Sleep is a recurring state of relaxation. In general, we spend one third of our life in sleeping. During sleeping our body movements largely diminished that result into reducing our external behavior. Sleep is an alternative stage of consciousness. Sleep also inhibits our sensory activities, muscle movements and also reduce interaction with outside entities.
Sleeping is as much important as food and water for our body because it helps us in many ways. A good night sleeps help our body to maintain many functions such as brain functioning. When we get a proper sleep at proper time it helps our body to improve concentration and also improve our memory. A healthy sleep also helps our body to repair cell damage happened during the day. It also improves our immune system and helps to prevent certain type of diseases. That’s why, sleep is as much important as our other physical needs.
How Much Sleep Do We Need
There is no any hard and fast rule about how much sleep we need every day. The need of sleep is changes with our age. The amount of sleep that we need also changes from one individual to another individual of same age. There is nothing like “number of sleep hours” can work for every individual of same age. Some people have tendency to sleep only few hours at night and still refresh during day and performing their work with full potential.
The new born babies sleep 16 to 18 hours per day. Babies sleep that much because sleep boost their body for growth and development, especially development of brain. School going children and teenagers sleep approximately 9.5 hours per night. Adult needs approximately 7-9 hours of sleep per night. After the age of 60 the sleep hours become shorter, lighter and disturbed due to multiple wakeups.
Sleep and Our Generation
Nowadays people do not get much sleep as their body requires. There are multiple reasons behind the disturbed sleep routines such as busy work schedule. People also cover around different activities and entertainment that make them awake. Our generation is so much involves in digital world and spends most of their sleep time on mobile phones and laptops. The late nights events and parties also disturb our sleep routines badly. Most of the people think that they can maintain their need of sleep by over sleeping on weekends. The idea of “Catch up” on missed is not adequate for every individual because it only depends on how much sleep-deprived a person is.
We all dream during sleeping. All our dreams are sometime relates to us and sometime shocked us. We approximately spend about 2 hours of our sleep in dreaming every night. Many of us mostly forget our dream and sometime people only remembers the theme of their dream and forget the rest of it. Sometime we don’t even remember that we even have any dream at night. On the other hand some people remember their whole dream with graphics. Some people have dreams with color and other remembers dreams in black and white. The purpose behind our dreams is unclear. Dreams can be experienced in different stages of sleep but mostly they happened during REM sleep.
Dream may help us to process our emotions. People mostly have dreams according to their thoughts and events happened during day time. Some time we dream about a person or thing that we think a lot during day time and maybe we have it in our unconscious mind. Our dreams relate to our situation that’s why people suffering from anxiety and stress have horrible dreams.
Freud’s Theory of Dreams
According to Sigmund Freud known as “father of psychology” dreams are depend on our unconscious mind. Our dreams are the clues about what happing in our unconscious mind. According to Freud our dreams are our desires that we repressed and hide due to some reason. Dreams are a way of wish-fulfillment of our repressed desires and wishes that we could not express due to societal norms and ethnicity. These repressed desires are our wishes that we denied and repressed and they become the part of our unconscious mind. During sleep our ego defense system that helps us to repress all the socially unethical desires is down. Then our repressed desires come to surface of consciousness in the form of dreams. That’s why mostly we have dream about our unfulfilled desires and wishes.
Brain Functioning in Sleep
Our brain functioning happened during sleep has a purpose and but this is still unclear that what it might be. That’s why no one properly explains the activities during sleep. All the activities happened during sleep is hidden from us because a little content of brain activities that happens during sleep also directly enters us into consciousness. There are some digital techniques present now to help us understanding sleep activities but these methods still are in their infancy. It may allow us to understand in better way about our sleep functioning.
When to Go to a Doctor?
People should know about the normality and abnormality of sleeping because poor sleep leads us to different diseases both physical and mental. The normality of sleep takes in a wide range. Normal sleep focuses on different things like amount of sleep we get and how refreshing our sleep is. It is also important that how much time we take to fall asleep and when we awake. The normal sleep also considers what happened in between our sleep. When we have abnormal sleep it has profound consequences on our mental and as well as physical health. That’s why, it is important to have check and balance of our sleep. People who have poor sleep habits and sleep less soundly think that they should not have actual sleep disorder. But our sleep affects us badly and we should focus when we have any change in our sleep routine and sleep pattern.
Signs of Sleep Disorder
These are the signs that help us to know that we are having a sleeping related problems and sleep disorder.
- Failure to get enough sleep or restful sleep
- Feeling tired upon waking or waking with a headache
- Chronic fatigue and Tiredness
- Sleepiness during the day
- Struggling to stay awake
- Difficulty concentrating at work or school
- Difficulty remembering things and controlling emotions
- Frequent urge to sleep during the day
- Snoring or ceasing to breathe during sleep
There are some disorders that help us to understand our sleep and we may find out when we have to see a doctor.
Sleep specialists divide sleep disorders into two categories Dyssomnias and Parasomnias for better understanding. In Dyssomnia people sleep in a large amount or in a small amount and sometime people sleep at the wrong time. In this type of disorders, sleep itself is pretty normal. On the other hand, in Parasomnias people have problems during sleep. People have abnormal physical activities during sleep and having problem when they fall asleep or waking up. In these disorders motor, cognitive, or autonomic nervous system processes become active during sleep or during the transitions between sleep and wakefulness.
This is the most common disorder nowadays. In this disorder people sleep briefly and restless. People with insomnia have difficulty in initiating sleep. They also have problem to maintain their sleep because they have frequent awakenings and unable to return to sleep again. This sleep disturbance causes distress and impairment into a person’s social, occupational and other important areas of life. If a person has these types of issues in three nights per week and persistently for three months he/she must go to a doctor.
Insomnia may be initiates firstly as a secondary problem. A person may be having other medical issues that initiate insomnia such as back pain. Some patients with insomnia may be using their beds for other activities than sleeping such as watching TV and eating food. These activities make them awake when they are on bed and want to sleep.
Sometime people having this disorder and they do not even realize that they have some issue. In this disorder person sleep excessively and for long time. Patients with this disorder have recurrent period of sleep and still they do not feel fresh and active. They have difficulty in being fully awake. If a person has these types of issues in three nights per week and persistently for three months he/she must go to a doctor.
The patient repeatedly awakens, instantly and completely, from terrible dreams that are recalled in frightening detail. Most contemporary nightmares quickly bring us full awake and we tend to recall them vividly. They are usually about something that threatens either our safety or our self-esteem. When someone repeatedly has long, terrifying dreams of that sort, or suffers from daytime sleepiness, irritability, or loss of concentration, he/she diagnosis with nightmare disorder.
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