Good Sleep – A Distant Dream?

Good Sleep – A Distant Dream?

Rest is a necessary part of maintaining health and should come with ease. A good night’s sleep is essential for the well-being and maintenance of our entire system. It is the easiest part of the biological cycle as requires us to simply switch off, if not all, most of our conscious functions. Difficulty with this simple task can be a hint from our body to pay more attention to our self-care. As sleep is the most crucial aspect of recovery any imbalances interfering with it can affect energy levels physically and mentally which can have a direct impact on your overall health.

Insomnia has become an increasingly common problem and most people report underlying causes that are similar across the world. Insomnia was found to be the most prevalent sleep disorder currently in industrialized cities and most of the affected population is undiagnosed and untreated as many refrain from seeking medical attention. It can result from minor stressors and be a temporary episode but permanent insomnia could be a result of chronic issues.

It typically results in waking up feeling unrefreshed and low in energy. It affects our ability to perform routine activities and impairs daytime performance in most cases. Other typical symptoms include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Waking up suddenly at night or waking up too early
  • Not feeling well-rested after a night sleep
  • Daytime fatigue, sleepiness or tension headaches
  • Poor attention and concentration
  • Increase in errors and mistakes in day-to-day activities

Most cases of temporary insomnia are caused due to slight lapses in self-care, poor sleep hygiene or sudden changes such as:

  • Jet lag
  • Physical discomfort
  • Disruption of circadian rhythm due to working a late or early shift
  • Stressful life situations
  • Recreational drug use
  • Smoking
  • Drinking caffeinated drinks before bedtime
  • Alcohol consumption or withdrawal
  • Eating too much food late in the evening
  • Irregular sleep schedule
  • Using the bedroom for non-sleep activities
  • Sleeping in a room with too much noise or lighting
  • Working in bed

Persistent insomnia is often caused by underlying chronic medical, psychiatric and psychological conditions such as:

  • Breathing problems (e.g. asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Obesity
  • Acid reflux
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Urinary problems (e.g. urinary incontinence)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Mania
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Lifestyle changes to accommodate healthy routines that add to our physical and mental health are key to good sleep. This is the basic foundation for overall health and helps avoid lifelong dependencies on painful, expensive and harmful medications as well as medical procedures that have a debilitating impact on the quality of life. Prioritising healthy habits is the first step to better sleep.

Insomnia can be treated through medical and non-medical approaches depending on the causes and severity of the disorder. Medication is prescribed in severe cases of insomnia for a short period to avoid dependency on sleep-inducing drugs. In the long term, non-medical treatments such as relaxation techniques, cognitive behaviour therapy and improvements in lifestyle have shown better results.

A careful examination and understanding of sleep patterns can help in the evaluation of the severity of the disorder. Several health apps and manual techniques are made easily available to us today to begin the first step in improving our sleep but in-depth insight into sleeping habits is best achieved through a sleep study program. These studies not only reveal the precise reasons behind the sleeping habits but also related health issues caused by them or are the origin of the disorder.

Sleep Studies are non-invasive procedures that detect and diagnose chronic disorders such as Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome, Narcolepsy, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Sleepwalking, Sleep Talking (Somniloquy) and REM Sleep Behavior Disorder to mention a few. Primary sleep disorders are those that are not related to other medical or psychiatric conditions and most can be diagnosed based on medical history and basic examination but chronic sleep disorders require a polysomnography test for a thorough clinical screening.

Sleep Studies are the most efficient method of understanding the effects of quality sleep and its impact on your health. Polysomnography, Multiple Sleep Latency Test, CPAP Titration and Home Sleep Apnea Testing are some widely available sleep study methods today. These are prescribed by an MD Physician depending on a patient’s needs.

At Techindia, sleep monitoring tests are manually scored and interpreted by registered PSG technicians and AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine) certified Physicians. Regular inter-scorer reliability assessments are conducted by the AASM board to keep them up-to-date with the current industry standards. The tests are an accurate and reliable method to extract evidence to identify a host of sleep-related issues.

Studies report that most primary care physicians fail to recognise symptoms during the early stages due to which most conditions worsen before significant attention is given to their conditions. Sleep studies are excellent at collecting extensive data on disturbances in your body and help provide precise evidence for further diagnosis. Discuss any health issues affecting sleep patterns and daily activity that cause fatigue and drowsiness with an MD Physician to find out if a sleep study can help detect the underlying issues.

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