Reduced performance, obesity, early wrinkles and other depressing consequences of insomnia
People who have experienced insomnia know that it can poison their lives. After not getting enough sleep at night, you feel exhausted all day. And at night again you are afraid to stay awake. Where this disorder comes from and how to deal with it — discussed with a doctor-somnologist.
Where does insomnia come from?
This is a condition when there is a violation of night sleep, despite the presence of necessary conditions. That is, the lack of sleep due to noise on the street or taking excessive amounts of caffeine at night is not insomnia. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, frequent night awakenings with the inability to fall asleep quickly, or early morning rises. There are two main systems in the brain — the activating system of wakefulness and the centers of sleep. As well as the internal biological clock, which, depending on the light, gives the command to a particular system. If it is day, the waking systems are active, and when night falls, the sleep centers take over the brain. If a failure occurs in the operation of this mechanism, then comes insomnia. For example, too much light in the evening or excessive activation of Wake systems during stress blocks the normal operation of sleep centers. A person goes to bed and cannot sleep because his brain is too active, full of information and an endless stream of thoughts.
Head of the center of somnology of the MEDSI clinical and diagnostic center on Krasnaya Presnya, doctor-somnologist of the highest qualification category, doctor of functional diagnostics of the highest category
Waking up 10-15 times a night is the norm
“If this situation occurs against the background of stress, it is a normal physiological reaction. But there is a situation when stress passes, there are no problems, and sleep is still disturbed. As a rule, this occurs because the brain “remembers” insomnia, associates the bed not with sleep, but with the place of constant struggle and the desire to fall asleep as soon as possible. Going to bed, a person begins to artificially escalate the problem, thinking that again he is waiting for a sleepless night, the waking systems are hyperactive and do not allow the centers of sleep to take over. The more people force themselves to sleep, the less likely they are to fall asleep. This is one of the most common patterns that explains why insomnia develops.
In addition, there is a variant of insomnia in people who do not have hyperactivity, but have impaired perception of time in their sleep. They think that the dream is absent, but in fact it is. Anyone wakes up 10-15 times during the night to change the position of the body, as a rule, these awakenings are not remembered. And people with insomnia remember every waking moment, but they don’t remember the time of sleep. This is called pseudo-insomnia.
As a rule, these variants develop in patients with chronic stress or with increased levels of anxiety and depression.”
Symptoms of insomnia
There are disorders that occur only during sleep and can be perceived as manifestations of insomnia:
sleep breathing disorders (sleep apnea syndrome),
nocturnal epilepsy or restless leg syndrome. Complaints with these conditions can be frequent night awakenings, unsleeping sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness. Only a night polysomnographic study can reveal the cause of insomnia and prescribe the correct treatment.
What health problems does insomnia promise?
During sleep, the brain is actively working, processing the information received during the day. Saves the necessary information and deletes all unnecessary data from memory. Therefore, chronic lack of sleep affects primarily memory. Reduced performance and concentration of attention.
People who go to bed late (after 00:00) or sleep less than four hours a night are at risk of becoming obese. This is due to the fact that the metabolism is disrupted, the production of hormones that increase appetite increases, and the production of hormones that process fat into energy falls.
Due to hormonal disorders, the formation of collagen and elastin — fibers that are responsible for the elasticity of the skin and protect it from the appearance of wrinkles-is disrupted. External signs of lack of sleep — red eyes, sallow complexion, lack of blush, bruises under the eyes, increased puffiness. A person with chronic insomnia looks older than his years.
Insomnia affects the immune system. People who are systematically sleep-deprived get colds on average three times more often than others. The risk of cancer increases.
Bad mood. Restless sleep is one of the main reasons for a bad mood in the morning. People who suffer from insomnia are twice as likely to develop depression, and improving nighttime sleep helps alleviate symptoms of the disease.
People with poor sleep quality are twice as likely to get into car accidents, and they have an increased risk of industrial injuries.
How to fight?
If insomnia occurs for the first time against the background of acute emotional stress, then a short course of taking sleeping pills (7-14 days) is possible. For some, light sedative herbal supplements or cognitive behavioral therapy are enough-a set of rules for healthy sleep:
don’t force yourself to sleep;
don’t lie in bed without sleep;
do not sleep during the day;
exclude psychoemotional stress before going to bed;
to reduce the time spent in bed;
The main thing is to understand that insomnia is a normal reaction, like a rise in temperature with the flu. One sleepless night does not affect the performance of the usual type of activity, except for those that require special care (drivers, dispatchers, operators).
If the stress has passed, and insomnia remains, then in each individual case, you need to deal with the situation. If insomnia persists, it is necessary to visit a somnologist more than three times a week for three consecutive months.