Why Sleep is Important
Sleep is a natural form of rest observed in many living things. For this reason, living things need sleep in order to perform their physical and mental functions during the day. For this reason, the importance of sleep affects us from our behavior during the day to our psychological well-being. In addition, the importance of sleep appears in the strengthening of our immune system. Sleep consists of many stages in humans and is actually a very dynamic process. Dreams take place in the REM stage, which is the most important stage of sleep. The REM stage is the deepest and indeed the most dynamic stage of sleep. During this phase, eye movements accelerate, heart rate increases, breathing rate increases.
There are many reasons that can affect sleep quality and length. Many factors can change the quality and length of sleep, from activities done during the day, our mood, and the foods and beverages consumed. Sleep needs of people differ according to their age. But the importance of sleep is equally valuable to everyone. While healthy sleep time in children and infants varies between 9 and 16 hours, this hour may vary between 6 and 8 hours in adults. But everyone’s right sleep time is different, and it may be a good way for us to find the time we need and find the time that works for us by experiencing it ourselves.
Insomnia: It is the inability to fall asleep and maintain sleep. There may be more than one reason, but the most important reason is related to habits. It can also occur as a symptom of leading a stressful life, frequent changes in sleep routine, or other diseases. People with insomnia can try alternatives such as changing their lifestyle, trying stress management alternatives, establishing a healthier morning routine, exercising and establishing a healthy sleep pattern.
Sleep Apnea: It is the state of waking up due to cessation of breathing during sleep. It usually occurs due to reasons such as overweight and aging. The main reason is the malfunction of the neurons that control breathing during sleep. Some people with sleep apnea may also snore. In some high-risk individuals, sleep apnea can even lead to sudden death from respiratory arrest during sleep. Mild sleep apnea can often be overcome by weight loss or by preventing the person from sleeping on their back. Other people may need special devices or surgery to correct the blockage.
Restless Legs Syndrome: It is the problem of the desire to move one’s leg with the occurrence of uncomfortable tingling, numbness, itching in the legs and feet. For this reason, the person cannot fall asleep or may wake up frequently. Severe RLS is most common in the elderly, but symptoms can develop at any age. In some cases, anemia may be linked to other conditions such as pregnancy or diabetes. Usually, a person can get relief with prescription drug treatments.
Narcolepsy: People with narcolepsy experience frequent “sleep attacks” at various times of the day, even if they have a normal amount of nighttime sleep. These attacks can last from a few seconds to 30 minutes. People with narcolepsy may also experience problems such as loss of muscle control during emotional states, hallucinations, temporary paralysis on awakening, and disturbed nighttime sleep. These symptoms appear to be features of REM sleep that occurs on awakening, suggesting that narcolepsy is a sleep regulation disorder. It is an inherited disorder, but it can also occur due to brain damage or neurological diseases. Once narcolepsy is diagnosed, medications can make it easier to control the disease. Naps taken at certain times of the day can also reduce excessive daytime sleepiness.
Inability of the Brain to Fall Asleep
The inability of the brain to fall asleep is a problem that is not considered a disease and is usually caused by anxiety, which manifests itself from time to time as the stress level of the person increases. In order to solve this sleep problem, the anxiety level of the person should be controlled rather than the sleep pattern, if there is a hidden or overt anxiety problem, this problem should be determined, alternatives should be directed to reduce the stress level, and even help from a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist should be sought.
What to Do If You Can’t Fall Asleep
Understanding the cause of the sleep problem is the most important way to solve the problem. For this reason, the question of what to do if you can’t fall asleep may have different and personal answers. For example, while alcohol makes it easier for many people to fall asleep, it also prevents quality sleep because it causes disruptions in REM sleep. At the same time, due to the need for nicotine in smokers, awakening may occur every 3-4 hours during sleep. Another simple and important factor is the state of the room temperature during sleep, because during REM sleep the body may have difficulty balancing its own temperature, so the temperature of the room is important for sleep quality. Another answer to the question of what to fo if you can’t fall asleep is actually hidden in our psychological well-being. Studies have shown that psychological problems such as anxiety and depression directly trigger sleep problems. Especially important factors such as a stressful work environment, a stressful family environment and social life can trigger sleep problems. At this point, alternatives such as taking time for ourselves to lead a less stressful life, getting rid of bad habits such as substance and alcohol use, adding an efficient morning routine instead, tiring the body by doing physical activities during the day and triggering the need for sleep can answer the question of what to do if you can’t fall asleep. Not only these, but also choosing decaffeinated herbal teas shortly before sleep, making sure that the room does not receive enough light, and minimizing the screen time during the day are among the quite simple but effective alternatives. Another important alternative is to try mindfulness practices. Because mindfulness allows one to get rid of unhealthy stress and thus to have a more calm and peaceful mind. Doing a 5 or 10-minute meditation shortly before falling asleep will help the body to spend REM sleep more comfortably as it will empty the mind and relax the muscles, thus preventing important problems such as sleep interruptions and not being able to fall asleep.
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