As per National Institute of Health (NIH), many adolescents are chronically sleep-deprived and hence at high risk of drowsy-driving crashes. Since this is such a serious subject, we are presenting this article based on the information available at NIH website!
National Institute of Health further states the following:
Loss of sleep creates an overwhelming and uncontrollable need to sleep and affects virtually all physiological functions. Sleep loss causes problems with memory and attention, complex thought, motor responses to stimuli, performance in school or on the job, and controlling emotions. Sleep loss may also alter thermoregulation and increase the risk for various physical and mental disorders.
Sleep loss affects personal safety on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that approximately 100,000 motor vehicle crashes each year result from a driver’s drowsiness or fatigue while at the wheel. Driving at night or in the early to mid afternoon increases the risk of a crash because those are times that our biological clocks make us sleepy. Drowsy driving impairs a driver’s reaction time, vigilance, and ability to make sound judgments. Many adolescents are chronically sleep-deprived and hence at high risk of drowsy-driving crashes. In one large study of fall-asleep crashes, over 50 percent occurred with a driver 25 years old or younger.
Types of Sleep Disorders
Problems with sleep could be due to many lifestyle choices or any of the following reasons:
- Environmental noise
- Temperature changes
- Change in surroundings
- Alcohol abuse can cause or exacerbate sleep disorders.
- and many more such factors
Here are some of the most common sleep disorders:
1. Lack of Sleep
Lack of sleep may be caused by emotional or physical discomfort, stress, environmental noise, extreme temperatures, or jet lag, or may be the side effect of medication.
Some individuals try to overcome lack of sleep by drinking alcoholic beverages. Alcohol inhibits REM sleep and the deeper, restorative stages of sleep, and therefore does not promote good, restful sleep.
2. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
This can be a potentially life-threatening disorder in which breathing is interrupted during sleep. An estimated 12 million Americans have OSA as per NIH.
Treatment for adult OSA can include behavioral therapy (losing weight, changing sleeping positions, and avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and sleeping pills), use of mechanical devices (continuous positive airway pressure to force air through the nasal passages, or dental appliances that re-position the lower jaw and tongue), and surgery to increase the size of the airway.
3. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
People with RLS have unpleasant leg sensations and an almost irresistible urge to move the legs. Symptoms are worse during inactivity and often interfere with sleep.
Some people with mild cases of RLS can be treated by exercise, leg massages, and eliminating alcohol and caffeine from the diet. Others require pharmacological treatment, and it may take some time to determine the right medication or combination of medications for the individual.
This is a chronic sleep disorder that usually becomes evident during adolescence or young adulthood and can affect both men and women. The main characteristic of narcolepsy is excessive and overwhelming daytime sleepiness (even after adequate nighttime sleep). A person with narcolepsy is likely to become drowsy or to fall asleep at inappropriate times and places. Narcolepsy is not the same as simply becoming tired or dozing in front of the TV after a day’s work.
There is no definitive cure for narcolepsy, but several treatment options alleviate various symptoms. Treatment is individualized depending on the severity of the symptoms, and it may take weeks or months for the optimal regimen to be worked out. Treatment is primarily by medications, but lifestyle changes are also important.
This involves sleepwalking, sleep talking, enuresis (bed-wetting), and sleep terrors.
Sleep walking, sleep talking, and sleep terrors are more common in children than adults. Children generally have no memory of such events, usually do not require treatment, and usually outgrow the disorder.
How to Deal with These Problems?
You need to consult your doctor and go through a thorough check ups so that your doctor can help you in the right way.
But if you are looking for prevention, then you need to pay attention to what NIH says:
Many Sleep Disorders are due to Lifestyle Choices and it can be improved if you take preventive steps!
Tips for a Good Sleep!
Problems with sleep can be due to lifestyle choices and can result in problem sleepiness—that is, feeling sleepy at inappropriate times. So if we pay attention to our lifestyle and modify it to ensure that we get the right amount of deep sleep, some of these problems can be avoided.
Are you ready for some useful tips for deep sleep?
Sleep Tip # 1 – Identify Your Sleep Pattern & Habits
Identify your best sleep pattern & habits and then stick to it. This means you should identify what is the best time for you to go to bed, what is the best time for you to get up in the morning, what is the best time for you to take dinner etc. You got the idea!
Sleep Tip # 2 – Identify Your Sleep Posture
Identify your best sleep posture and then stick to it. You should experiment with your postures and ask your partner to help you if required so that you can get the best posture identified and then maintain that posture to get good sleep.
Sleep Tip # 3 – Identify Your Best Sleep Place
Some people are very sensitive to their sleep place and they have hard time sleeping anywhere else. Even if you don’t have that problem, you may still find that you sleep better in a particular bedroom or a place. If that is the case, you may like to move your bedroom to that place.
Sleep Tip # 4 – Meditate
Meditation or deep breathing is a good technique to calm down your mind before you go to bed. Some people can achieve this by doing prayer before going to bed.
Sleep Tip # 5 – Get the Right Mattress
Every one is unique and what works for me, may not work for you. So experiment with various type of mattresses and then decide the best one which works for you.
Sleep Tip # 6 – Eat the Right Food
There are some foods which help you with good sleep and you should eat these foods more often to get good sleep.
- Montmorency cherries are good because they have about 6 times the amount of melatonin than a regular cherry.
- Pumpkin seeds contain high amounts of zinc, which can help the brain convert tryptophan into serotonin. Serotonin levels are typically low in people who cannot stay asleep and wake throughout the night.
- Scottish Oatmeal is a smart choice for a bedtime snack. The Scottish recommend a bowl of oatmeal in the evening to get you feeling nice and sleepy.
Sleep Tip # 7 – Take Herbs
There are many well known herbs and some of these are as follow:
- Melatonin, a herb is known to support sleep and circadian rhythms.
- Valerian is a herb that has been used since ancient times for insomnia and nervousness.
- Chamomile, like Valerian, is a traditional herbal that has been used since ancient times to fight lack of sleep.
While taking any herb, you should always consult with your doctor…
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