SLEEP DEPRIVATION

Insomnia and
Sleep Disorders

Sleep deprivation happens when you don’t get enough sleep or have poor sleep quality. When we sleep poorly, slowed thinking and fatigue can result in anxious moods throughout the night. Sleep is a critical factor in a person’s mental health, and sleep deprivation can increase the risk of physical or mental illnesses.

Is sleep deprivation
different from insomnia?

Although insomnia is caused by not getting the correct amount of sleep, many scientists have distinguished between sleep deprivation and insomnia as they have been studied. People who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

People deprived of sleep often have less time in the evening due to behavior choices. An example of such differences is that people who feel tired during a busy workday after not getting enough sleep usually do not experience difficulty sleeping during the weekend to catch up. However, someone who suffers from insomnia usually can’t sleep due to a clinical or mental health condition.

How Much Sleep Do Most People Need?

Adults require around 7 - 9 hours of sleep a night, but the amount of sleep necessary for you to work well can vary from person to person. The quality of your sleep is the main thing that counts.

Causes of
Chronic Insomnia

Multiple factors can affect sleep quality. Lifestyle habits, work commitments, and a poor sleeping schedule are the most common. But often, other mental health conditions and even substance use disorders can contribute to sleep problems.

Common behavioral causes of chronic insomnia include:

Stress

Work, school, health, money, or family difficulties may keep your thoughts active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss, can also cause sleeplessness.

Travel or work schedule

The function of your internal clock is to maintain a 24-hour cycle, which controls such activities as sleep-wake cycles, metabolism, and body temperature. Insomnia can be caused by disrupting your body’s circadian rhythms. Jet lag from traveling across multiple time zones, operating a late or early shift, or changing shifts might all contribute to this problem.

Poor Sleep Hygiene

There are many bad sleep habits, such as having an irregular bedtime schedule, napping, doing stimulating activities before bed, and using your bed for work or watching TV. Using screens like computers, TVs, smartphones, or video games can disrupt your sleep cycle when you use them close to bedtime.

Overeating Late in the Evening

A light meal before bedtime is acceptable, but overeating may make you feel physically uncomfortable when you lie down. Although heartburn, or backflow of acid and food from the stomach into the esophagus, is common after eating, it can keep you up.

 

Additional common medical causes of insomnia include:

 

Mental Health Disorders

Insomnia is frequently coupled with various mental illnesses. Post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders can cause sleeplessness. Depression can be signaled by chronically waking up before your intention.

Medications

Prescription drugs such as antidepressants and asthma medications can make sleeping harder. Many over-the-counter options like weight loss products and cold medicine can also contribute as they often contain stimulants that make it challenging to rest.

Medical Monditions

These are some of the chronic conditions linked with insomnia: pain, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), overactive thyroid glandular disorder, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and other Sleep-related disorders

Sleep apnea disrupts sleep by causing you to stop breathing periodically throughout the night. Restless legs syndrome causes unpleasant sensations in your legs and an almost irresistible desire to move them, which may prevent you from falling asleep.

Caffeine, Nicotine, or Substance Abuse

Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and cola are stimulating and can keep you up at night if consumed late afternoon or evening. Similarly, the nicotine from tobacco products is also a stimulant that interferes with sleep. While alcohol may help induce sleep initially, it disrupts deeper stages of sleep and often leads to middle-of-the-night awakenings.

Insomnia in Children
and Teens

Children and teenagers may also have difficulty sleeping, but for some, it’s simply because their internal clocks are delayed. They want to stay up later at night and sleep in later in the morning.

Insomnia and
aging

Insomnia becomes more common with age. As you get older, you may experience:

Changes in sleep patterns

When you get older, sleeping gets less restful, so noises or other changes in your surroundings are more likely to wake you up. Your internal clock frequently advances as you age, so you become tired earlier in the evening and rise earlier in the morning. However, older individuals still require the same amount of sleep as younger ones.

Changes in activity

If you are less active, it may be harder to sleep at night. Additionally, napping during the day can make sleeping more difficult when nighttime comes.

