Sleep is a natural, physiological state, in which it remains in an easily reversible disconnection from the environment. It is periodic, appears with a fairly fixed rhythmicity, has a similar duration of a few days to others, is accompanied by the characteristic brain and physiological changes and produces the effect of rest. If that dream is altered, any of these characteristics will be altered, and therefore the dream can be considered as abnormal or pathological.
Why is it necessary to sleep?
Neither in animals nor in human beings have we come to discover why it is necessary to sleep. No convincing reason has been found; in positive terms, a consequence of the dream helps us understand what positive effect it produces. However, in the negative sense, it has been seen that not sleeping produces harmful effects. It’s important to improve our quality of sleep by various means, such as wearing a sleeping earplug.
It has even been seen that it can cause in one or two weeks the death of animals like rats. It is also known how avoiding sleep has been a terrible mode of torture. The answer, therefore to the question of why you have to sleep must be given by answering the reverse question, i.e. What problems does not sleep produce? Therefore, thinking about health, we will review sleep disorders and their consequences in the short and long term.
There are more than 140 sleep diseases, and also many other diseases that affect the quality of sleep. Most diseases are accompanied by annoying symptoms, pain, or otherwise, that will make it difficult to maintain an adequate schedule, duration and sleep structure. Many drugs also produce unwanted effects on the structure of sleep. These are the so-called secondary sleep disorders. The most typical diseases that cause these disorders are those that affect the nervous system, but also psychiatric diseases, including anxiety, will be accompanied by sleep problems. On the other hand, many digestive, respiratory, tumor, infectious, toxic diseases also cause sleep disturbances.
Sleep diseases themselves are those whose initial and basic alteration is a sleep disorder. They are classified into insomnia (difficulty in starting, maintaining or prolonging sleep in a normal way), hypersomnia’s (tendency to sleep more than usual), parasomnias (presence of abnormal episodes during sleep, such as night terrors, nightmares), respiratory disorders of sleep (sleep apnea and snoring are typical), abnormal movements during sleep (shaking, agitation for example), sleep-wake cycle disorders (jet-lag, shift work, cycle time other than 24 hours) or isolated sleep disorders. In addition, the list is increased with a group of disorders that some specialists think may be sleeping sicknesses, but others do not admit it.
We all have at some time or another in our life some problem to sleep well, and it may seem to us that the dream is not restful. The important thing for us is to set the limit between what is normal, a variant of normality and disease. This limit is given by the impact that disorder produces in everyday life. If we have a nighttime discomfort that causes problems in living the next day is when we have to go to the doctor, to be able to diagnose if we suffer from a sleeping sickness or there is only a temporary mismatch of normal sleep.
The voluntary chronic decrease in habitual sleep time
An added problem in today’s civilization is the impossibility of maintaining a normal sleep rhythm for external reasons. We refer to work schedules that include nights (shifts, night jobs), transoceanic trips, or the need to work late and get up early the next day. This produces a decrease in total sleep that often fails to reach 7 hours of sleep a day, even if a nap is included. Approximately one-third of people in this situation carry it more or less well, but one third takes it regularly and the other third poorly. The effectiveness of normal sleep is not recovered by sleeping over the weekend, and medically it becomes like chronic insomnia. That is why a serious and important phenomenon.
Short-term consequences of sleeping poorly
A short-term sleep of short quality, in a day or in weeks, produces the so-called symptoms. That is, the person “feels” something, presents a symptom. These symptoms are more or less severe depending on the sleep disturbance, the duration of the disorder, and also on the physical and psychic way of being of the subject. They can be more or less limiting to lead a normal daily life. On the other hand, there are signs produced by a process that other people can corroborate, aspects that other people see or hear. When the symptoms or signs alter, the normal functionality is when you have to go to the doctor, find the precise diagnosis and start therapy.
The symptoms are variable, can appear separately or together, and are not specific to a specific disease. Some symptoms are more characteristic of a given disease, but in general, any sleep disorder could be accompanied by several of them. During the night itself, the most typical symptoms and signs produced by sleep disorders are frequent awakenings, snoring or the emission of other noises, the sensation of drowning, flashy dreams that produce agitation, awakening or fear of sleeping. Excessive night sweating, agitation, increased movement during sleep, palpitations may also appear. Lack of sleep, on the contrary, leads to not being able to fall asleep, which can cause anxiety, nervousness, spinning in bed, need to get up for a walk or eat,
The next morning the person may have a dry mouth, a headache or have a feeling of not resting well. Throughout the day, it is when other symptoms can be added, such as the ease of falling asleep, tiredness, fatigue, dribbling, feeling dizzy, difficulty concentrating on tasks, etc. The consequence of these symptoms will be the impact on ordinary tasks, such as the decrease in work performance or the possibility of accidents (traffic for example).
In the long term, months or years, symptoms usually become more bearable; that is, one gets used to their poor quality of sleep and their poor quality of life. You already know that you sleep and live badly. However, in addition to how annoying this may be, which can be a lot, the problem is the appearance of complications from other diseases that can be added. These are very different in nature and also variable in severity. Logically the most frequent are psychological or psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, change of character, personality disorder or changes in eating behavior. Less frequent but more important are neurological disorders (memory loss, difficulty concentrating, more or less extensive cerebral infarctions) or cardiovascular (arterial hypertension, heart attacks). Learn more about why lack of sleep is bad for your health.
We have reviewed the causes and consequences of poor-quality sleep. The idea to be transmitted is clear: it is not an unimportant matter, even if they are not serious diseases for life, they do affect the quality of life. And in the long term, they can also be complications for physical or mental health.