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Sleep and sleep disturbance

Why a person sleeps, no one knows. It is known, however, that without sleep it is impossible, that it is important for the renewal and rest of the organism. No one has yet discovered why one sleeps and what exactly the mechanisms of sleep are, although much more is known about sleep after the introduction of EEG (electroencephalographic) methods than before.

Sleep consists of four phases, of which the REM phase (phase of fast eye movements) is the part when a person dreams, but the so-called deep phases of sleep in which practically nothing happens, but they are responsible for real rest and relaxation. They occur only in a night’s sleep and several times during the night. With age, their number decreases, so older people, not only sleep less, but their sleep can never be as invigorating as young people.


Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is very dangerous and leads to psychotic symptoms. Experiments have been performed on human volunteers and it has been scientifically established that sleep deprivation of 72 hours or more leads to psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and crazy ideas.


Sleep disorders

Sleep disorders occur on the wake-sleep line. They are divided into general sleep disorders, insomnia (insomnia) and excessive sleep (hypersomnia).


1. General sleep disorders:

KNEE, the most common and everyday phenomenon that occurs due to a decrease in the tone of the tongue and the muscles of the pharynx. It occurs in the REM phase, but also in other phases, which means when we dream, but also when we do not dream. The decrease in tone can occur due to various inflammations, but also because in certain phases we have a decrease in the tone of that musculature. In order to determine the reason for snoring, you should first determine if everything is OK with the throat, the root of the tongue and the nose. All drugs that are taken to reduce and prevent snoring work to maintain muscle tone.

Bruxism (gnashing of teeth) – occurs as a consequence of contraction of the jaw muscles and always occurs in the REM phase. It most often occurs in very tense and anxious people, who transfer their anxiety to sleep. This problem is treated by taking sedatives at bedtime.

Speech in sleep – also never occurs outside of sleep, as well as moving the limbs during sleep. After waking up, amnesia always occurs, and there is usually a connection to some daily events that are imprinted in a person’s memory and that he took with him to sleep. In this case, it is important for the patient to contact a psychiatrist, to record an EEG and to receive adequate therapy.

Nocturnal enuresis – is common in children, especially those who have difficulty waking up. This is a very high tone of the parasympathetic nerve, which is always high during the night. As with speech in a dream, a child who pees in bed during sleep has no idea what happened when he wakes up in the morning. Choice therapy is psychotherapy with the addition of medication in some cases.

Night terrors and somnambulism very often tell us that these are epileptic crises of a psychomotor type. A neuropsychiatrist’s examination and EEG findings are necessary, as well as prescribing adequate therapy. With antiepileptics, these disorders completely disappear.

Hypnagogic hallucinations (before falling asleep) occur after great physical or mental fatigue. Then people complain that they do not distinguish dream from reality. Good rest and reorganization of life can solve the problem.


2. Insomnia

The most common is sleep disorders. It is defined as a disturbance in the normal course of the sleep cycle.
The sleep cycle consists of four phases of sleep that change during the night in a certain rhythm. There are jumps between deep sleep and wakefulness, prolonged sleep time and the phenomenon of early awakening, which are recognizable in depressed patients.

Premature awakening – this is a reduced activity of the sleep system. That system is not active enough and we have depressive insomnia in people suffering from endogenous depression. Their deep sleep phase is reduced, so their sleep does not bring refreshment, it is full of inner tearing, and dreams are usually not beautiful. It is necessary to contact a psychiatrist, and the therapy is a combination of antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.

Awakening during the night – Occurs when we have an outburst of the emotional stimulus system, which occurs because we bring a lot of daily content into sleep. This is especially common in neurotic and psychotic patients. It is indicated to contact a psychiatrist in order to prescribe adequate therapy.

Mixed forms – appear in moments of ordinary nervousness, but also in more severe forms of mental disorders. With the help of a psychiatrist, the problem is solved!

The pace of life today is such that depressions and neuroses are on the rise, so we have a lot of people who seemingly function well, but latently lead to depression or some other type of neurosis. Here, sleep disorders appear as an alarm to warn that urgent treatment is needed.

3. Hypersomnia-running to sleep

This is about narcolepsy, ie the increased need for sleep day and night. People who suffer from hypersomnia can fall asleep countless times during the day, in any position, but they immediately start dreaming. A person who has narcolepsy can sleep and walk, and even do some chores by napping. This can also be monitored on the EEG. One of the subtypes of narcolepsy is Pickwick’s syndrome, which occurs in people who are very obese and in whom there is a cessation of breathing and loud snoring, which acts as if a person is suffocating, and then suddenly wakes up. It is necessary to record an EEG and include neuroleptics in narcolepsy.
Dreams-way to the unconscious

People have been fascinated by sleep since ancient times. On the ancient Greek vases, there are drawings of a sleeping man carried by 2 gods Hypnos – the god of sleep and Thanatos – the god of death, but it is not known which of them will win, whether this is just a dream or maybe death. Dreams are only one part of sleep, but we remember sleep by that part. A man who sleeps for 8 hours dreams for 2 hours, more often in the second half of the night before dawn. Everyone dreams, but not everyone remembers dreams. When it comes to dreams, Freud is unavoidable. According to Freud, the dream has a manifest and latent part. The manifest part is what we remember, and the latent part is the symbolic message and association with the dream. Dreams are charged with emotions, they reign unconsciously, timelessly and forever. Dreams can tell us what we must not consciously admit to ourselves. Freud also said that dreams are the royal path to the unconscious, and the path to the unconscious opens the door to one’s own personality. In self-analysis of dreams, a person is always biased, so it is better for a qualified psychotherapist to do that.
How to prevent sleep disorders?

First of all, all technical disturbances that can occur during sleep should be warned. The bed and pillow should be of good quality and appropriate. You should not go to bed with a full stomach, you should make sure that the airways are clean and passable. Mint or linden tea, as well as some other warm beverage that relaxes is recommended. Older people, as well as newer medicine, say that it is good to drink a glass of red wine before going to bed, because it has a soporific effect. In any case, if there are some of the problems described in the text, you should not take medications by heart “because they helped a neighbor or godmother”. Very often, just one visit to a neuropsychiatrist can solve the sleep problems that have plagued us for years.

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