Lack of sleep is a problem that has continued to grow out of control in the past few years. People's lives and schedules get busier and more demanding, but there are still the same amount of hours in a day. Increased stress and anxiety from this type of life style has also found its way into our dreams. Troubled sleepers are increasingly turning to prescription drugs, relying on a nightly dose of sleeping pills to get a full six to nine hours of sleep.
If you are a troubled sleeper, or insomniac, you should carefully analyze the different types of sleeping disorders and how they might affect you. Disorders can be broken down into three major categories that describe their root cause.
- Extrinsic -- These are things that occur outside of your body, but not outside of your control. Things like poor sleep environment, time constraints dependent on work, and high doses of caffeine are all extrinsic factors that contribute to poor sleep quality. In and of themselves these things may not necessarily be disorders, but coupled with cases of sensitivity to external stimulus like light or caffeine, they can become real problems.
- Intrinsic -- Disorders that occur within the body and effect things like brain activity and the body's physiological state. These disorders will often interfere with the body's natural adjustment to a more relaxed state of breathing and decreased temperature. Things like apnea specifically will abruptly shatter a normal and relaxed breathing pattern, leading to quick degradation of sleep quality.
- Circadian Rhythm -- Any sleeping problem that is associated with the timing of going to sleep. Our body operates on it's own clock, but over time it adjusts to our societies norm and standards. Some people find themselves unable to make that adjustment and are afflicted by an inability to fall asleep before certain hours of the day. This can be extremely problematic when taking into consideration a normal work schedule. Anyone that has suffered from more serious cases of "jetlag" will have a better understanding of circadian rhythm disorders.
Extrinsic disorders are typically the easiest to fix. Simple adjustments can be made to the environment that are safe in every way. Other internal disorders may instead require the attention of a professional. Hard to identify disorders are particularly difficult to deal with because it isn't always clear what the originating cause is. Some lack of sleep symptoms might look exactly the same, but the underlying causes can be vastly different. If you suspect that you might be suffering from any of the intrinsic sleeping disorders contact a professional sleep specialist.
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