A good, refreshing sleep is very important for all of us as it helps solidify and consolidate memories, restores and rejuvenates the various body functions, helps to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesise hormones. Dr Vivek Nangia, director and head, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, brings to the light the necessity of a balanced sleep routine.
Too little or too much sleep, both can be harmful. While adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, one-year-olds need roughly 11 to 14 hours, school-age children between 9 and 11 hours, and teenagers between 8 and 10 hours.
During these critical periods of growth and learning, younger people need an important dose of slumber for optimal development and application.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) refers to a bent to nod off, nod, or doze easily in relaxed or sedentary situations, or a requirement to exert extra effort to avoid sleeping in these situations. Unwanted sleepiness can also manifest as “sleep attacks” (irresistible urges to sleep), occurring not only during monotonous situations conducive to sleep, but also in situations where the patient is actively engaged in a task.
In addition to frank sleepiness, the EDS can cause related symptoms, including poor memory, reduced concentration or attention, tiredness, easy fatigability and irritability. Persons with excessive daytime sleepiness are in danger of automobile and work-related incidents and have poorer health than comparable adults.
The most common causes of excessive daytime sleepiness are as follows:
* Sleep deprivation
* Obstructive sleep apnea
* Sedating medications
* Shift workers
* Other possible causes of excessive daytime sleepiness include certain medical and psychiatric conditions and sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy.
Adolescents, older persons, and shift workers are prone to suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness. The most common explanation for daytime sleepiness is sleep deprivation or insufficient sleep, which can reflect poor sleep “hygiene” (behaviours impacting sleep) or self-imposed or work/socially-dictated sleep deprivation. Some common causes of sleep deprivation include excessive or inconsistent work hours, personal obligations and an underlying medical condition.
Sleepiness is the most commonly reported side-effect of certain pharmacologic agents that act on the central nervous system. The modulation of sleep and wakefulness is a complex process involving multiple factors and systems.
Correctly diagnosing the cause of excessive sleepiness is important for determining the best treatment. The specific treatment for excessive sleepiness entirely depends on the cause.
However, some simple lifestyle changes may help people get a better night’s sleep. These include:
* Eating a healthful, balanced diet
* Limiting caffeine and alcohol intake
* Exercising regularly
* Creating a relaxing sleep environment
* Taking a warm bath before bedtime
* Keeping a consistent sleep schedule
Excessive sleepiness is not a disorder in itself but a symptom of insufficient sleep or an underlying health condition. People who experience excessive sleepiness may experience the following:
* Mental fog
* Inability to focus
Excessive sleepiness may also cause:
* Difficulty waking up or getting out of bed in the morning
* Feeling sluggish and unmotivated throughout the day
* Napping frequently throughout the day
* Falling asleep at inappropriate times, such as while driving or during meals
* Lapses in attention
* Loss of appetite
* Difficulty remembering events throughout the day
* Difficulty concentrating
* Poor performance in work or school activities.