Why do we sleep at night? Sleep is a regular period of time within every 24 hours when we are unconscious and we are not aware of our surroundings. Humans usually sleep a single period at night. Sleep provides important rest and restoration of the spirit and the body. However, the brain is very active during certain phases of sleep.
Progress in science and technology now allows us a detailed study of sleep as never before. In addition to recording the more obvious consequences of poor sleep, scientists are increasingly studying sleeping events at neurological and psychosocial levels. They find that sleep is more useful than previously assumed and that it is undoubtedly essential to enhance the health and functioning of the body.
Unfortunately, today’s sleeping is sometimes neglected, as it has to be subordinated to our busy schedule and lifestyle. Millions of people suffer from chronic sleep disorders or are suffering from transient or occasional sleep problems every year.
It is estimated that the cost of medical services associated with this disorder is $ 16 billion only in the US, since this disorder has a disruptive impact on human work, driving skills and social activities. Among the most common sleep disorders are insomnia, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and parasomnia.
Why do we Sleep at Night?
Although we usually look at sleep as a rest period and time to recover from the everyday life activities, research reveals more. Sleep is a dynamic activity during which many processes take place which are indispensable for health and well-being.
We must sleep because this is inevitably necessary to maintain the normal levels of cognitive skills, such as speech, memory, and innovative and positive thinking.
The data show that sleep is also important for balancing the mood and plays a key role in the normal functioning of the endocrine and immune system.
In fact, research shows an ever-closer connection between poor sleep and a whole range of serious health problems, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression. Therefore, there is no over-claim that some of the most dangerous health problems that we face as a society may be related to poor sleep.
Some Facts about Sleep Problems and Its Consequences
Sleepy drivers who have sleep deprivation are likely to cause more than 100.000 accidents every year, 71.000 injuries and more than 1.500 deaths. In addition, it is estimated that sleep disorders of the Americans cost over $ 100 billion annually due to reduced productivity, health costs, sick leave, and actual and environmental damage. We all know how badly we feel after a bad night, right?
Despite the fact that at least 40 million Americans report of sleep problems, more than 60 % of adults weren’t asked about the quality of their sleep by the doctor. Less than 20 per cent of patients told it to the doctor.
How Sleep Affects Our Health?
The lack of sleep doesn’t only affect the cognitive functions but also the emotional and physical health. According to research, sleep deprivation also increases the risk of obesity. Chemical substances and hormones secrete during sleep and they play a key role in controlling the appetite and weight gain.
It is the fact that the lack of sleep adversely affects awareness and motor productivity. A study has shown that people who were continuously awake for 19 hours achieved significantly poorer results in productivity tests and alertness than those who were stunned by alcohol under legal criteria.
Sleep disorders are a group of health problems that make us harder to sleep or sleep less. They usually have a psychological or psychiatric cause. These problems are different from sleep problems which are not a health problem. Each type of sleep disorder should be supervised by a personal doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist.
Insomnia is a situation when we can’t sleep well. Insomnia is a psychological disorder, in which the length of sleep never exceeds 1-2 hours in one night. It is a serial condition that should be treated.
In sleep apnea, a person isn’t breathing during sleep for at least 10 seconds. It is common in overweight people.
When breathing stops, the muscles around the throat release and prevent the passage of air to the lungs. A person with apnea doesn’t realize these interruptions, but he still feels their influence. When he stops breathing, he goes from REM sleep to non-REM sleep. The result is tiredness in the morning.
Snoring is a result of the brain defence, so you could normally breathe again. This can also occur ten times per hour, so it’s not surprising that people with sleep apnea and their partners can be very tired during the day.
This sleep disorder occurs because the brain can’t adjust the sleep rhythm. A person with narcolepsy can suddenly fall asleep, even if it is in the middle of a meeting or driving. Usually, REM sleep occurs immediately after narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy is often associated with a disease called cataplexy in which the muscles suddenly relax and weaken so they can no longer support the body. This is most common in people with cataplexy when they feel strong emotions, such as crying and laughter. Narcolepsy is relatively rare. Approximately one person from 2.000 people has it.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome
This syndrome occurs when the person has difficulties to fall asleep in the night, and have difficulty getting up before noon. Although a delayed sleep phase syndrome can affect anyone, it is most common in teenagers and disappears over the years.
Doctors call it somnambulism and it means that a person is performing normal daily activities in a state of unconsciousness. A sleep-walking person may just walk out of the bed or in worst cases do dangerous activities as drive a car.
These activities last differently, from about half a minute to half an hour or more. Such a person usually doesn’t recall his night activities. Sleep-walking is most common in children and can be a sign of lack of sleep. Data show that approximately 15% of people sleep-walk at least once in their lifetime.
Solve Your Sleeping Problem and Live a Quality Life
Why do we sleep at night? Sleep in vital to your health and living a quality life. If you suspect any of mentioned sleep disorders, go to your doctor and discuss your problem. Sleep disorders should be neglected. Each of them can have serious consequences on your health.
Don’t suffer, go to your doctor and he will work with you to solve the problem. Remember, your issue affects on your partner and family also, so don’t neglect it and act now.