Sleep is a physiological period of rest that allows the body and mind to rest and reestablish themselves. In this process, human beings use a third of their existence and it is also one of the activities that they repeat the most throughout it, day after day, night after night. When problems occur during sleep, the negative effects on the body do not take long to appear.
IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP
Only those people who get enough rest remain physically and psychologically healthy since in this period the body recovers and processes valuable information that it possibly relegated during wakefulness. “Sleep is essential for learning, memory, the maintenance of neural circuits, and the metabolization of some depleted values.
“Being awake for three days and then sleeping for the next three does not work, since the brain needs rest every day.” The amount of sleep needed varies by person and age.
A baby can rest from 11 to 18 hours, a five-year-old can spend 10 to 11 in bed, an adult rests with 7 or 8 and an older person will have enough with 4 or 6 hours of sleep.” But the night’s rest, however, is not determined by the number of hours of sleep but by its quality. Not only sleep is essential, but doing it well. It is considered that “sleep is restorative when one wakes up fresh, full of energy, with a feeling of having rested and remains operative throughout the day,”
To get to sleep and make it good, experts advise avoiding some habits (irregular schedules, stimulating drinks, unfavorable environmental conditions, etc.) and thus “get to bed with the mind as calm as possible”, says the psychologist. It is essential to identify the reasons that prevent rest for adequate sleep hygiene. The siesta meanwhile is fabulous to disconnect although if it is too long it makes it difficult to sleep later.
Sleeping poorly or not sleeping enough can become the greatest enemy of health. “In addition to fatigue and difficulties to perform physically and mentally, in adults there is a drowsiness that can have serious consequences such as accidents or mistakes. Irritability and depression are also frequent results. While children are often irritable and crying during the day Also, when they sleep they secrete growth hormone, which abounds in the need to sleep well in childhood.
Apart from the negative effects during the day – exhaustion, lack of energy, mood swings, irritation, stress, anxiety, discouragement, etc. – that can imply insufficient sleep, most people are unaware of the serious consequences that in the long run term can generate lack of sleep.
The Valencia Institute of Sleep Medicine warns that “from the third day without rest there is a risk of hallucinations and temporary insanity. Studies also show that the chances of suffering from a psychiatric illness increase by 40% when sleeping problems become chronic.”
“At a physiological level, it affects the ability to process glucose, which can cause high blood sugar levels and promote diabetes or weight gain. Likewise, it causes a decrease in basal body temperature, responsible, among other factors, for the constancy of the heart rhythm. Therefore, in these circumstances arrhythmias or nocturnal cardiorespiratory arrests can be observed “, he continues. Memory problems, muscle aches, a weakened immune system, loss of brain tissue, premature aging, or lack of coordination or concentration are many other ills it can cause.
HOW IS IT AFFECTED?
Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes 88 different types of sleep disorders – insomnia is the most common – that affects 40% of the western population. Chronic insomnia affects 8% -10% of adults, while transitory insomnia – that which lasts for several weeks and then remits – suffers from about 30%. Also among the most frequent disorders are “sleep apnea syndrome (3% -7%), night terrors and sleepwalking (2% -6%) and restless legs syndrome (5% -10%), among others, “says the doctor. Although these alterations appear in a very similar way, -complications to fall asleep and poor quality of rest-, the causes can be physical (metabolic, genetic, cardiovascular, respiratory disorders, etc.) or psychological (stress, depression, anxiety).
Today, thanks to scientific advances and its multidisciplinary approach, “although each pathology has its specific cause, these disorders are easily diagnosable with conventional methods and generally have a simple and effective treatment,” For its part, psychology “promotes a reconsideration of the kind of life that one leads. And it tries to provide the individual with techniques that help him to discard worries, stress, and hyper-stimulation in general”.
Other people, to alleviate the symptoms of certain disorders such as insomnia, resort to natural methods such as valerian, passionflower, linden, lemon verbena, lemon balm, etc. “They are natural products, recognized by the medical and pharmaceutical community and accepted by the health authorities as useful to help in conciliation and maintenance of sleep,” However, drugs must always be prescribed by a doctor.