With one eye open

No Sleep

Sleeping disorders may be a serious problem for a large number of people, but they’re frequently underestimated and often neglected — a huge mistake, since most physicians insist that getting adequate sleep is of utmost importance.

Disturbed : Stress can be one of the reasons for sleeping disorder.

These disorders go beyond the occasional bouts of nightly restlessness. They may stem from a psychological issue — such as stress and tension, which can prevent someone from falling asleep — or may have a physical root.

There are various kinds of sleeping disorders, the most common being insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep.

However, problems like restless leg syndrome, or narcolepsy, wherein a person has sudden attacks of intense sleepiness during the day, are equally serious. Metrolife speaks to a few doctors and psychologists to find out how to combat these disorders.

Dr Dayananda, a physician, explains that sleeping disorders include a whole spectrum of events. Other than depression-related sleeplessness, he points to spinal pain as another common reason. “Such disorders could also be caused because of a metabolic condition, such as diabetes or hypertension. Obstructive sleep apnoea, wherein a person’s breathing gets obstructed for a brief period when they’re asleep, is also serious, and often results in daytime sleepiness,” he says, explaining that this can transform into a vicious cycle.

When it comes to the psychological angle, it’s more difficult to pinpoint an exact cause. Dr Usha Rao, a psychiatrist, points out, “Even the smallest tension in routine life can lead to sleeplessness, because a person thinks repeatedly about it. Mental disorders like depression and anxiety — including suicidal tendencies — also give rise to sleeping problems, because such people are obsessed with trying to find a solution to their problems.”

Gautam, a business management student, agrees from personal experience that tension and pressure can result in long hours of sleeplessness. However, he believes that training yourself to deal with these problems can rectify some of the more minor sleep-related problems that people face.

“When I was in school, I had this issue during exams. I faced a lot of pressure and expectation from different quarters, and I had problems falling asleep because of this. But after coming to college, I’m not as stressed. I’ve learnt to deal with this kind of pressure,” he explains.

Although one may assume that sedatives are the perfect solution to a sleeping disorder, Dr Dayananda insists that this should only be a last resort.

“Lifestyle management and a good exercise regime can also cure the problem to an extent. Surgical treatment is a further step which can help, and which is used in cases of patients who have a deviated nasal septum, which makes breathing difficult,” he says.

In the case of psychological disorders, maintains Dr Rao, counselling is the best option.

“Medication can help, but generally counselling is enough. Patients get the chance to talk about their problems, and in the process psychiatrists talk to them about how they can bring about a solution. Certain relaxation methods can also be taught to them, which are quite useful,” she concludes.

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