficult to fall asleep by generating nighttime awakenings. This disorder may occur as a result of hormonal abnormalities and urinary tract illnesses. If you bleed or you are in pain while urination, make sure you consult your doctor straight soon.
- Chronic pain: Sleeping might be a challenge when you’re in pain all the time. Even if you do fall asleep, it can still wake you up. Chronic pain can be caused by a number of conditions, such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, persistent headaches, lower back pain, fibromyalgia, etc. In other circumstances, sleep problems may even make chronic pain worse. For instance, medical professionals think that sleep issues may be connected to the onset of fibromyalgia.
- Anxiety and stress: Anxiety and stress frequently have a detrimental effect on sleep quality. You could find it challenging to get to sleep or stay asleep. Your sleep may also be disturbed by nightmares, sleep talking, or sleepwalking.
There are three categories of sleep aids: prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and dietary supplements.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which meticulously examines data from research studies about a prescription drug’s efficacy and safety, must approve it before it can be sold. A patient can only purchase a medicine from a pharmacy with a prescription once it has been approved by the FDA.
Without a prescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can be bought. Although these drugs do not undergo the same amount of FDA scrutiny as prescription drugs, they nonetheless need to pass certain requirements before they can be sold.
Antihistamines are the main ingredient in over-the-counter sleep aids. Antihistamines are widely used to treat allergies, while they are also advertised as sleeping aids due to their sedative effects.
Dietary supplements are not prescribed medications, despite the fact that some people use them for health reasons. Sleep aids supplied as dietary supplements are subject to much less regulation and do not require FDA approval.
Dietary supplements that promote sleep include things like melatonin, valerian, and kava. There is a large variety of these sleep aids on the market because brands can make them from just one ingredient or a combination. Particularly melatonin is frequently prescribed for jet lag, shift work disorder, and other problems brought on by a misaligned circadian cycle.
How Sleep Aid Can Help
The main advantage of most sleep aids is that they make you drowsy, which makes it easier to fall asleep or more likely that you’ll sleep through the night.
Many sleep aids can lessen daytime tiredness and decreased thinking caused by sleep loss by enhancing sleep in the short term. They might assist in resetting your sleep cycle so you can experience more regular sleep.
However, the majority of sleep aids are not designed for long-term usage. Because of this, therapy for sleep disorders like insomnia frequently combines a sleep aid with doable strategies, like bettering sleep hygiene, that can help you achieve a good night’s sleep every night without the need for sleep medication.
There is no set formula for which sleep aids work best because everyone’s response to them differs. Instead, medical professionals recommend treatments based on the unique circumstances of each patient, including their symptoms and general health.
Doctors may use advice from professional associations like the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to make these recommendations (AASM). The AASM arranges panels of sleep specialists that evaluate the available data and offer broad suggestions about sleep aids. According to the most recent AASM recommendations for sleep medications, different prescription medications are suggested based on whether a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. This is because some sleep aids work rapidly and wear off quickly, while others take longer to start working and last longer. The AASM advises against using dietary supplements like melatonin and valerian, as well as over-the-counter sleeping medications.
As long as they are taken as prescribed, sleep aids are mostly safe for short-term use when used by healthy adults. No matter the type of sleep aid, it is always safer to use it under a doctor’s supervision due to the possibility of negative effects.
It’s crucial to take sleep medications responsibly in order to lower the danger of side effects. This typically entails using them solely at the prescribed dosage and at the proper time. Even if sleep issues persist, more doses should be avoided. Additionally, sedatives should not be combined with alcohol, other alcoholic beverages, or recreational substances.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (n.d.). Brain basics: Understanding sleep. Accessed June 26, 2022, from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver Education/Understanding-Sleep
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2011). In brief: Your guide to healthy sleep. Accessed June 25, 2022, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/sleep/healthysleepfs.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Prevalence of healthy sleep duration among adults. United States, 2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65, P 137 & 141. Accessed June 26, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6506a1.htm
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U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2017, November 13). Prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs: Questions and answers. Retrieved April 14, 2022, from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/questions-answers/prescription-drugs-and-over-counter-otc-drugs-questions-and-answers
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). (2019, January). Using dietary supplements wisely. Retrieved April 14, 2022, from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/using-dietary-supplements-wisely