You try to make all the ends meet to get a good and proper quality of sleep. But, this is where your problem lies, when you have trouble falling asleep. You are not the only soul who is suffering from this problem.
For some people lack of sleep is a chronic issue as most of us have experienced occasional insomnia.
Insomnia can lead to a number of physical and mental health issues as every once in a while probably it will not cause any problems when it is a nightly occurrence.
What can occur with chronic insomnia?
- High blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes have increased vulnerabilities.
- Getting depressed or suffering from anxiety.
- Low performance at job and schools.
- Higher risks of accidents with slow reaction time.
- Gaining weight
- Substance abuse.
- Weakened immune system
- Memory impairment
The functions of the brain while sleeping
It is still a scientific mystery as to what exactly happens during sleep which is so important to our brain. Being sound asleep could put you in mortal danger in certain circumstances.
So the question arises as to why our bodies need to be in that state for this many hours?
To restore and repair the brain, sleep helps is what the studies have shown. What information it took in during the day should be forgotten and what should be remembered is that during the sleep the brain decides in.
While we sleep, our brain is hard at work cleaning house, sweeping away all the waste and litter which accumulates that day including beta-amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease which is the common cause of dementia is what is suggested by a paper which is published in Science last year.
Sleep disorder may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease is what another report which came out this summer shows.
On a large sample of veterans, a sleep study was conducted and found that those with diagnosed sleep disorders such as sleep apnea were 30 percent more likely to suffer dementia than veterans without those problems as per the researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found.
Dementia and Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea is found to be in Ken Capron, who lives in Portland. The right signals to the muscles are not provided by the brain which controls his breathing. He woke up gasping for 51 times an hour during a sleep study. His brain was oxygen deprived each time.
The loss is cumulative and kills his brain cells even if only for a second. Because of something which is obstructing their upper airway, most people with sleep apnea have the obstructive kind which prevents them from breathing and this results in snoring.
However, there are always possible ways to cure snoring and sleep apnea by adopting little changes in your lifestyle.
Ken was diagnosed with dementia which he was told was linked to his sleep apnea about 10 years ago. He stated that he was on a business trip to Long Island and he remembered to bring them but does not remember the trip down and back.
He used to read maps and used to struggle. He had four maps and was trying to figure out where he was heading to as it was really unusual. He also faced trouble in getting words out which he thought was related to a lot of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related people have.
None of the recent studies about the specific role of sleep is conclusive as it is clear that sleep is critical for their physical and mental health while so far.
How much sleep is required?
Children and adolescents need more sleep than the adults according to the National Institutes of Health. Teenagers need nine hours while infants need about 16 hours a day.
Between seven and eight hours a night, older adults need the same amount as the young adults.
Heading to doctor
If it is been going on for a longer than three or four weeks or if you cannot function well during the days it is probably the right time to visit the doctor as sometimes, insomnia is caused by a medical condition.
Simple lifestyle changes can affect your sleep
Harvard Medical School recommends these simple lifestyle changes if there is no underlying medical cause.
- Eating light dinner. Heartburn can be caused because of a heavy meal. So you need to avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol and chocolate.
- 30 minutes before going to bed turn off the TV and all electronic devices. Take a warm bath or listen to soft music and read a book.
- Get your bedroom ready for sleep. Make sure that the temperature is cool and comfortable and cover your alarm clock so that you cannot see the time if you wake up in the middle of the night as you need to dim the lights and close the curtains before going to bed.
- Before bed go to the washroom.
- Going to bed at the same time every night. Leave the bedroom if you cannot fall asleep in 15 minutes, read a book for 20 minutes or until you get sleepy and sit somewhere quiet. Then get back to bed.
- Even on the weekends, try getting up at the same time every morning.
- Drink a decaf or limit yourself to just one cup of caffeinated coffee at the breakfast. Until the bedtime, too much caffeine in the morning can stay with you. So, if you are used to drinking several cups of coffee a day, wear yourself off it gradually over a few weeks.
- Walk 30 minutes each day. You can sleep better as both exercise and morning sunlight can help you sleep better.