"Disease exists, if either sleep or watchfulness be excessive" (Hippocrates, Aphorism LXXI, from a worthwhile article on sleep disturbance in The Lancet 2004; 364: 1959-1973). I had mentioned in a previous column that not feeling well in the morning was a sign that all things might not be well with your body, and have been asked to expand on this. Our bodies are wonderful machines that replenish the system during our down time: sleep. Sleep mode (a very poorly understood phenomenon that we share with other mammals), is associated with heart rate and blood pressure decrease, disconnection from dealing with external stimuli (our monitor shuts down), and our endocrine glands reduce production of hormones. Complex changes occur within our brains, and the thoughts and worries that we take to bed are replaced by new morning thoughts on arising. We wake up "refreshed". Continuing the computer analogy, we have rebooted. When this rebooting isn't complete, somethi...
I became interested in sleep and sleep disorders when my husband was diagnosed with sleep apnea. I didn't realize at the time that I also suffered from a sleep disorder. Oh, I knew that something strange happened to me some nights, but I put it down to stress and tried to ignore it. The episodes, however, became more frequent and they began to worry me. I'd wake up in the night, unable to move. I'd have a sense of impending danger that I had to escape. I struggled and fought against the hold the paralysis had on me, and found that, if I could just wiggle one little finger, I'd be back to normal. It took several months before I discovered I was suffering from sleep paralysis. This disorder is more common than it would appear. Many people fail to report it, afraid they'll be laughed at or that they may be going insane. Others, like I did, attribute it to other causes, including stress, and it is, in fact, often stress related. The paralysis is not a d...
Irregular sleep-wake syndrome is sleeping without any real schedule.
Sleep-wake syndrome - irregular
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Some people have an irregular sleep-wake pattern because of a problem with brain function, the body's internal clock (circadian pacemaker), or other reasons.
This disorder is very uncommon. It typically occurs in someone with a brain dysfunction who does not have a regular routine during the day. The amount of total sleep time is normal, but the body clock loses its normal circadian cycle.
Similar symptoms may be seen in people who have frequently changing work shifts and in travelers who often change time zones. These people have a different condition, such as shift work sleep disorder or jet lag syndrome.
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