Insomnia is dangerous
Doctors would spend a lot of effort if they decided to develop a separate diagnostic system for each of 88 sleep disorders. Therefore, they agreed to consider the quality of sleep in this patient as a measure of healthy sleep. Ultimately, they need to know whether a dream fulfills its most important task: does it give us the optimal charge of vigor for the day. If he doesn’t cope with it, he doesn’t bring people refreshment and rest, and regularly he has to improve it with the help of medicine. What are some signs of a serious, possibly medical intervention, sleep disorder?
The basic rule is this: if, firstly, for at least four weeks, almost every night there are problems with falling asleep or frequent awakenings, secondly, the next morning the person feels sleepy and, thirdly, during the day he feels attacks of drowsiness or an inexplicable decline of efficiency – you need to go to the doctor. In this case, there must be at the same time at least two of the above factors. Bad sleep in itself is not a sleep disorder. Usually, patients come to the therapist and complain about anything — just not about sleeping problems.
They often, especially in the mornings, have a headache, blood pressure is elevated and practically does not decrease from drugs, for no apparent reason they have long felt lethargy, absent-mindedness, decay of creative forces, bad mood, irritability, overwork or melancholy; they have no mood to have sex, and sometimes real impotence. Somnologists have long warned their fellow therapists: if a patient lists several non-specific complaints, such as decreased performance, constant fatigue or decreased immunity, “the therapist should, among other things, think about a possible sleep disorder,” says Göran Hayak from the Medical Center somnology in Regensburg. The doctor must immediately ask the following questions: “Do you often feel sleepy during the day?
Does it happen that you unwittingly fall asleep in the middle of the day?
” If the patient answers these questions positively, you need to take action. Do not be alarmed: for many non-serious sleep disorders, it is enough for a doctor to give some advice on better organization of night rest and point out lack of sleep as the real reason for complaints. It happens that the doctor should only explain that the patient underestimates the time he needs to sleep, that it is impossible to work until late hours or that it is better to turn off the TV one hour earlier in the future.
If the problems are caused by the environment, you should try to eliminate their source – whether it is too hot battery, poor sound insulation of windows or snoring spouse. Experts do not get tired of repeating: the better patients are informed about the meaning, course and need for sleep, the less they have problems with insomnia. “Who knows everything about a dream, sleeps more easily, which means it is better,” writes Jurgen Culli, a sleep technologist from Regensburg. A good example is the usual phases of awakening, which become longer with age, because sleep in general becomes more superficial. If their duration exceeds three minutes, we are able to recall them in the morning.
If a person begins to worry about this and suspect a sleep disorder in himself, his blood circulation speeds up and stress hormones are released. Both that, and another is capable to cause lengthening of night awakenings. As a result, the next day a person becomes even more worried, falls asleep worse and falls into a spiral of growing expectations, which in the end can lead to a real sleep disorder. Timely explanation of the doctor will not allow such an escalation. Many other problems with sleep are associated with transient problems, such as grief for the dead, stress during exams, disturbances in the family … In this case, sleep usually improves if the doctor points to the existing connection or advises to actively deal with the problem or resort to professional psychotherapeutic care.
It is best not to postpone the visit to the doctor, otherwise the sleep disorder can take root and become chronic. Sometimes a sleep disorder is only a symptom of some other physical or mental illness, such as chronic pain in case of rheumatism or fibromyalgia, or thyroid dysfunction, which causes nighttime hormonal imbalances, as well as alcoholism or depression. In these cases, it is necessary to treat the main reason, if possible with a specialist doctor.
In particular, scientists have found that an amazingly large number of people with chronic fatigue syndrome, that is, complaints of constant fatigue for no apparent reason, turned out to be sick with depression upon closer inspection. In general, a general practitioner, well versed in sleep problems, rarely prescribes a referral to a somnologist. Somnologists are doctors with a specialization in sleep medicine, who usually also have specialized medical education in one of the important areas for somnology.
These can be general practitioners, pulmonologists, neuropathologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, or ENT doctors, usually working in a sleep laboratory. When and under what circumstances their intervention is necessary, explained, in particular, in the “Guide to non-refreshing sleep”, published by the German Society for Scientific and Medical Somnology. It reports that people with a chronic feeling of lack of sleep are scary: “In Germany as a whole, there are about 8 million people with a typical clinical picture for non-refreshing sleep.” If you focus solely on the phenomenon of insomnia, then women suffer from it much more often than men; The most vulnerable age is 50-70 years.