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Balance your sleep

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANSlife) A good refreshing sleep is very important for all of us as it helps solidify and consolidate memories, restores and rejuvenates the various body functions, helps to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones. Dr Vivek Nangia, Director and Head, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi brings to the light the necessity of a balanced sleep routine.

Too little or too much sleep, both can be harmful. While, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, one-year-olds need roughly 11 to 14 hours, school age children between 9 and 11 hours, and teenagers between 8 and 10 hours.

During these critical periods of growth and learning, younger people need an important dose of slumber for optimal development and application.

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) refers to a bent to nod off, nod, or doze easily in relaxed or sedentary situations, or a requirement to exert extra effort to avoid sleeping in these situations. Unwanted sleepiness can also manifest as “sleep attacks” (irresistible urges to sleep), occurring not only during monotonous situations conducive to sleep, but also in situations where the patient is actively engaged in a task.

In addition to frank sleepiness, the EDS can cause related symptoms, including poor memory, reduced concentration or attention, tiredness, easy fatigability and irritability. Persons with excessive daytime sleepiness are in danger of automobile and work-related incidents and have poorer health than comparable adults.

The most common causes of excessive daytime sleepiness are as follows

1. Sleep deprivation

2. Obstructive sleep apnea

3. Sedating medications

4. Shift workers

5. Other possible causes of excessive daytime sleepiness include certain medical and psychiatric conditions and sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy.

Adolescents, older persons, and shift workers are prone to suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness.

The most common explanation for daytime sleepiness is sleep deprivation or insufficient sleep, which can reflect poor sleep “hygiene” (behaviours impacting sleep) or self-imposed or work/socially-dictated sleep deprivation. Some common causes of sleep deprivation include excessive or inconsistent work hours, personal obligations and an underlying medical condition.

Factors which will contribute to chronic insomnia include people who end in increased nocturnal alertness, like excessive caffeine, frequent naps, and stressful work at night, and people that interfere with sleep continuity, like falling asleep with the tv or radio on, excessive time in bed, and other environmental factors.

Obstructive apnea represents the foremost frequent explanation for sleep-related breathing disorders, which encompass a diversity of conditions that either complicate coexisting disease or present as primary disorders. Many of those disorders have consequences during both sleep and wakefulness and should produce substantial burden of symptoms and disease in untreated individuals.

Sleepiness is the most commonly reported side effect of certain pharmacologic agents that act on the central nervous system. The modulation of sleep and wakefulness is a complex process involving multiple factors and systems.

Although no single chemical neurotransmitter has been identified as necessary or sufficient in the control of sleep, most drugs with clinical sedative or hypnotic actions affect one or more of the central neurotransmitters implicated in the neuromodulation of sleep and wakefulness. In some cases, daytime sleepiness may be a side effect of a particular medication, such as antihistamines, antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiety and high blood pressure medications.

Correctly diagnosing the cause of excessive sleepiness is important for determining the best treatment. The specific treatment for excessive sleepiness entirely depends on the cause.

However, some simple lifestyle changes may help people get a better night’s sleep. These include:

1. Eating a healthful, balanced diet

2. Limiting caffeine and alcohol intake

3. Exercising regularly

4. Creating a relaxing sleep environment

5. Taking a warm bath before bedtime

6. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule

Excessive sleepiness is not a disorder in itself but a symptom of insufficient sleep or an underlying health condition.

People who experience excessive sleepiness may experience the following:

1. Fatigue

2. Mental fog

3. Inability to focus

4. Grogginess

5. Sluggishness

Excessive sleepiness may also cause:

1. Difficulty waking up or getting out of bed in the morning

2. Feeling sluggish and unmotivated throughout the day

3. Napping frequently throughout the day

4. Falling asleep at inappropriate times, such as while driving or during meals

5. Lapses in attention

6. Loss of appetite

7. Difficulty remembering events throughout the day

8. Difficulty concentrating

9. Irritation

10. Poor performance in work or school activities

–IANS

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