Changes in Physical and Mental Health

Sleep problems can include chronic pain from diseases such as arthritis or back discomfort, as well as depression or anxiety. Sleep deprivation caused by difficulties that necessitate urination during the night, such as prostate or bladder issues, may affect sleep. With age, sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome also become more prevalent.

More medications

Older people tend to take more prescription medicines than younger ones, raising the risk of side effects, including sleeplessness.

Diagnosis of
Chronic Insomnia Disorder

Doctors often can assess patients sleeping problems by reviewing their symptoms and sleep patterns, and the patient’s medical history. This could mean a review of a sleep diary or taking a sleep questionnaire. In many situations, doctors can perform additional tests with sleep tracking technologies called actigraphy or an overnight sleep study to diagnose an underlying sleep disorder.

What Are the Consequences of
Chronic Sleep Deprivation?

A sleep disorder can have severe consequences. Sleep-deprived people have an increased chance of being involved in accidents due to being inattentive and clumsy. Drowsy driving can lead to fatal accidents and cause serious repercussions. A person with a sleep disorder is prone to struggle in school or workplace settings and may have mood changes affecting their relationships. Chronic sleeping disorders can cause many health problems.

Insomnia
Symptoms

The primary signs and symptoms of insomnia and other sleep disorders include excess morning restlessness and fatigue, reduced attention, slow thinking, and mood changes. The feeling that exhaustion throughout the day may signal a sleep disorder, and sometimes there can even be an occurrence of microsleep (when people doze off for just seconds at a time).

Treatment at an
Insomnia Treatment Center

The best way to treat your sleep problems is to consult a physician. Depending on the severity of an illness, your doctor can determine what treatment best fits your needs. Generally speaking, focusing on sleep hygiene is a vital component of preventing or treating sleep deprivation.

For hospitalization a patient’s sleep patterns should be assessed by their physician for a diagnosis if there has been a new problem, continuation, or exacerbation. The assessment of insomnia can involve questionnaires, direct observation, and formal sleep studies like polysomnography. If patients have insomnia or sleep apnea symptoms, they should be sent for treatment by the sleep specialist.

How is insomnia managed or treated?

Short-term insomnia often resolves on its own. For chronic insomnia, your healthcare provider will likely recommend:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is a short intervention program that helps identify and eliminate negative thoughts and behaviors surrounding sleep. It is unlike most sleeping pills on the market as it targets the root cause of your inability to sleep soundly.

Sleep Medicine

The best way to improve your sleep over the long term is by changing your behavior and lifestyle. Doctors usually only recommend taking sleep medication occasionally or for a limited time because it is not meant to be a permanent solution for chronic insomnia. However, there are times when taking sleeping pills can help you get some rest.

Prevention

Good sleep habits can help prevent insomnia and promote sound sleep:

  • Keeping your bedtime and wake time consistent from day to day, including weekends, is important
  • Varying your routine on weekends will only make things more difficult for you
  • Avoid naps or limit them as much as possible
  • Examine your prescription drugs to see if they might be causing sleeplessness
  • Before going to sleep, avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol, as well as smoking cigarettes
  • It would be best if you avoid large meals and beverages before bedtime
  • Make your bedroom a comfortable place for rest and sex alone. Only use this room for sleeping and intimacy
  • Develop a relaxing nighttime ritual such as taking a warm bath, reading, or listening to soothing music

Make The Most of The Day

Increasing your exposure during the daytime helps your circadian rhythm keep you awake in the day and sleep at night. Proper exercise can help maintain sleep schedules, so try and exercise moderately every day for the rest of the day. Eric SUMI was previously an information consultant at the National Cancer Center.

Make Sleep Quality a Priority

Chronic insomnia is often caused by napping during the day, working late, or pursuing other late-night activities. A consistent bedtime schedule can help keep you asleep each night.

 

Get Help for your
Sleep Disorder

Don’t hesitate to contact a healthcare professional if you have trouble sleeping. At Psyclarity Health, we have various treatment options to help you deal with sleep problems.

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