What Causes Sleep Problems?
Psychologists and other scientists who study the causes of sleep disorders have found that such problems can directly or indirectly be tied to abnormalities in various systems, such as:
-Brain and nervous system
For women, pregnancy and hormonal shifts including those that cause premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or menopause and its accompanying hot flushes can also intrude on sleep.
Also certain medications such as decongestants, steroids and some medicines for high blood pressure, asthma, or depression can cause sleeping difficulties as a side effect.
It is a good idea to talk to a physician or mental health provider about any sleeping problem that recurs or persists for longer than a few weeks.
Furthermore, unhealthy conditions, disorders and diseases can also cause sleep problems. These can include:
-Pathological sleepiness and insomnia
-Chronic pain and accidents
-Hypertension and elevated cardiovascular risks (heart attack and stroke)
-Emotional disorders (depression, bipolar disorder)
-Obesity; metabolic syndrome and diabetes
-Alcohol and drug abuse.
Groups that are at particular risk for sleep deprivation include night shift workers, physicians (average sleep = 6.5 hours a day; residents = 5 hours a day), truck drivers, parents and teenagers.
What Are The Signs of Excessive Sleepiness?
Irritability and moodiness are some of the first signs a person experiences from lack of sleep. If a sleep-deprived person doesn’t sleep after the initial signs, the person may then start to experience apathy, slowed speech and flattened emotional responses, impaired memory and an inability to be creative or multitask. Needing an alarm clock in order to wake up on time, relying on the snooze button and having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning are also pointers.
How long can a person go without any sleep?
Based on small animal studies in which the subjects have been exposed to extreme sleep deprivation, scientists have estimated that the average human may not live past 10 days without sleep. Not as clear, however, are the exact physiological mechanisms resulting from sleep deprivation that ultimately lead to death. The next part will be the concluding part of our sleep series. Thanks for reading.