Sleep is a behavior universally found in all animal species. In terms of length, sleep occurs in about one third of the average human life. It is important not only because it energizes the body but also because sleep disorders may have underlying medical or psychiatric bases.
Symptoms and Types
Sleep disorders can be classified into different types. Each type has a typical set of symptoms.
Insomnia pertains to the difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep. Insomnia is said to be the most common sleep disorder and may be temporary or persistent. Most cases of transient insomnia occur after a recent stressful event such as loss of a loved one or a recent move. On the other hand, persistent insomnia is not related to a specific stressor and is often described as difficulty falling sleep.
Another sleep disorder is called hypersomnia. It can refer to excessive hours of sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness or somnolence, or both. A person with transient situational hypersomnia experiences excessive difficulty in remaining awake, accompanied by a tendency to remain in bed for exaggerated periods or the need to nap frequently during daytime. It is often associated with an identifiable recent stressful event, personal conflict, or loss.
The third type of sleep disorder is called parasomnia. It is characterized by a disturbance in the sleep-wake schedule. People with this type of sleep disturbance often complain that they cannot sleep when they wish to sleep but are able to sleep at other times.
Diagnosis and Tests
The diagnosis of sleep disorders involves a good clinical history and physical examination, a sleep history questionnaire, and a polysomnogram. A good clinical history and physical examination can help rule out medical conditions such as central nervous system disorders, infectious diseases, hormonal problems, endocrinologic causes, and substance use.
A polysomnogram is considered the gold standard for diagnosing sleep disorders. It involves an overnight stay in a sleep center, where various physiologic sleep parameters are measured.
Other tests that may be of value include an overnight oximetry, multiple sleep latency testing (MSLT) and sleep diary. Overnight oximetry measures both oxygen levels and heart rate during sleep. MSLT or a nap study involves scheduled napping and helps identify somnolence. A sleep diary, also called a sleep log, can help assess sleep-wake or circadian rhythm disturbances.
Treatment and Care
The treatment of sleep disorders depend on the cause. For primary insomnia or insomnia not caused by any other underlying physical or mental illness, the patient may be treated with benzodiazepines such as Diazepam or hypnotics such Zolpidem. For primary hypersomnia, treatment involves stimulants such as amphetamines.
For obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) wherein there is a functional obstruction of the upper airway during sleep, treatment involves a special device called nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) which addresses the obstruction. If there are underlying causes, these need to be addressed first in order for the sleep disturbance to resolve. For instance, people with depression often regain good sleep when their depression is properly treated.
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Insomnia is classified as a loss of sleep, poor sleep quality, or restlessness. People who suffer from this condition can have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night.
Some insomnia sufferers will have nocturnal tendencies, meaning they can sleep well during the day but are unable to sleep effectively during the night. Typically, insomnia is not a condition in and of itself, but a symptom or effect of an underlying disease or condition. This is why insomnia treatment is very important.
Sleep is what allows your body to rest and get the energy back that it has expended throughout the day. Your body and mind can easily become tired, poorly functioning, and unhealthy without the right amount of sleep.
Mental and physical illness can result from insomnia that goes on undiagnosed for too long, and this condition can affect anyone.
Those who are older will have a higher susceptibility to insomnia but it can affect people of all ages. There are two main types of insomnia that people typically face:
Sleep onset insomnia: being unable to fall asleep
Sleep maintenance insomnia: inability of staying asleep
Some people can suffer from both types of insomnia, leading to chronic health problems from an ongoing sleep deficit. Everyone is different and will likely experience different levels of insomnia, including the duration and severity of their sleeping troubles.
The four groups of insomnia include:
Temporary insomnia, lasting from a day to a few weeks. This usually has a known cause of interruption to your body clock.
Short term insomnia, which can last for a couple of weeks or more. This insomnia also has a known cause, such as stress, and will get better once the cause is relieved.
Intermittent insomnia is the most troubling because it is so vague and unpredictable. This sleep problem varies greatly in terms of duration, number of episode, and cause.
Chronic insomnia has an indefinite duration, may not have a known cause, and takes place every night or almost every night. It causes the most strain on the body and can lead to serious health problems.back to top
Learning about insomnia often surprises many people. Here are some interesting statistics regarding insomnia and sleep issues:
- Billions of people around the world suffer from insomnia, including more than 100 million in the U.S. alone.
- 25% of the worldwide elderly population suffers from insomnia. For the general population, it’s about 15%.
- There are about 49% of people globally who have reported short periods of sleep troubles.
- Americans alone lose $50 billion in productivity that is lost due to insomnia and other sleep disorders that go untreated.
This is serious business, and something that you need to take care of as soon as possible. Giving yourself the chance to be in optimal health, mentally and physically, is something that everyone deserves. If you don’t take care of something like insomnia sooner than later, chronic illness and serious health issues can result.back to top
There are dozens of different factors that affect insomnia. Some causes are physical, but most are psychological or emotional. The #1 cause of insomnia is stress, and in today’s hectic world there is more than enough of that going around to cause serious health issues and sleep disorders.
