Dec 5, 2010

Understanding Sleep Disorder

Many people nowadays are afflicted with sleep disorder.  Among them are celebrities. In fact, they are more susceptible because of the pressure and rigorous schedule they are dealing with in their daily lives. Some famous people who are known to have suffered from sleep disorder are Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill,  Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher, Charles Dickens, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe and many more.  Michael Jackson made headlines around the world in 2009 due to his untimely death which came as a consequence of overmedication with sleep-inducing drugs. He was an insomniac. Many of the celebrities mentioned above had sleep disorder coupled with bouts of depression.

The benefits of deep, relaxing sleep every night are universally accepted. People are able to function physically and mentally more effectively and productively. There are people who sleep very little because of the demand of their work. In doing so they disregard the potential damage they are doing to their body. Insufficient sleep in the long run takes its toll on one’s health.

Contrary to popular belief, older adults do not need to sleep less as they age. Like young people, they require between seven and nine hours of sleep nightly.  However, it is the pattern of sleep that tend to change with age. Older adults spend less time in deep (slow-wave) sleep and more time in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, which causes the frequent waking throughout the night. Our internal clock also changes, causing us to wake earlier in the morning and feel more tired in the evening.

There are many causes of sleep deprivation. The stresses of daily life may intrude upon our ability to sleep well. We might also be trading sleep for more work or play. There could also be pre-existing medical conditions that could be disrupting sleep.  However, it is critically important to realize that sleep deprivation is often due to unrecognized sleep disorders.

There are short and long-term consequences of sleep deprivation.  Included in the short term-effects are decreased performance and alertness, memory and cognitive impairment, stress relationships, poor quality of life, occupational and automobile injuries.  Sleep disorder increases the risk of serious and chronic health conditions, including depression, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity. It also weakens the immune system. Based on research, the number of white blood cells decreases, leaving the body unarmed against infection. People who sleep less than four hours per night are three times more likely to die within the next six years.

To be continued…


BudmanB said...

I like your blog, you are very informative...
you have a woderful family, Happy Holidays...
need some more seem:-)

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