Sleep is a thing of joy, so blissful and so relaxing. But sleep is not acommodity which you can buy. It is a bliss that nature has provided within yourself. It is a gift which should be preserved for life. Sleep is also a fascinating biological process that its innumerable users can neither control nor understand. A lion sleeps almost 20 hours a day, many birds sleep while flying, a horse sleeps standing with its knees locked, and seals sleep differently while in water than when on land. Sleep makes life better to live and vibrant to enjoy just like your mobile performs better after a switch off and restart. The brain rests and recuperates during sleep to function optimally for a longer period of time. Since the brain is a master organ, its optimum function ensures better body performance and organ optimization.
For a body to function at its best capabilities, it should sleep for seven to eight hours a day, mostly during the night at a single stretch. Optimum sleep is not a waste of time and shouldn’t be discouraged because inadequate sleep may lead to early life heart attack or even death. At this point of time, sleep deprivation has attained a pandemic proportion with people glued to their mobile with sleep-filled eyes. This behaviour is antinature and might be responsible for many cases of sudden deaths. This same behaviour is responsible for so many cases of anxiety, depression and attention deficit issues. Beware of excessive LED light exposure. Stress, a sedentary lifestyle and subsequent obesity have emerged as a dangerous triad affecting the lives of young people who are becoming victims of sleep disorders with a lot of life complications. Two major sleep disorders are being witnessed by medical professionals – insomnia and hypersomnia.
Insomnia is caused by poor sleep induction and then equally poor maintenance of sleep. As a result of this, even the daytime becomes stressful because the concerned person remains apprehensive about night sleep. Sleeping pills, too, become ineffectual and even burdensome in younger people. The pill-induced sleep is not significantly restful and there might be a hangover the next morning and a feeling of low self-esteem. Children and very young adults might have episodes of sleepwalking and sleeptalking, both are actually signs of sleep deprivation. All these disorders are matters of grave concern. On the other side of the sleep spectrum, there are people who sleep and sleep. This condition of excessive and uncontrollable sleep is called hypersomnia. A person may sleep continuously for 48 hours yet doest feel awake and fresh. This type of sleep is not restorative. Such a person can doze off during driving, talking, walking, working or even when having meals! This is a really dangerous and highly embarrassing situation. Both these contrasting situations have no tailored treatment and are very complex situations to manage. Nothing works definitely for hypersomnia and for managing insomnia only sleeping pills are prescribed. There are very few competent sleep professionals, and most of the socalled sleep clinics are mere farces with the prime motive of making money. Still, there are some genuine professionals but one has to find them. Management of sleep in many people may require multiple professionals like cognitive behaviour therapists, psychoanalysts, physicians to rule out underlying medical conditions, weight management experts and expert sleep therapists. India needs lots of such people because of its rapid urbanization but most of the brilliant students know of only 7-8 professions and are wasting their energies there. At this juncture, only a medical practitioner with extra interest in sleep disorders or a few specialized clinics is of some help.