Sleep appears necessary for our nervous systems to work properly. Too little sleep leaves us drowsy and unable to concentrate the next day. It also leads to impaired memory and physical performance and reduced ability to carry out math calculations. If sleep deprivation continues, hallucinations and mood swings may develop. Experts believe sleep gives neurons used while we are awake, a chance to shut down and repair themselves. Without sleep, neurons may become so depleted in energy or so polluted with by-products of normal cellular activities that they begin to malfunction. Sleep also may give the brain a chance to exercise important neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate from lack of activity.
Various Sleep Disorders include (but are not limited to):
- Insomnia- The predominant complaint in insomnia disorder is difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or non-restorative sleep, occurring at least 3 nights per week for at least 3 months, despite adequate opportunity for sleep. The sleep disturbance (or associated daytime fatigue) causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
- Narcolepsy- The essential features of sleepiness in narcolepsy is irresistible attacks of refreshing sleep that occur almost daily (at least 3x per week) over at least 3 months. Narcolepsy generally produces cataplexy, which most commonly presents as brief episodes (seconds to minutes) of sudden, bilateral loss of muscle tone precipitated by emotions, typically laughing and joking. Muscles affected may include those of the neck, jaw, arms, legs, or whole body, resulting in head bobbing, jaw dropping, or complete falls. Individuals are awake and aware during cataplexy.
- Hypersomnolence- Hypersomnolence, also known as hypersomnia, is characterized by recurrent episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged night-time sleep. Rather than feeling tired due to lack of or interrupted sleep at night, persons with hypersomnolence are compelled to nap repeatedly during the day, often at inappropriate times such as during work, during a meal, or in the middle of a conversation. These daytime naps usually provide no relief from symptoms.