How Much Sleep Do Most People Need
Most adults need around seven to nine hours of sleep per night but the amount of sleep needed to function at your best varies between individuals. The quality of your rest matters just as much as the quantity. Tossing and turning and repeatedly awakening is as bad for your health as being unable to fall asleep.
Why We Cant Sleep At Night
Americans are exhaustedaccording to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, up to 35 percent of U.S. adults suffer from brief symptoms of insomnia, up to 20 percent suffer from short-term insomnia, and 10 percent experience chronic insomnia. The causes are multifold, says Judith Davidson, a sleep researcher and clinical psychologist at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario.
Insomnia can be due to a loss, relationship stress, high stress at work, illness, or pain; the cause may also involve racing thoughts and worries, including worries about the effects of not sleeping.
Our;over-reliance on technology;may also be keeping us awake: exposure to the artificial light of televisions, computers,;and phones before bed enhances alertness and suppresses the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Heightened emotions and menstrual cycles are also factors, which might explain why women are twice as likely to report insomnia than are men.
Keep reading to find out if one of these eight factors are the reason youre not getting enough rest.
Restless Legs Syndrome And Periodic Leg Movement Disorder
Restless Legs Syndrome is a common neurologic condition marked by the urge to move, particularly the legs, which occurs primarily at rest in the evening or bedtime. The essential criteria for making the diagnosis include: 1) The urge to move the legs, usually accompanied or caused by uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations in the legs; 2) The urge to move or unpleasant sensations begin or worsen with rest or inactivity; 3) The urge to move or unpleasant sensations are partially or totally relieved by movement; 4) The urge to move or unpleasant sensations are worse in the evening . Sleep disruptionand complaints of decreased quality of life is present in 3/4 of the patients with the syndrome . A majority of RLS patients will have repetitive periodic limb movements on polysomnogram. The RLS/PLMD has a genetic basis and increases with age so that in the geriatric population over 30% of individuals may meet criteria for the diagnosis. RLS/PLMD is also more common in children with AD/HD, patients in renal failure, individuals with low serum ferritin levels , and in patients taking some medications such including antidepressants, antiemetics and antihistamines .
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What Is Insomnia Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
You know how awful one night of bad sleep can make you feel. Now multiply that one bad night by weeks, even months, and its easy to understand why insomnia can take a tremendous mental and physical toll on people.
If you struggle to sleep, youre not alone. Estimates suggest approximately 10 percent of adults suffer from chronic insomnia and between 15 and 35 percent of adults suffer from some level of short-term insomnia lasting anywhere from a few days to up to three months, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Epidemiological studies show that lack of sleep is associated with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, even Alzheimers, says;Sara Nowakowski, PhD, a clinical psychologist and sleep researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Other consequences of insomnia include increased risk for psychiatric disorders and motor vehicle accidents. When it comes to health, she adds: Sleep is just as important as diet and other lifestyle behaviors.
Thats why dealing with insomnia and getting the help you need is critical. So how do you know if you have insomnia, and how do you treat it if you do have it? Read on to get answers to your most pressing questions.
Can Melatonin Help Me Sleep
Your body produces a hormone called melatonin that promotes sleep. Some people take melatonin supplements as a sleep aid. But theres no proof that these supplements work. Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesnt regulate supplements the same as medications, you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking one.
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Research And Statistics: How Many People Have Insomnia
Roughly 25 percent of the population experiences at least one bout of acute insomnia each year, according to a 2018 study from the University of Pennsylvania. That same study also found that about 1 in 4 of these folks will develop persistent or chronic insomnia.
The National Sleep Foundation reports chronic insomnia may be much more prevalent with research finding prevalence rates as high as between 10 and 30 percent.
Statistics on short sleep, meaning those who sleep less than seven hours each night, find that men are very slightly more likely to get insufficient sleep than women. Also, people who are obese, as well as those who smoke or who do not exercise, are much more likely to sleep less than seven hours compared with people who do not check those boxes, according to the CDC.
Some of the latest research on insomnia has looked at its connections with other diseases or disorders, and especially diseases of the nervous system and brain. For example, theres evidence that insomnia is both an early warning sign and a possible contributor to brain diseases like Alzheimers, notes the National Sleep Foundation.
Theres also research that suggests sleep helps you learn, even when it comes to muscle-memory related tasks like playing the piano.
How Is Insomnia Managed Or Treated
Short-term insomnia often gets better on its own. For chronic insomnia, your healthcare provider may recommend:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia: Therapy : CBT-I is a brief, structured intervention for insomnia that helps you identify and replace thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen sleep problems with habits that promote sound sleep. Unlike sleeping pills, CBT-I helps you overcome the underlying causes of your sleep problems.
