The Effects of Sleep Disorders on Health

Sleep disorders can have a serious impact on your health, leading to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and poor mental health. A sleep specialist is a highly trained health professional who specializes in how sleep affects the body. After decades of research, it is clear that sleep deprivation and sleep disorders can have far-reaching consequences for human wellbeing. The most effective treatment for sleep loss is to get more sleep or take a short nap of no more than two hours. The term 'sleep disorder' refers to conditions that affect the quality, time, or duration of sleep and impair a person's ability to function while awake.

Generally speaking, adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night. A healthcare provider will analyze the data from a sleep study to determine if you have a sleep disorder. Structures in the brain that regulate sleep and wakefulness, such as the brain stem, hypothalamus, and basal forebrain, are abnormally active during sleep in people with primary insomnia. Cataplexy and other abnormal symptoms of REM sleep, such as sleep paralysis and hallucinations, are often treated with tricyclic antidepressants or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. Common sleep disorders can prevent you from getting the deep, restful sleep you need to function at your best. These include daytime fatigue and sleepiness, poor sleep quality, delayed sleep onset, and decreased cognitive and motor performance.

A study measured sleep loss using a single question about the duration of sleep on school nights and measured depressive symptoms and self-esteem using the Childhood Depression Inventory and the Self-Esteem Questionnaire respectively. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep despite wanting to sleep and having enough time to do so. Modafinil is the only drug approved by the FDA to treat shift work disorder-related sleep loss, although it is not approved for general sleep loss. As HIV infection progresses into AIDS, people experience greater sleep fragmentation, a significant reduction in slow wave sleep syndrome, and an alteration of the entire sleep structure. Behavioral approaches developed for insomnia may also be useful for treating general sleep loss, but no formal studies have been conducted specifically on this topic.