Wednesday, October 13, 2010
We should all be aware that sleep is an important fact of life. When the body is in this active state of rest is when the cells are able to regenerate. Sleep can affect pain perception and your ability to tolerate physical and emotional pain and is vital in our learning process. It helps information gathered throughout the day to be stored into memory.
Think of your brain as a computer that goes through certain stages of processing information. In the lighter stage of sleep the brain takes new information placed in temporary storage and puts it into a temporary holding area. In the deeper stage, that info is moved to more permanent storage. Then during REM(rapid eye movement)/dream stage that info gets embedded into our memory.
But many of us are not able to get the recommended hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation can also magnify the severity of other sleep disorders including sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome.
Below is a list of Sleep Medical Conditions compiled by John Hopkins Sleep Center
- Insomnia: The most common sleep disorder and which there are 30 types. Insomnia is defined as a recurrent problem initiating sleep, maintaining sleep, and/or waking up feeling un-refreshed, and is associated with problems functioning during the day. Irritability, fatigue, and inattention are effects.
- Chronic Insufficient Sleep: The most common explanation for complaints of sleepiness in our society is inadequate sleep. Due to the stress and rigors of society, most Americans often get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.
- Restless Leg Syndrome(RLS) is a disorder diagnosed by the presence of four essential symptoms:
- An uncomfortable sensation usually located in the legs that are associated with an overwhelming urge to move.
- The experience of these sensations when the individual is immobile or at “rest.”
- When the individual moves, the symptoms improve.
- The symptoms are most prominent at night.
- Circadian Rhythm Disorder: When our brain's internal clock is out of whack you can have difficulty sleeping during “conventional” sleep hours. Circadian rhythm disorders can come in a variety of forms based on the pattern of the sleep clock misalignment, including: Night owl form (CRD-delayed sleep phase syndrome), Morning lark form (CRD-advanced sleep phase syndrome), Shift work disorder(working night shift), and Jet lag. The misalignment between the internal clock and the environment can lead to a number of difficulties including insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and fatigue.
Narcolepsy: A collection of symptoms are involved in this disorder. The desire to sleep becomes so overwhelming that small “cat naps” are required throughout the day to feel refreshed. You may experience episodes of cataplexy (muscle weakness associated with expression of emotion), muscle paralysis during sleep-wake transitions, and dream-like images experienced when they are awake.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: You may stop breathing during sleep due to an obstruction. This obstruction is usually associated with a fall in blood oxygen or arousal from sleep and may be caused by large tonsils or a large tongue, excess tissue in the upper airway, blocked nasal passages or the structure of the jaw and airway. You may experience daytime symptoms such as sleepiness, fatigue, and problems with memory and concentration. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, stroke, acid reflux and insomnia can make symptoms worse. Until a sleep study is done, the formal diagnosis cannot be made.
Parasomnia: Literally means behaviors occurring at the time of sleep. These are infrequent and benign and do not require medical attention. A formal evaluation by a sleep specialist should be considered in the following situations:
- Episodes result in injury to the individual or others
- Episodes result in significant sleep disruption to the individual or members of their household
- Episodes result in significant daytime dysfunction. Some of the conditions categorized as parasomnias include:
- Night terrors
- Sleep walking
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Sleep-related eating disorders
- Somniloquy (talking in one’s sleep)
Based on the current sleep deprivation research findings 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep nightly is required in order to function at your best, emotionally, cognitively, and physically.
You would have to talk with your doctor about your sleep pattern so that they can make a proper assessment into whether it is anxiety-related or an actual medical condition such as sleep disorder.
Scientific studies have shown that relaxation techniques alter and increase alpha brain wave, which causes deep relaxation and may contribute to a sense of well-being, also having immune boosting benefits that can possibly aid in cancer, HIV/AIDS patients recovery.
Alternative therapies such as reiki, reflexology, acupuncture, energy work/healing, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, Qi Gong, yoga, meditation, and herbal therapy can be used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment and are known relaxation techniques that promote well-being, vitality, and self-healing.
Your health is your wealth so do what is necessary to achieve a quality life.