"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...
Sleep Disorders vary in nature and degree. The three major sleep disorders are dyssomnias ( insomnia ), hypersomnia (disorders of excessive sleepiness) and parasomnias (abnormal behaviors during sleep). Sleep consists of two distinct states: REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and NREM (non-REM) sleep. Dreaming occurs mostly in REM sleep. Sleep is a cyclic phenomenon, with four or five REM periods during the night, which accounts for about 25 percent of the total night’s sleep. Examples Of Sleep Disorders Insomnia Insomnia, the sense of not getting enough sleep to awake refreshed, affects 20 to 40 percent of all adults in the course of any year. Although insomnia has myriad causes, it can roughly be divided into three categories: predisposing, precipitating and perpetuating. Predisposing factors are the built-in characteristics of a person that make him or her vulnerable. Tense or driven people whose heads are brimming with plans or worries can easily lose sleep. Others with severe depressio...
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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