What is sleep?
All living things require sleep. It is the natural state of rest observed
not only by human beings but also by other species of the animal kingdom. An
adequate amount of sleep is important for one’s health and survival. It is
during sleep that the body is recharged for another day of work.
Sleep has five stages. The first four stages are part of the non-rapid eye
movement (non-REM) phase of sleep. The last stage is the rapid eye movement
(REM) sleep. Stage one is the transition period from wake to sleep. Stage
two is the intermediate level of sleep. Stages three and four are referred
to as deep or slow wave sleep, with stage four as the deepest phase of
sleep. The fifth stage of sleep, the REM stage, is the part of sleep where
people have dreams. The term rapid eye movement was coined from the fast
movement of the eyes during this phase of sleep.
· Insomnia. A sufferer with this sleeping condition has difficulty falling
or remaining asleep. Insomniacs usually complain that sleep is never restful
for them. This condition can be classified as acute or short-term, or
chronic, wherein the condition lasts for over a month).
· Hypersomnia. A patient who has this condition feels extremely sleepy
throughout the day. Hypersomniacs usually sleep long during the night and
still take multiple naps throughout the day. Even though patients sleep
long, they are still complain that they are not refreshed.
What are the different psychological disorders related to sleeping problems?
As was mentioned above, sleeping disorders have been linked certain mental
disorders. Here are some psychiatric conditions that are commonly related to
having sleeping disorders.
· Generalized anxiety disorder. A patient with this condition displays
frequent patterns of worrying about things. Patients find it difficult to
sleep because of the thoughts that swin inside their minds.
· Panic disorder. A patient often experiences extreme fear and anxiety over
something unexplainable. Sufferers of this condition usually wake up in the
middle of the night and have difficulty going back to sleep.
· Adjustment disorders. This is a condition wherein a person overreacts to
any form of stress in their life. Patients with this disorder often complain
of having insomnia.
· Bipolar disorder. In this mental disorder, a sufferer feels periods of
mania and depression alternately. Patients with this conditions are most
often diagnosed with hypersomnia.
How are mental disorders linked to sleeping dysfunctions?
People who suffer from sleeping disorders sometimes show symptoms of their
mental illness or that of the sleeping disorder itself. Here are some of the
most noted signs:
· Feelings of anxiety increase at bedtime.
· Feels an inclination to staying in bed more often.
· Fatigue or complete lack of energy.
· Having a difficult time concentrating.
· A tendency to fall asleep when in low-stimulation situations.
· Feels disoriented when awakened.
· Decreased appetite.
· Gets easily irritated.
· Memory impairment.
Recent studies have shown that brain movement noted with mental illnesses
have been observed in healthy people who’ve been deprived of a night's worth
of sleep. An increase in activity in the brain’s emotion center, the
amygdala, was seen in patients who’ve been asked to miss a night’s rest. The
same study noted that sleep deprivation affected the way the prefrontal
cortex, which damps down the amygdala, reacts. The same disruption of
prefrontal cortex function has been noted in patients with certain
Sleep is not just a regular function that we need to engage in to rest our
body. It doesn't only help our body recharge and heal, our mind’s health
depends on it too. Your busy schedule and lifestyle may tell you that sleep
is for the weak. But think of how much weaker a lack of sleep may turn you
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About the Article Author
The writer, Abbey Grace Yap, is an active advocate for health consciousness
and disease awareness. She possesses a deep passion in discovering new
health-related information and sharing it to her readers.