And Sleep Disorders
Insomnia? Hypersomnia? Narcolepsy? What are these and how can they be helped?
One of the most important biological functions of our bodies is sleep. Adequate sleep is needed for our body systems to function properly. The lack or absence of good sleep can have severe consequences, and this is precisely why physicians and therapists always recommend that people get good sleep. This seemingly-simple act that most humans enjoy is actually a problem for many. There are several sleep disorders and one of the best known of them all is insomnia.
Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder in which the person cannot sleep easily – such people are called insomniacs. Insomniacs find it very difficult to simply fall asleep or when they are lucky enough to even fall asleep, they find it equally difficult to even remain asleep. Those who are suffering from insomnia have a wide range of symptoms and these include:
– Finding it difficult to fall asleep.
– Having to wake up earlier than usual.
– Waking up several times at night and then finding it problematic to sleep again.
– Having general body weakness when they wake up.
Types of Insomnia
Before talking about the solutions to this type of sleep disorder, it is important to have a better understanding of their nature. By classification, there are two kinds of insomnia. There is the one that is referred to as primary insomnia and there is another one called secondary insomnia.
Primary insomnia is that type of sleep disorder in which the person who is suffering from the condition does not have other health issues but just the sleep issue alone. On the other hand, secondary insomnia (as the name implies) is the type of sleep disorder in which the person suffering has the condition triggered by another health problem. Some of the commonest causes of secondary insomnia include cancers, depression, respiratory diseases and joint disorders. Even the intake of drugs can cause insomnia as one of the many side effects. In some other cases, the consumption of beer, liquor and other forms of alcohol can also be responsible for causing secondary insomnia.
The description above about insomnia depend on the cause. There is another classification of insomnia that does not depend on the cause but on the duration of the condition. Based on this, there are two other types of insomnia: they are called acute and chronic insomnia.
In acute insomnia, the condition does not persist for a long time. It can last for just a day to one or two weeks. But the same cannot be said of chronic insomnia where the condition remains for at least three months or even longer than that in some instances.
The kind of therapy or treatment offered will depend to a great extent on the type of insomnia. For example, in cases where the disorder is acute, the person can get relief by simply adjusting his or her sleep habits. Good sleeping habits include reducing the time spent on devices like computers and phone that emit light while another is sleeping and waking at regular schedules. It is also good to avoid indiscriminate use of drugs. This is because some medications can disrupt sleep patterns. So as far as acute insomnia is concerned, it is always best to take to prevention tips and not engage in things that can trigger this form of sleeplessness.
On the other hand, if the insomnia is chronic, then simply changing habits or adopting certain patterns will not solve the problem. The best way to treat chronic insomnia is to tackle the real cause, some of which were mentioned earlier on. Sometimes, a patient may need combined forms of therapy before he or she can get any form of significant relief.
Even though insomnia seems to dominate the discussion of sleep disorders, it is not the only condition associated with sleep. There are others like sleep apnea (caused by an obstruction of the throat) and restless leg syndrome (as the name suggests, the person cannot stop moving his or her limbs countless times while sleeping). Others include narcolepsy (in this type, the person can just fall asleep at anytime for no apparent reason; it is associated with problems within the brain or even traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and sleepwalking which is more or less self-explanatory.