Sleep is a physiologically necessary functional state of the body. During sleep, a person changes the electrical activity of the brain and various body functions. Most healthy people need 6-8 hours of sleep. This is a very relative figure, as there are people who need 5 hours of sleep, and there are those who need more than 8 hours for a good recovery. Sleep duration is not an important indicator, sleep quality is important. The quality of sleep is the body's ability to recover and feel refreshed and ready for a new day in the morning.
How does a person manage to fall asleep?
For the body to move to the phases of sleep, you need two conditions. The first condition is an increase in sleep pressure (the desire to sleep, which usually occurs in the evening after a busy day). The second - circadian rhythms - cyclical fluctuations of various biochemical processes that are associated with the change of day and night. When these two conditions are combined (increased readiness of the brain for sleep and desire to sleep due to increased sleep pressure), a "sleep window" appears. The window of sleep is the period of time during which our body wants and expects sleep.
What are sleep disorders?
The third edition of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD-3) includes seven main categories:
- Sleep-related breathing disorders
- Central disorders of hypersomnolence
- Disturbance of the circadian rhythm of sleep-wake
- Sleep-related movement disorders
- Other sleep disorders
In total, there are 60 specific diagnoses in seven main categories, and there is a separate appendix for the classification of sleep disorders associated with medical and neurological disorders.
Your doctor will help you find out exactly what sleep disorder and what further tactics he needs.
The most common sleep disorders include insomnia and sleep-related breathing disorders.
There are short-term insomnia, chronic insomnia and other insomnia (when the patient has symptoms of insomnia, but he does not meet the criteria for the other two types of insomnia). There is also a separate type of "adaptive insomnia", which occurs against the background of acute stress or changes in the environment. The general activity of the nervous system increases and this leads to impaired entry into the evening sleep when you are trying falling asleep or waking up at night. With this form of insomnia, it is usually possible to pinpoint the cause of the sleep disorder. The duration of adaptive insomnia does not exceed 3 months. If insomnia lasts longer, then psychological disorders are added and we can already talk about "psychophysiological insomnia". In this form of insomnia, the patient tries to force himself to fall asleep in the evening and fears that it will not happen quickly, which leads to excessive activation of the nervous system and the progression of sleep disorders.
Sleep-related breathing disorders include obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and central sleep apnea syndrome. Men get sick more often, and among middle-aged and elderly men the incidence rate reaches 10%. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is one of the most common sleep-related respiratory disorders. This is due to the fact that it is a comorbid (multifactorial) disease. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome can occur in people with characteristic features of the structure of the oropharynx and larynx, in people prone to obesity, with concomitant hypertension and diabetes. Central sleep apnea syndrome is less common and is associated with pathology of the central nervous system. It can occur after damage to the respiratory center in the medulla oblongata due to stroke, infectious diseases of the central nervous system or be the result of neuromuscular pathology.
You will learn more about certain types of sleep disorders and how they are treated in our following publications.
So how to understand what you need for a doctor's consultation?
You need to pay attention if:
- it's hard for you to fall asleep
- you can't wake up in the morning
- you always want to sleep during the day
- you often wake up in the middle of the night
- you have vivid heavy dreams
- you are disturbed by unpleasant sensations in the legs during sleep
- you sleep long, but wake up tired or anxious
- relatives reported that you have apnea (snoring, respiratory arrest) or move while sleeping.