Circadian-rhythm-sleep-disorders-can-lead-to-brain-problems

Sleep: “A condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.” – New Oxford American Dictionary

We, as humans, acquire our energy primarily through sleep. Why do we need to sleep though? On another note, what happens if we don’t get a sufficient amount of sleep? Whether it be due to insomnia or self-inflicted sleep deprivation or sleep apnea, this results in the impairment of brain functions or impaired concentration and thinking amongst other indicators or side effects. Another side effect, as a result of exhaustion, could be struggling to stay awake or alert. Consequently, one’s head might begin to bob or jerk like that of a hypnagogic/hypnic jerk, which typically occurs whilst asleep and rouses one from their slumber. There are a handful of sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea (ties in with snoring). Other issues linked to sleep include cataplexy and narcolepsy.

indexOne of the most common sleep disorders that plagues a bunch of individuals worldwide is insomnia. Essentially, insomnia is the inability to sleep. Insomnia can be brought about by several different factors, such as pain, stress, fear, anxiety, an overactive brain (thinking), excess caffeine consumption, and noise amongst others. There are two forms of insomnia; acute and chronic. Each form or type has a set time period linked to it to determine the type, seeing as insomnia varies from person to person or from one bout of insomnia to the other in one individual. Acute insomnia typically lasts less than a month. Meanwhile, chronic insomnia is consistently not being able to sleep for longer than a month. For some, they may not be able to sleep altogether or they may not be able to sleep through the entire night. Said individuals are often unable to go back to sleep after having woken up.

Sleep apnea is when one’s breathing temporarily ceases or pauses whilst asleep. Sleep apnea can also be when one takes shallow breaths whilst asleep. There are three types of sleep apnea; central, obstructive, and complex sleep apnea, which is comprised of both central and obstructive sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is when one undergoes anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds of not breathing whilst asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is when the upper airways or the pathways are, as the name suggests, obstructed. This often is accompanied or results in snoring. Sleep apnea, in general, is associated with snoring, which is often due to sleep deprivation or blocked airways. When one snores, it might occur spontaneously or suddenly and then, the little bit of air that has passed through the obstructed airway halts or can no longer allow any air to pass once the snoring ceases. Snoring is the attempt to regain air or to breathe again. It’s the response to not breathing for an extended period of time, which has been triggered by brain signals. Sleep apnea, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association, can potentially be life-threatening.

Insomnia and sleep apnea both resemble or are somewhat linked to sleep deprivation or bad sleeping habits, even though sleep apnea is the end result of sleep deprivation in some cases whilst insomnia results in sleep deprivation. Nowadays, sleep deprivation is becoming more and more prevalent or commonplace amongst teenagers due to an array of reasons, but the primary reason is taxing or tedious workloads.

More individuals should be putting their health above anything else, such as work, that may be contributing to their deteriorating health. School work matters, yes, and it should be done, but how is one to go about doing any sort of work, regardless of the simplicity of the task, efficiently if they are not in the right mind to do so, and if no attempts at ameliorating their state is being made? A possibly helpful tip for students after having had a tedious day at school and are feeling rather drowsy could be to take a nap once they get home and then proceed to do their work.

 

By: Maya Abou El Nasr

 

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/insomnia-symptoms-and-causes

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea

http://www.sleepapnea.org/ [PSA]