Sleep disorders are defined as changes in sleep patterns that can adversely affect your overall health. Common sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, sleepwalking, night terrors, and narcolepsy. Sleep disorders commonly worsen when individuals experience trauma, grief, anxiety, depression, and stress. Getting a good night of sleep is essential not only for treating these conditions but for performing your best during the day. When you are not getting enough sleep, every aspect of your life is affected. Sleep deprivation caused by sleep disorders can lead to long-term health consequences, affecting how the body sends and processes information. Approaching sleep disorders from a holistic perspective means examining the whole person, to find a treatment that is individualized and effective.
Phases of Non-REM Sleep
Your body needs sleep the same way it needs food and water to survive. While humans sleep, we cycle through non-REM and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Non-REM sleep has 3 phases, each lasting between 5 and 15 minutes. During the stages of Non-REM sleep, the body strengthens the immune system, regrows tissue, and builds bones and muscles.
Stage 1: Eyes are closed, but it is easy for you to wake up
Stage 2: The heart rate slows and body temperature drops. This stage lasts for about 10-25 minutes, and you are in light sleep
Stage 3: This is the deep sleep stage, where you harder to wake up, and may feel disoriented if someone were to wake you.
REM Sleep also happens in stages, the first stage usually lasting about 10 minutes. The subsequent stages get longer and longer, and the last one is usually around 60 minutes. We often associate REM sleep with dreaming, but this stage of sleep is important for a lot more. During REM sleep, areas of the brain are stimulated that are associated with an increase in the production of proteins, associated with learning. Heart rate, eye movement, and breath quicken during this stage.
Effects of Poor Sleep Habits
Poor sleep can drain your mental abilities and your physical health. During sleep, your body restores its chemical balance, heals itself, and increases memory retention. Sleep deprivation can cause:
- Weakened immune system
- Mood changes
- High blood pressure
- Higher risk for diabetes
- Weight gain
- Low sex drive
- Risk of heart disease
- Poor balance
Sleep disorders can be a result of other conditions such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief, but can also cause or worsen these conditions. If you are experiencing excessive sleepiness, frequent yawning, irritability, or daytime fatigue, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. The first thing to examine is your overall sleep hygiene. Setting a sleep schedule with fixed bedtime and wake-up hours, following a nightly routine, getting daylight exposure, and optimizing bedroom setup with block-our curtains and comfortable bedding can help improve the quality of your sleep.
Sleep hygiene can be a great first step towards improving the quality of sleep, but those struggling with severe sleep disorders or sleep apnea could require further treatment. At Ballen Medical and Wellness, our Psychiatry and Counseling Team provide a variety of services including Individual Therapy, Group Therapy, Trauma Counseling, Divorce Counseling, and treatment for depression and anxiety that could in-tern help improve the quality of your sleep. Our team can also provide recommendations on prescriptions and natural remedies including sleep chocolates, Melatonin, Chamomile, Valerian root, Lavender oils, and more.
Take Action Today!
Sleep is an essential part of leading a healthy and happy life. If you are struggling with a sleep disorder, Ballen Medical and Wellness can provide you with the help you need. Treating a sleep disorder can involve improving sleep hygiene, blocking screens, finding a cold, dark place, therapy, and prescriptions or natural sleep solutions. Please fill out the form below or call (720) 738-8531. We’d be happy to discuss the best options for you and your loved ones.