Sleep, normal, regular state of rest of an organism. In contrast to the waking state, sleep is characterized by a low level of physiological functions (blood pressure, breathing, heartbeat) and a relatively low response to external stimuli. Lack, surplus or irregularity of sleep can lead to different sleep problems. Some of these sleep problems can be unnoticeable, while others can be really serious and affect your health in general. A tremendous amount of knowledge has been accumulated about the central and peripheral mechanisms controlling and involving sleep. Basically, certain areas in the brain stem-the most primitive part of the brain and the part that controls such basic functions as breathing and heart rate-are involved in the control of sleep state, sleep problems and
A new field of clinical medicine-sleep medicine-is developing. Related to psychiatry and neurology, it deals with sleep problems, of which many kinds can be identified. Sleep problems are usually divided into three kinds: the insomnias, a group of problems producing difficulty in falling asleep or difficulty in staying asleep; hypersomnolence, characterized by too much sleep, or sleepiness when a person does not want to sleep, such as with narcolepsy; and episodic nocturnal events, consisting of disorders such as night terrors, nightmares, and sleepwalking or somnambulism. Insomnia consequences
and hypersomnolence are only symptoms and may have many different causes. For example, insomnia can be caused by such conditions as painful arthritis; by endocrine isturbances; by the use of certain chemical substances or by the withdrawal from others (including alcohol); by psychological problems, such as anxiety and depression; and by
disturbances in biological clocks such as jet lag. In terms of treatment, therefore, insomnia is not an illness that can be cured by a sleeping pill. Doctors must determine and treat the insomnia
consequences's underlying cause.
Millions of people worldwide suffer from different sleep problems. Insomnia is not actually an illness but it is only a symptom of far more bigger problems. And insomnia consequences can be very serious. Insomnia can appear at any age. And as for the duration, insomnia can last only for a couple of days or for several weeks. Sometimes even long term (indefitely) insomnia can occur. In most cases insomnia is caused by some sort of stress. Mental tension and nervousness can lead to a light, short term insomnia that last for less than a week. Long term insomnia is usually caused by environmental factors, for example living close to an airport. In such case you can get rid of your insomnia just by changing your environment. But long term insomnia can be sparked by far more serious reasons. Such medical conditions as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and many others can lead to a long term insomnia.
So, what can be done to treat insomnia consequences? As long as it is a complex problem there is no simple solution. The best way to do something with insomnia is exercise. In most cases of short term insomnia gym helps if performed on a regular basis. Very popular solution for insomnia (and for some other sleep problems) is the use of sleeping pills. But as recent studies show such pills provide short term remedy and can lead to even more serious sleep problems later. Such pills should not be used for a long time. And, of course, you should talk to your doctor before starting to take sleeping pills because there can be counter-indications for that. Sleeping pills can be even fatal if taken together with alcohol or some other drugs. And special control is needed for elder people taking sleeping pills. And, of course, it is always better to determine real source of malaise and treat then attack it, rather than just take sleeping pills against symptoms.