- Medications: Behavior and lifestyle changes can best help you improve your sleep over the long term. In some cases, though, taking sleeping pills for a short time can help you sleep. Doctors recommend taking sleep medicines only now and then or only for a short time. They are not the first choice for treating chronic insomnia.
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The Appropriate Use Of Hypnotic And Sedative Medications
Sedative/hypnotic agents were among the first known phamaceudical therapies. Many have had significant toxicities and side effects. Some with addictive potential have developed into major drugs of abuse that continue to negatively effect our modern society. For the physician addressing the patient complaint of insomnia, these agents can be difficult to appropriately utilize. This brief overview argues that today there are medications with very low toxicity, addictive potential, minimal next day sleepiness, and an otherwise benign side-effect profile that can be utilized safely and effectively to treat and improve function and quality of life for patients suffering from insomnia. These are the agents that should be exclusively classified as hypnotics and utilized as the first line of agents to induce sleep when medications are required to treat the complaint of insomnia . The other pharmacological agents producing sedation should be used cautiously for the treatment of insomnia due to the increased risk of next day sleepiness as well as for known toxicities and adverse side effects .
What Should I Do
If you think you’re getting enough rest at night and you’re still feeling tired during the day, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor. Excessive tiredness can be caused by all sorts of health problems, not just problems with sleep.
If a sleep problem is suspected, your doctor;will look at your overall health and sleep habits. In addition to doing a physical examination, the doctor will take your medical history by asking you about any concerns and symptoms you have, your past health, your family’s health, any medications you’re taking, any allergies you may have, and other issues.
The doctor also might;do tests to find out whether any conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea might be interfering with your sleep.
Treatment for sleep problems can vary. Some can be treated with medicines, while others can be helped with special techniques like light therapy or other practices that can help reset a person’s body clock.
Doctors also encourage teens to make lifestyle changes that promote good sleeping habits. You probably know that caffeine can keep you awake, but many teens don’t realize that texting and using mobile devices, playing video games, or watching TV before sleeping can, too.
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What Happens During Sleep
You don’t notice it, of course, but while you’re asleep, your brain is still active. As people sleep, their brains pass through five stages of sleep. Together, stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM sleep make up a sleep cycle. One complete sleep cycle lasts about 90 to 100 minutes. So during an average night’s sleep, a person will experience about four or five cycles of sleep.
Stages 1 and 2 are periods of light sleep from which a person can wake up easily. During these stages, eye movements slow down and eventually stop, heart and breathing rates slow down, and body temperature decreases. Stages 3 and 4 are deep sleep stages. It’s more difficult to awaken someone during these stages, and when awakened, a person will often feel groggy and confused for a few minutes. Stages 3 and 4 are the most refreshing of the sleep stages it is this type of sleep that we crave when we are very tired.
The final stage of the sleep cycle is known as REM sleep because of the rapid eye movements that occur during this stage. During REM sleep, other physical changes take place breathing becomes rapid, the heart beats faster, and the limb muscles don’t move. This is the stage of sleep when a person has the most vivid dreams.;
Insomnia Associated With Sleep Apnea And Its Treatment
Obstructive sleep apnea induces daytime sleepiness in a significant percentage of affected individuals. Both apnea severity and the level of daytime sleepiness affecting waking function can be negatively affected by the concomitant use of sedatives – particularly opiates and ethanol . In a subset of individuals with OSA, breathing disruption contributes to disordered sleep and insomnia. The treatment of OSA with positive airway pressure can improve sleep quality for such individuals . However for others, PAP therapy can exacerbate insomnia . At altitude and in patients with concomitant heart failure, PAP therapy can induce the development of complex / central apnea – a diagnosis associated with significant complaints of insomnia .
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How Is Insomnia Diagnosed
There is no specific test to diagnose insomnia. Your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions to learn more about your sleep problems and symptoms. The key information for the diagnosis of insomnia is reviewing your sleep history with your doctor. Your provider will also review your medical history and medications you are taking to see if they may be affecting your ability to sleep. You may also:
- Get a blood test: Your doctor may want you do a blood test to rule out certain medical conditions such as thyroid problems or low iron levels that can negatively impact sleep.
- Keep a sleep diary: You may be asked to write down your sleep patterns for one to two weeks This information can help your provider identify patterns or behaviors that interfere with rest.
- Complete a sleep study:Sleep studies are not necessary for diagnosing insomnia. If your doctor has concerns that your insomnia may be caused by sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, you may be referred. You may go to a sleep disorders center or do the study at home.
