Sleep Disorder: A Common Problem of Today

Sleep disorders affect our mental as well as physical health. My personal experiences with sleep disorder are…

It was not a nice morning for me. I and my wife were disparately trying to read our doctor’s face and serious gesture as he was studying my medical check up reports. Suddenly the doctor kept my file aside and turned his face towards me. He murmured, `Nothing….nothing to be worried about, but something more serious…It’s a case of debt…`SLEEP DEBT`. I think you are suffering from sleep disorder. You need proper sleep more than any medicine`. A warning like sound pierced in my ears, `If the situation remains same, you may face some severe health problems in coming days`.

Thanks god! All other probability of severe diseases was ruled out. What I needed exactly, was to make a big change in my daily routine keeping my sleeping hours in priority. My blurred vision, clouded mind, weight loss all had the same root- less sleep hours and there was no option left to me except to reduce my work hours and get my bed room lights switched off, any how before 10 o’clock at night. In today’s world when the word `hectic` is rampant in all walk of life, I think I am not a single one that has to pay heavily for this unwanted debt (sleep debt).For years various research are going on this issue and all have the same out come, `Inadequate sleep is a silent killer of all living things`, directly affecting their physical health, mental ability, productivity and performance. As far as human beings are concerned, from children to grand ma or pa, all are the victims. `Suffering from Sleep apnea` may be a single term for the victims of all ages that a doctor has in his mind while zeroing on such cases and symptoms may vary from age to age. Memory loss, lack of attention, sudden changes in behavior or mood problems, weight loss or gain, high or low blood pressure are the common symptoms. In a recent research, Philadelphia researchers at University of Pennsylvania School of medicine have found that improper sleep gradually leads to Unfolded Protein Response (UPR).

It is one of the parts of the quality control system for monitoring protein synthesis in the endoplasmic reticulum, the cellular compartment where some proteins are made. Besides other severe diseases, UPR causes Alzheimer, Parkinson’s and aging cells. What happens during our sleep? To know this one has to know the different stages of sleep first. Roughly it can be divided in to four stages. Stage one is between waking and sleep. During stage two, there is a reduced sensitivity to outside stimulus. Three and four are slow waves stages of deep sleep when brain recovers from wear and tear of day’s activities. Dreams, eye movements and drop in muscles tone characterize Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which starts within 90 minutes from the onset of sleep. The duration of REM sleep increases towards morning.

REM sleep plays a crucial role in learning by consolidating the memories of preceding day and by eliminating unnecessary recollections from the brain. Those deprive of RAM sleep perform poorly at a learn task. It also maintains the immune system the growth hormone is secreted in pulses during the slow wave sleep. Physical exercises enhance slow wave sleep stages three and four. Although more researches are going on this hard to know subject but the fact accepted by all is, an adolescent needs a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep per day. It may be less or more for different age groups. A little baby sleeps almost whole the day while an elderly person feels enough only after four to five hours sleep. Above all, it’s our body to tell us what does it need, we must listen it and should do accordingly.

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