Other causes of insomnia that people may find include:
- Biological factors, such as age
- Lifestyle, including work schedules, medications, drugs and alcohol, and caffeine consumption
- Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety
- Chronic illnesses like respiratory disease, heart disease, or other conditions that result in physical discomfort or psychological anxiety or stress
Psycho-physiologic insomnia is increasingly popular, as well. This is merely the inability to sleep because of the worry of insomnia. Basically, if you think about sleeping too much, you won’t be able to do it, causing insomnia.back to top
There are many myths out there regarding insomnia that people don’t realize aren’t true. In order to help you better understand this health condition and how it can affect your life, here are some common myths and the truths that go with them:
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- Myth: Sleeping pills are the solution.
- Truth: In many cases, sleeping pills actually put insomniacs at a higher risk of death due to their condition. Sleeping pills are neither safe nor effective in the case of true insomnia. Typically, a person with a legitimate sleep disorder would need excessive amounts of a sleep aid in order for it to be effective. As such, it is simply not safe and is not an answer for treating or curing insomnia.
- Myth: Older people need less sleep.
- Truth: All adults, regardless of age, are suggested to get 7-9 hours of sleep every single night. It doesn’t matter whether someone is 20 or 70 because this is still true. It seems that most older people do see a change in their sleep patterns over time and they sleep less often, but it isn’t out of a lack of need. The body still needs rest and you should give it as much as you can.
- Myth: ‘I’ll just take a nap’.
- Truth: Naps are more trouble than they are usually worth. Unless you sleep for less than 30 minutes or more than 4 hours, your body will usually feel more disturbed than rested after a nap. This is because after the first 30 minutes, your body starts to go into deep sleep and needs to complete the entire process without being disturbed. However, if you wake up after an hour or two, you are disturbing the deepest levels of sleep and will feel much worse than you did before the nap.
- Myth: Falling asleep happens gradually.
- Truth: For insomniacs and other people who can’t sleep well, the existence is usually somewhere in between the awake and asleep state. For the normal, average human being, asleep and awake are ends of a light switch. One minute you’re awake, the next you’re asleep. If you had access to sleep machines, you could see the clear changes in the brain when the switch is flipped.
Diagnosing insomnia is a fairly simple process. Of course, it does take more than you telling your doctor that you can’t sleep or that you have been having difficulty sleeping for ‘x’ amount of time.
Once the doctor knows about your sleep issues, you will typically be subjected to questions, testing, and other methods of diagnosing exactly what sleeping issues you have and why you have them.
Often, doctors will tell people to keep a sleep diary for a couple of weeks to track patterns. They might also check for mental health issues and refer you to a specialist in the event that they feel the culprit is your mental health. Finally, if your doctor thinks you have a serious disorder, sleep studies could be schedules.
Sleep studies are not designed for insomnia symptoms caused by chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or mental disorders.
They are intended more to help diagnose insomnia caused by breathing issues or limb movement disorders when other treatments have been ineffective or they want to get the entire picture before choosing a treatment method.
You have to know the cause of your insomnia and that you actually have insomnia before it can be treated correctly, after all.back to top
Treatment for insomnia varies significantly from one case to the next. Sleeping pills are one of the most conventional treatments out there, but also one of the most dangerous for many reasons.
Treating a sleep disorder that is a symptom of something greater is dangerous because it can leave the actual condition untreated and cause more severe symptoms or even death if not properly handled.
The most common sleep aids prescribed include:
It is very important for people to discuss their insomnia with their doctor and determine that their sleep disorder can be properly addressed with these medications before taking them.
Many of these drugs are lethal in large doses and cause serious side effects that are worse than the insomnia that is being treated.
Some of these medications can even deplete the body’s natural vitamins and minerals and interfere with the function of vitamins and minerals in the body, which can cause overall health issues. Many of these medications are also highly addictive.
Common side effects that you can experience while taking these medications include:
- Slower reaction times
- Poor coordination
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Stomach upset
- Vision trouble
- Skin irritation
- Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
- Loss of sexual desire
- General ill feeling
- Possible damage to the heart
As you can see, the risks of these medications can often outweigh the benefits, which is why prevention is always going to be the best solution for insomnia for optimal overall health.back to top
Natural remedies for insomnia are always the best solution. In addition to a healthy diet and moderate exercise, the right vitamins and nutrients can help improve your sleep patterns and the quality of sleep that you get.
Your body needs to be balanced in order to be in optimal health, including having healthy, restful sleep. There are many different natural substances that can offer sleep improvement without the dangerous addictive nature or side effects of prescription medications.
Some of these substances include:
- Choline Bitartrate
- Valerian Extract
- Passion Flower
- D-Phenylalanine (DPA)
- Phosphatidlyl Choline
These are just a few of the natural substances that can help to aid in relaxation and sleep that you can find in supplements from Maxalife.
These ingredients are usually combined together to create a more healthful, beneficial effect for people so that the body can restore its balance and become healthier in sleep and in all areas of functioning.
At Maxalife, we have committed ourselves to creating the best possible combinations for health improvement of all kinds, including to aid in insomnia and other sleep disturbances and get the body’s internal clock back on track.back to top
At Maxalife, we understand that good sleep helps with good health. That’s why we have created specific products that will help you relax, unwind, and enjoy a more restful sleep at the end of the day.
Try the following supplements to help you with your insomnia and other sleep issues:
When you find the right balance of supplements to help improve your diet, you will always see results. Take the time to check out our full selection of supplements for improved energy, heart health, brain health, and overall health and wellbeing so that you can have the healthy, happy life that you deserve.back to top