Lettuce Isnt Only For Salad
Turns out French fries arent French, but eating fried lettuce was a French folk remedy for insomnia. The ancient Egyptians had their own green insomnia cure. They believed in consuming lactucarium or lettuce opium, a milky substance secreted from certain varieties of lettuce greens. However, today lettuce opium is known mainly for its psychotropic effects, according to an article in vanwinkles.com. Weve now started wondering whether its just a coincidence that both the ancient Egyptians and the French in more modern times recommend consuming lettuce in different forms as a way of curing insomnia or whether there might indeed be some scientific basis to it, says Michael Acton Smith, a founder of calm.com, a meditation app to help you sleep.
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The Connection Between Insomnia And Addiction
In todays modern world, insomnia has proven to be a common occurrence. At least 25% of Americans experience symptoms of the disorder each year. Considering the stress of working long hours, constantly being connected via smartphones, and having to afford a high cost of living, its no wonder that sleep evades a large portion of the population. These problems are magnified when insomnia and addiction are present at the same time.
Addiction and insomnia frequently co-exist, as lack of sleep creates multiple physical and emotional issues that some individuals will attempt to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about half of the people that suffer from sleep disorders and regularly abuse alcohol and/or Narcotic drugs do so in order to enhance sleep.
Additionally, insomnia is one of the most common complaints among patients in recovery from a substance use disorder . Both continued abuse of and sustained abstinence from a substance alter sleep patterns, and this change can cause some recovering users to suffer from insomnia for days or even weeks. Many experience such intense insomnia that it prompts them to relapse just so they are able to sleep. This is especially true for alcoholics and those that were addicted to Benzodiazepines, as they start drinking or using again because they believe that the sedative effects will help them sleep normally.
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Smear Doggie Ear Wax On Your Teeth
The hair of the dog might cure a hangover, but back in the day, ear wax of the dog was one of the go-to insomnia cures. According to Gerolamo Cardano , a doctor and mathematician in Renaissance Italy whose other credits included being a founder of probability theory, sweet dreams could be yours by rubbing some canine ear wax across your pearly whites. Im not sure your teeth would agree. Check out the treatments that worked for former insomniacs.
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How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart Health
Getting good sleep isnt just important for your energy levelsits critical for your heart health, too. Learn how sleep is connected to heart health.
Sleep is not a luxury. It is critical to good health. Sleep helps your body repair itself. Getting enough good sleep also helps you function normally during the day.
Get enough sleep. Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night.1
Favorite Insomnia Advocacy Groups
Project Sleep is nonprofit organization dedicated to raising sleep disorder awareness and providing help to those with sleep disorders. The group awards scholarships to support students with sleep disorders and hosts events to raise help raise awareness about sleep disorders and the importance of sleep health. The group also disseminates information about how to support sleep disorders research.
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Favorite Products And Tech For People Who Have Trouble Sleeping
The Better Sleep Council is the consumer-education arm of the;International Sleep Products Association;. BSCs purpose is to provide education for consumers about sleep, health, and the products that are involved . BSC is run by bedding and sleep experts across the mattress and bedding industry. Find resources on the site about how to pick out a mattress, mattress upkeep, what else in your bedroom promotes a good nights sleep, and more.
Pzizz is a noise machine app that personalizes a mix of music optimized for sleep, voice narrations, and sound effects for each user. Your unique playlist is developed according to clinical sleep interventions and psychoacoustics research. The audio sequence you hear is intended to help quiet your mind and help you sleep.
This hypnosis and meditation app was created by the self-help audio author Glenn Harrold. The app features hypnotherapy and meditation recordings designed to alleviate stress and anxiety and help you get to sleep. The app was ranked as one of the top sleep apps by the;American Sleep Association.
With additional reporting by .
Why Do Teens Have Trouble Sleeping
Research shows that teens need at least 8½ hours of sleep a night. You don’t need to be a math whiz to figure out that if you wake up for school at 6:00 a.m., you’d have to go to bed at 9:00 p.m. to reach the 9-hour mark. Studies have found that many teens have trouble falling asleep that early, though. It’s not because they don’t want to sleep. It’s because their brains naturally work on later schedules and aren’t ready for bed.
During adolescence, the body’s rhythm is reset, telling a teen to fall asleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. This change in the circadian rhythm seems to happen because a teen’s brain makes the;hormone later at night than the brains of kids and adults do.
So, teens have a harder time falling asleep. Sometimes this delay in the sleepwake cycle is so severe that it affects a person’s daily activities. In those cases it’s called delayed sleep phase syndrome or “night owl” syndrome.
This isn’t the only reason teens lose sleep, though. Lots of people have insomnia trouble falling or staying asleep. The most common cause of insomnia is stress. But all sorts of things can lead to insomnia, including physical discomfort , emotional troubles , and even an uncomfortable sleeping environment . Exposing your eyes to excessive light at night through mobile devices, for instance also makes it harder to sleep.
Common sleep problems include:
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