The disturbed sleep

Sleep is important for physical and mental well-being, sleep is a key element for the balance of the organism. A person sleeps for about a third of his life, and with good reason. But what if your night’s sleep is disturbed? Sleep dispels tension and fatigue, releases melatonin, which improves the functioning of the internal clock and ensures the secretion of growth hormone, which is responsible for cell renewal and the maintenance of muscles, tissues and bones. If one does not sleep enough or if the quality of sleep is poor, this is not without consequences: drowsiness, declining performance, concentration disorders (and an increased risk of accidents), lower quality of life, depression, irritability, etc. There are no fewer than 88 sleep disorders , that’s as many notes as there are on a piano. Because 88 problems are too many to mention, here you will learn more about the three most frequent sleep problems and their remedies.

Insomnia

The most common sleep disorder is insomnia. About 15% of the population is affected by it. Insomnia can be caused by many factors, but fortunately there are also various solutions.The most frequent causes of insomnia are depression, but also anxiety or stress that are usually accompanied by waking up at the end of the night and the inability to fall asleep again.Insomnia can also be caused by organic factors, although this is less often the case: hyperthyroidism, gastroesophageal reflux, pain during the night (rheumatism, neuropathy, etc.), breathing disorders, etc.In addition, there are also external factors that can influence sleep, such as a bad bed, wind, heat, etc.People who suffer from insomnia quickly end up in a vicious circle by delaying the time of going to sleep and carrying negative thoughts (‘I can’t sleep anyway’). they themselves contribute to the lack of sleep, etc. Whatever the cause of insomnia, one should not simply start taking sleeping pills without consulting a doctor.Only a doctor can find out what the cause of the sleep problem is and how it can be resolved. can be addressed. In some cases, relaxation therapy or exercises may be used (in the case of anxiety or stress, for example), psychotherapy (in the case of depression), and so on. Sleep aids are not the only remedy for insomnia.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea syndrome is associated with brief interruptions in breathing during sleep, lasting from at least ten seconds to at least five times per hour. The breathing interruptions mean that the brain is not optimally supplied with oxygen and that the quality of sleep leaves much to be desired. A light sleep is not enough to recover, which makes itself felt during the day.People with sleep apnea usually snore more and sometimes feel like they are suffocating, they are agitated, sweat excessively and have to get up frequently at night to urinate. This may also include headaches, irritability, sexual disorders and sometimes symptoms of depression. The patient is constantly tired, often even when getting up.In children, the syndrome can be detected by symptoms such as hyperactivity during the day and difficulty breathing at night. Retarded growth and problems at school can also indicate the presence of sleep apnea syndrome.It is paramount that the disease in children and adults is detected and treated as quickly as possible to avoid complications such as cardiac arrhythmias, high blood pressure, an increased risk of a myocardial infarction or a stroke (cerebrovascular accident). In addition, daytime sleepiness can lead to accidents. In adults, the syndrome is often triggered by an obstruction of the upper airways. The obstruction can be caused by the sagging of the soft tissue in the wall of the pharynx, by the tongue falling backwards, by a deviation or by an excess of fatty tissue due to overweight or obesity.In children, the syndrome is in most cases the result of enlarged tonsils as a result of the repeated occurrence of angina or nasopharyngeal infections.If the syndrome is diagnosed by a doctor, the first step should be to maintain a healthy lifestyle: less or no alcohol, no smoking, no sleeping pills and/or losing weight .If these measures are not sufficient, the doctor can prescribe a nasal mask, more specifically a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure, a mask that continuously blows air into the nose and throat). The mask does not make the syndrome disappear, when it is removed there is no longer continuous pressure.Another treatment is an oral or dental appliance that pushes the lower jaw forward to avoid obstructions. And in some cases, surgery can be used for procedures on the uvula , the throat mucosa, the tonsils or the upper and lower jaw.

Snoring

More than 40% of people over 50 snore regularly. Snoring is not a harmless ailment, it can be a real problem. The sound intensity can be 90 to 100 dB, which is as much as a passing truck. Not only the snorer himself can be woken up by the noise, but also his partner and other housemates. This makes snoring not only a sleep disorder, but also a social problem that can have significant consequences.There are different ways to tackle snoring problems. In addition to surgery and the use of wavelengths (an electrode in the soft palate reduces the number of vibrations), there are less well-known treatments such as an external nasal dilator or an oral appliance, a type of prosthesis that ‘pushes’ the lower jaw forward, preventing the tongue from protruding. to the throat.But just like with the treatment of sleep apnea, lifestyle changes may be enough. The good advice that one should not sleep on one’s back if one does not want to snore is not such good advice, usually someone will snore if they sleep on their back! Regular snoring in children is a reason to seek the help of a doctor, unless it concerns acute snoring due to nasopharyngeal infections.

Sleeping pills and abuse

are used for sleep problems . It should be known that a lot of progress has been made in the field of tackling sleep problems. A number of hospitals have a specialized center for sleep research where they look for the origin of the problem. If the cause is known, the problem can be better treated and even disappear.

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