Almost a third of his life a human being spends its time sleeping. The body needs a regular rest in the night. After 48 hours without sleep the concentration starts to fade and even the simplest of things are only performed with difficulties. However, this vital basic need of the human body is often underestimated. Sleep disorders are often not taken seriously and dismissed as trivial complaints. Disturbed sleep has serious health consequences, such as cardiovascular problems, headaches, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system and reduced mental capacity. In addition, fatigue is a major cause of accidents. Consequently, you should make sure to get enough sleep regularly and visit your doctor in case signs of sleeping disorders are experienced.
The conditions for sleep wellbeing
The average American sleeps about seven hours a night. However, the need for sleep varies. Some people only need five hours of sleep, while others feel only recovered after ten hours. It is important that the external conditions allow undisturbed sleep. Besides a peaceful environment, darkened rooms and adequate couches, other conditions are necessary as well. In addition, you should listen to your inner clock, which sets the optimal sleeping period. For most people, this is the period between 23:00 and 07:00 o’ clock.
Causes and types of sleeping disorders
More than ten percent of the population suffers from sleep disorders and requires treatment. Even if there is not just one definition one can divide sleep disorders into four broad groups: insomnia (difficulty falling and staying asleep), hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness), disorders of the sleep-wake cycle (e.g. by jet lag or shift work) and parasomnia. The latter form can occur as sleep disorders such as sleepwalking, nightmares or teeth grinding. The reasons for insomnia are as diverse as the diseases. So, emotional problem, as well as irregular bedtimes and heavy food could be the cause(s); plus overstimulation by watching television too long or hard work, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption and poor sleeping conditions (e.g. noise, bad air) are factors that contribute to sleeping disorder(s). Other reasons can be psychological disorders (e.g. depression), physical disorders and related pain, side effects of drugs and the abuse of sleeping pills. In addition to fight the disease symptoms, it is essential for the treatment to discover the causes.
Treatment & how to avoid sleeping disorders
In case of serious and persistent sleep disorders, we recommend that you consult a doctor. Self-treatment – in particularly with sleeping pills – is strongly discouraged. However, everyone can do something to counteract falling and staying asleep. A regular daily routine with regular meals helps the body to be better prepared for the sleeping cycle. Sports activities should not be exercised in the late evenings and not too extensively. When falling asleep one should avoid napping, caffeine drinks and late, heavy meals. Alcohol is not recommended as a remedy for sleep problems. After drinking alcohol one tends to fall asleep rapidly, but the sleep is less restful. In addition, you usually wake up again much sooner. However, walks, quiet music and conversations before going to bed help the body to relax. Those who cannot fall asleep because they fear not being able to meet the following day’s tasks should simply write them down every night. An overview of the tasks creates clarity and prevents stress that might interrupt the sleeping cycle. Many people may sleep poorly because they have cold feet. In this case cold-warm foot baths or showers are recommended which will stimulate the blood circulation and thus lead to warmer feet. With the causes and the treatment of sleeping disorders in mind, you should be able to set the conditions for your ideal sleep wellbeing.