We cannot stress enough on the importance of a good night’s sleep. Quality sleep not only keeps the immune system healthy, it also regulates hormones such as ghrelin and leptin that help balance appetite. Experts advice that an adult should sleep for at least 7-9 hrs on an average, and that if one does not get enough sleep, sleeps at an incorrect time or in breaks, they need to consult a specialist to rule out any sleep disorder.
“The body’s blood pressure regulates itself through adequate sleep. It is also essential in promoting heart health, muscle repair, cognitive consolidation and limits the onset of sleep disorders. Due to our current lifestyles, we might face trouble sleeping at night and we tend to ignore the signs until the problem escalates,” explains Dr Rima Chaudhari, Consultant Neurologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.
Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that affect the aptitude to sleep well on a regular basis. It is a common problem these days that coincides with a simple headache and day-to-day stress. When a patient walks in for a headache problem, which is a common neurological disorder, 60-70 per cent of the times it is related to disrupted sleep, she shares.
Insomnia is known to be the most common sleep disorder; however, there are other forms of sleep disorders that you should know about, as suggested by Dr Chaudhari.
This is a serious sleep disorder where breathing frequently stops and starts again, causing the oxygen level in the blood to drop. It may therefore hamper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body. Our body senses this occurrence and disrupts one’s sleep, to ensure that the individual breathes again. Common symptoms of sleep apnea are snoring, wheezing for air, and waking up with a dry mouth.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless Legs Syndrome is a neurological disorder where a person gets an urge to move their legs constantly. People with this condition experience discomfort or twitchiness (ache or burning) in the legs after going to sleep. As it typically disturbs sleep, it is considered as a sleep disorder.
Sleep paralysis is a disorder where a person is unable to move or speak when waking up and falling asleep. A person may also tend to hallucinate in this case. Patients experience a certain pressure and instant fear, as they have a feeling of being conscious but are unable to move.
Circadian Rhythm Disorder
This is a type of disorder which usually happens when a person’s internal biological clock is not in sync with external time cues. This sleeping pattern is usually hindered by two or more hours, especially when a person goes to sleep later at night or sleeps later in the morning. This is reported commonly among those who work night shifts, experience repetitive jet lag, or having an irregular sleep cycle.
Insomnia is a very common type of sleep disorder in which people have trouble falling and or staying asleep. They tend to sleep during the daytime, and are constantly low on energy or irritable.
Tips to get better sleep at night
* Maintain good sleep hygiene and set a bedtime schedule.
* Reduce coffee intake in the evenings and at night.
* Decrease screen time, especially for a few hours before bed time.
* Exercise regularly.
* Avoid afternoon or early evening naps if you have trouble sleeping at night.
* Take a relaxing hot bath or shower before getting into bed.
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