The Risks of Sleep Problems: What You Need to Know

Sleep is essential for our physical and mental health, yet many of us don't get enough of it. Chronic lack of sleep can increase the risk of developing serious health conditions such as dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even certain types of cancer. It can also affect your ability to function in everyday tasks such as working or driving. Sleep disorders can have a major impact on your quality of life, affecting your thinking, school or work performance, and physical and mental health. Common sleep disorders can prevent you from getting the deep, restorative sleep you need to function at your best.

If you're having trouble sleeping, don't hesitate to seek help from a healthcare professional. Your health and quality of life depend on getting a good night's sleep. Adopting good sleep hygiene practices and following your healthcare provider's instructions can help you feel better quickly. Sleep disorders are classified into primary parasomnias, which occur mainly during sleep, and secondary parasomnias, which are complications associated with organ system disorders that occur during sleep. Symptoms include daytime fatigue and sleepiness, poor sleep quality, delayed sleep onset, and decreased cognitive and motor performance.

Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or having a short duration of sleep despite having an adequate opportunity to sleep through the night. Episodic interruptions in breathing can also cause cortical and brainstem excitation, disrupting sleep continuity, reducing sleep time, and increasing activation of the sympathetic nervous system. There are many possible causes of sleep deprivation ranging from natural body changes as people age to an undiagnosed medical condition or sleep disorder. Even if a person sleeps the right amount of hours, they may still be sleepless if their quality of sleep is reduced due to frequent waking up at night. The amount of sleep you need may vary from person to person but experts recommend that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. The most effective treatment for sleep deprivation is to get more sleep or take a short nap that lasts no more than two hours.

A sleep specialist is a highly trained healthcare professional who specializes in how sleep affects the body. The second subtype of idiopathic hypersomnia is idiopathic hypersomnia without extended periods of sleep which is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and short average sleep latency when taking the MSLT. Shift work disorder is another type of circadian rhythm disorder which is caused by symptoms of insomnia or excessive sleepiness due to working during normal sleeping hours including the night. Structures that regulate sleep and wakefulness such as the brain stem, hypothalamus, and basal forebrain are abnormally overactive during sleep in patients with primary insomnia. Not all types of sleep disorders can be prevented but you can reduce your risk by adopting good sleeping habits (sleep hygiene). Research has shown that both sleep deprivation and sleep disorders have profound effects on human health. A specific strategy to improve the quality of a person's sleep is to promote adequate sleep hygiene.

After decades of research it can be safely stated that good sleep hygiene is essential for optimal health.