Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sleep Debt and Sleep Disorder

Millions of people are in a serious debt today. This "debt" has a major contributing factor to wrecking their cars, damaging their careers, and even ruining of marriages. Just what kind of debt are we talking about? The culprit is sleep debt. It can adversely affect their health and life span. It is a deficit that contributes to immune suppression, creating susceptibility to various infections. Conditions as different as diabetes, heart disease, and extreme obesity, as well as other health problems, have been linked to it. Yet, most victims are oblivious of this debt.

Sleep debt develops when a person does not get the amount of healthful sleep needed for well-being. This can be caused by voluntary sleep deprivation resulting from a person’s life-style or by involuntary sleep deprivation because of illness.

Medical researchers estimate that earth’s population is now getting, on average, an hour less sleep per night than what is needed. While this may seem slight, a nightly six-billion-hour debt has become the focus of research into both the variety of sleep-related illnesses and their impact on the quality of life.

The medical world once viewed the chronic inability to sleep as just one disorder, commonly called insomnia. However, a commission created by the U.S. Congress recognized 17 distinct sleep disorders. At any rate, insomnia has so many causes that it is often considered to be a symptom of other problems, much as a fever suggests some sort of infection.

Many doctors note how difficult it is to get their patients to take sleep debt seriously. One doctor complained that chronic fatigue is even considered “a status symbol” by some. And because their condition often worsens very gradually, victims of sleep deprivation may not recognize that they suffer from a serious sleep disorder. Many reason, ‘I’m just getting old’ or, ‘I can’t cope with life, so I tend to shut down’ or, ‘I’m tired all the time because I can never get the long rest I need.’

Reversing this sleep debt is a complex challenge. But understanding how a healthful sleep cycle works and learning to identify the signs of sleep debt can provide the motivation to change. Recognizing the symptoms of a serious sleep disorder can save lives.

*As I too suffer from insomnia which is caused by eczema (skin problem), I would like to share more articles that I had read on this matter with you folks. Feel free to drop me a comment and share your experiences.

Related post: How much sleep do we need?

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  1. thanks for sharing this essential info on sleep, i should start rethinking about my sleeping habit before i regret about it later, i usually go to sleep around 3:00 am in the morning and i don't think that's just right^^

  2. Sometimes I have a big sleeping problem, so I go on blogging :) but sometimes I don't. Like those bed commercials, blame it on the cushion!

  3. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your experiences. I have tried to make my room more comfortable now like if it is too humid, get air conditioner, make the room as dark as possible to keep the artificial lights from outside out from the room. As for the noise, that is still a problem but I will try to minimise that too.

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