Could you have a sleep disorder?

How many hours of sleep do you get a night? The recommended length is between seven and nine hours but most people don’t manage that. Under six hours though is classed as a lack of sleep so it is a very fine line.

Sleep is essential to our bodies – humans can last longer without food than without sleep. Not just physically but mentally as well, sleeping is downtime for our bodies and minds.

But it is estimated that over 45% of the world’s population has a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders are a lot more than snoring or insomnia.

Sleep disorders

There are several categories of sleep disorder

  • Abnormal sleep behaviour disorders, such as sleepwalking and nightmares.
  • Circadian rhythm sleep disorders.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness disorders, the extreme of which is narcolepsy.
  • Insomnia.
  • And ‘other’ general disorders, such as bedwetting.

A lack of sleep not only makes people grumpy and irritable it affects concentration, attention span, reaction times and reasoning. This can be enough to make everyday tasks like driving and operating machinery dangerous.

When we are sick or injured we sleep more and that is happening on a smaller scale every night. A lack of sleep can cause obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Stress and depression can cause and be caused by sleep disorders such as insomnia.

So sleep has a knock on effect into the day that is more than just yawning and drinking more coffee.

The blue light of a mobile phone screen

Modern technology is often called in to help solve these problems, such as light therapy to help those with circadian rhythm sleep disorders. In the opposite way that same technology can be causing the issues in the first place.

Daylight and darkness gives the body cues as to when is the proper time to sleep and to release the sleep hormone melatonin. Artificial light is in the same part of the light spectrum as sunlight and can trick the body out of its normal circadian rhythm.

This happens to people working night shifts, to those living in the far northern areas of the planet and to people using devices like mobile phones, laptops and tablets. Using your phone at night could be contributing to sleep deprivation. Find out more at blue light explained.

How much sleep do you get every night? Do you feel it is enough?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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