Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Health Care and Better Sleep

How many nights have you tossed and turned, and you just couldn’t sleep well? Or even worse, you have a chronic sleep disorder that prevents you from sleeping without interruption or ability to rest comfortably for just a few hours. Some of that sleep deprivation may be due to issues in your home that are temporary, such as a new baby that requires attention during the night, or perhaps you are sick and need to take medication on a regular schedule at night. Maybe, you have a spouse that snores so loud that you think the roof is collapsing. Or, it could be a more critical reason.

Whatever the reason for your inability to sleep well at night, the health of your body, your spirit, and your mind is too important to ignore issues or patterns that prohibit restful, uninterrupted sleep. Lack of sleep can be dangerous to you mentally and physically to the point that your life and lifestyle can be severely affected. And, your ability to perform simple tasks, not to mention multiple and more complex situations, can be jeopardized.

According to the American Psychological Association, “Sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Yet millions of people do not get enough sleep and many suffer from lack of sleep. For example, surveys conducted by the NSF (1999-2004) reveal that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. Most of those with these problems go undiagnosed and untreated. In addition, more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month - with 20 percent reporting problem sleepiness a few days a week or more. Furthermore, 69 percent of children experience one or more sleep problems a few nights or more during a week.” More detailed material on this subject can be found at this site: http://www.apa.org/topics/sleep/why.aspx .

“When you’re scrambling to meet the demands of modern life, cutting back on sleep can seem like the only answer”, according to HelpGuide.org. “Who can afford to spend so much time sleeping? The truth is you can’t afford not to. Even minimal sleep loss takes a toll on your mood, energy, and ability to handle stress. Learn how to determine your nightly sleep needs and what you can do to bounce back from chronic sleep loss and get on a healthy sleep schedule.

It’s not just the number of hours in bed that is important—it’s the quality of those hours of sleep. If you’re giving yourself plenty of time for sleep, but you’re still having trouble waking up in the morning or staying alert all day, you may not be spending enough time in the different stages of sleep—especially deep sleep and REM sleep. By understanding how the sleep cycles work and the factors that can lead to those cycles being disrupted, you’ll be able to start getting both the quantity and the quality of sleep you need.” Sleep is so important that lack of it to any significant amount is detrimental to you. Much more information can be found at this site: http://www.helpguide.org/life/sleeping.htm .

You may suffer from a sleep disorder. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “insomnia, which is Latin for "no sleep," is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. Insomnia is also used to describe the condition of waking up not feeling restored or refreshed. According to Dr. Mark Mahowald, Professor of Neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center at Hennepin County Medical Center, insomnia refers to the inability to get the amount of sleep you as an individual need to wake up feeling rested. Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint among Americans. It can be either acute, lasting one to several nights, or chronic, even lasting months to years. When insomnia persists for longer than a month, it is considered chronic.” Much more material can be found at this website: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-related-problems/insomnia-and-sleep .

Also, according to iVillage Health, whether you have chronic insomnia or the occasional bout of sleeplessness, these ten secrets will help you can the rest you need. Read more at http://www.ivillage.com/surprising-ways-get-better-night-s-sleep/4-b-485174#ixzz26pN0LJIv .

“Different people need different environments for sleeping and if there is any change in their sleeping environment, they are unable to have a good night sleep. There are people who do not find any comfort in soft beds. It is advisable for those people that they should think about getting hard surfaced beds because it is good for the back, as well as the spine. The hard beds support the entire body and relax it throughout,” according to information about sleep problems found at this website: http://www.soundsleeping.org/ .

You may feel tired, fatigued, and have trouble concentrating and paying attention while awake when you don’t sleep well. Sleepy individuals are at greater risk for driving and other accidents, according to WebMD. If you have trouble getting to sleep or sleeping through the night, if you wake up too early or have a hard time waking up at all, or if you are overly tired during the day, you may have one or more of specific sleep problems. Much more info can be found at their site: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/understanding-sleep-problems-basics .

Regardless of the reasons you are having difficulty having a good night’s rest, or sound sleep for several hours at a time, it is a good idea to see your family doctor if the problem persists. Your physician may be able to help diagnose lifestyle or health issues specific to your situation, and you may be referred to a sleep specialist to help you. If you are suffering from insomnia, or any other chronic sleep disorder, seek professional medical help. Your situation may be temporary due to lifestyle choices; but if your inability to get good sleep persists, don’t ignore the problem.

Until next time.

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