Sleep health is an integral component of overall wellbeing and professional success. While we sleep, our bodies perform various processes that boost brain power and support immune function for improved performance.
Sleep can enhance emotional intelligence and promote better cognitive functioning, so it’s crucial that individuals take steps to ensure quality rest regularly.
1. Sleep Habits
Sleep plays an integral role in how we think, feel and function throughout the day – it is an indicator of overall health and wellness.
Develop healthy sleep habits to ensure you’re getting enough quality rest. This may include adhering to a consistent bedtime schedule, creating an environment in your bedroom which is quiet, dark and cool as well as forgoing large meals, caffeine beverages, alcohol or tobacco before sleep time.
Strive for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to see optimal results. Do not attempt to “make up for” poor sleeping by extending weekend naps – this may make it harder for you to fall asleep during the week! Additionally, maintain an active physical life but try not to do intense physical activities immediately prior to going to bed; these could keep you awake and increase anxiety levels.
2. Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders are conditions which interfere with the usual sleeping pattern and cause fatigue, often serving as symptoms for other health problems.
Insomnia refers to an inability to fall or stay asleep, which leads to reduced energy during the day. It may be caused by stress and anxiety, jet lag, hormones or digestive issues; or as a side effect of certain medications like antidepressants or blood pressure pills.
Circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders occur when your internal biological clock and external light/dark cycles become misaligning, leading to extreme daytime sleepiness or insomnia. This could be caused by an underlying health condition like fibromyalgia or thyroid disease or as a side effect from certain medications.
3. Sleep Apnea
Sleep quality should also be given due consideration in order to get a restful night’s rest. Our sleeping patterns can have a major impact on our health and wellbeing in many ways.
Sleep can promote a healthy immune system and cognitive functions such as problem solving, decision making, creativity and memory consolidation. Furthermore, quality restful sleep helps regulate mood and provides emotional equilibrium.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by brief pauses in breathing during sleep that can prevent you from getting the restful rest you require. Left untreated, this sleep disorder raises the risk of cardiovascular conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and other serious diseases as well as daytime fatigue that may cause accidents and poor work performance.
4. Sleep Disorders Treatment
Sleep difficulties aren’t unusual, but when they interfere with daily activities it may be a telltale sign of a disorder. Common ones include insomnia, sleep-related breathing disorders, central sleep apnea, circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders and REM sleep behavior disorder (acting out dreams while sleeping).
Treatment for sleeping disorders depends on what the issue is and if its source lies within medications or another health condition. Sleep aids for insomnia and apnea may be prescribed along with antidepressants, pain relievers and other medications; for narcolepsy stimulants like modafinil (armodafinil, pitolisant or mixed salt/sodium oxybate are sometimes used), while for REM sleep behavior disorder patients they may receive either clonazepam, alprazolam or melatonin; behavioral therapies or stress reduction may also be part of their treatment plans.
5. Sleep Disorders Prevention
People having difficulty sleeping should consult with a health care provider immediately. Sleep deprivation can have negative repercussions for school/work performance, relationships and overall mental and physical wellbeing.
Common sleep disorders include insomnia (difficulties sleeping through the night) and hypersomnia (excessive daytime drowsiness). There may also be circadian rhythm disorders, or disruptions of the natural sleep-wake cycle, affecting your quality of restful slumber.
Many sleep problems can be avoided through practicing good sleeping habits such as creating a relaxing environment in which to fall asleep, and limiting caffeine, alcohol, and glowing electronic screens during the hours before going to bed. If symptoms persist, your doctor may suggest performing a polysomnogram (sleep study) or other tests to better identify what is causing them; treatment options could include medications prescribed temporarily as well as natural products like melatonin.