Good sleep boosts good health. Sleep represents a third of our life, and it has an enormous impact on our productivity, health, overall quality of life and even our relationships. Sleep problems, whether in the form of medical disorders in the fields of neurology or psychology or related to lifestyle, are very common. In America, 70% of adults report that they sleep insufficiently at least one night a month, and 11% of them report that they sleep insufficiently every night. It is estimated that sleep problems affect 50 to 70 million Americans of all ages, genders and socioeconomic classes. In this article, you will find a few suggestions for a good sleep, as well as topics such as the stages of sleep, and the types and symptoms of sleep disorders. We hope it has been a useful guide for you. So, sleep "well"!
What Are Sleep Disorders?
Before going deeper, we'd better emphasize the basic definition of the sleep circle in short. During sleep, we usually pass through five phases of sleep which are stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. These stages occur as a cycle from stage 1 to REM sleep, then starts over again with the first stage. Almost 50 percent of our total sleep time is passed in stage 2, about 20 percent in REM sleep, and the remaining 30 percent in the other stages. By contrast of adults, infants spend almost half of their sleep time in the REM sleep stage. Sleep disorders may occur in any of these stages.
Sleep disorders include problems with the quality, timing and amount of sleep, which origins troubles in functioning during the daytime. There are different types of sleep disorders, among which insomnia is the most common. Other sleep disorders include narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome.
Besides them, REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is one of the more dangerous types of sleep disorders also known as parasomnia. In this condition, strange and abnormal events may occur that disrupt sleep. While it can be seen at any age, it is most commonly diagnosed in men over the age of 50 years.
Most of the sleep disorders can be managed with limited consultations after they diagnosed. The treatment of primary sleep disorders should be managed by a sleep specialist by applying special tests and monitoring technologies in a sleep clinic.
Sleep Disorder Symptoms
When we come to the symptoms, we see there’s a very wide range of symptoms that indicate sleep disorders, some of the most common ones are in this following list:
• Feeling very tired and sleepy in the morning and during the day
• Taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep almost every night
• Waking up with headaches
• Frequent pauses in breathing – also known as apnea
• An irresistible urge to continuously move your legs – also known as restless leg syndrome
What Is Normal and What’s Not?
Medical research linked to sleep deprivation to mood disorders, memory problems, job injuries, poor professional performance, car accidents, and relationship problems. Because sleep has a vital role in many body systems, including brain function and systemic physiology.
So, how much sleep do we really need?
Although sleep requirements may vary from person to person, most of them
• Adults can go with seven or nine hours of sleep
• Teens should sleep for around nine hours
• Infants are snooze-champions with fourteen to seventeen hours of shuteye
Keep in mind that if you suffer from a sleep disorder, you might need more than 8 hours of sleep. A person’s needs are greatly influenced by disorders such as insomnia.
What Is Insomnia and How Can I Avoid It?
Every once in a while, everyone has a bit of trouble sleeping, but if the problem persists for longer periods of time, you’re most likely suffering from insomnia and the effects of sleep deprivation. There are many medical conditions (from mild to severe) that can cause insomnia. While sometimes a medical condition itself causes insomnia, in some cases, symptoms of the condition cause discomfort for fall asleep. Some of the most common medical conditions that can lead to insomnia are:
• Sinus allergies
• Gastrointestinal conditions such as reflux
• Endocrine problems such as hyperthyroidism
• Neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease
• Chronic pain
“There’s nothing like a strong cup of coffee before going to bed!”
– Said no one ever
Trouble Falling Asleep? Get A Workout Going!
Besides its many advantages include decreased stress, weight control, disease prevention and so on, exercise is also important for a good sleep. When we’re tired, our cozy bed can be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Exercise is one of the best things you can do a couple of hours before going to bed – not only does it help you sleep better, but it’s healthy in itself.
Late Meals? Here’s What You Need to Avoid
Certain drinks and foods can contribute greatly to insomnia episodes. Here’s what you should avoid a couple of hours before going to bed:
• Soda, coffee and most teas including green tea and black tea
• Spicy foods can also cause heartburn and disturb you during your sleep.
• Alcoholic drinks Alcohol is accepted as a sedative. It can make you fall asleep at first but may disrupt your sleep later during the night.
Evening Snacking Fans Have No Fear
If you fancy a late-night snack, you can definitely go for something light and easy to digest. Biscuits, cereal, muffins or pretzels are an excellent choice. You can even wash it all down with some warm milk.
Avoid Technology Like the Plague
Phones, tablets, and TV can be entertaining, but they are sleep’s worst enemy. Research polls show that two-thirds of adults take their smartphones to bed, and it reaches up to 90% for 18 to 29-year-olds. Any screens that emit light or blue light will keep you alert and awake for hours. Because the researchers from Harvard and University of Toronto reported that light in the blue spectrum effects on our bodies by suppressing natural melatonin which is the hormone that tells your body when it's time to sleep.
The best thing you can do is just switch them all off and relax. We should remove all tablets, laptops, computers, and television from the bedroom – it’s definitely a good idea as the bedroom should be more focused on tranquility than late night blockbusters.
Pampering Yourself to Sleep
Falling asleep requires a calm and relaxed mental attitude. You can actually “train” your body to embrace it through certain bedtime rituals – deep breathing techniques, half an hour of reading or a warm bath. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and doing regular exercises may also help you feel more relaxed and also tired at bedtime. Gradually, your body will become accustomed to the ritual, and you’ll fall asleep more easily.
Cold Nights Make Restful Nights
Sometimes if the room is too hot, we can have problems falling asleep. A small drop in temperature before going to sleep does wonders. But be careful though, you don’t want to wake up a couple of hours later as it’s too cold. Therefore, 16-18°C is thought to be an ideal temperature in a bedroom. Temperatures over 24°C are likely to cause discomfort, while a cold room of about 12°C will also make it difficult to fall asleep.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in April 2019.