Sleep Deprivation Essay, Research Paper
Sleep deprivation consumes people all over the world on a regular basis. But what causes sleep deprivation? What are the consequences of being sleep deprived? And how can the poor tormented sleepy people all over the world get a good night?s rest? Let?s explore the exhausted world of sleep deprivation.
There are many reasons a person can be sleep deprived. They may not be able to get sleep due to their particular situation or they may have a sleep disorder. An example of a situation that may cause a person to be sleep deprived is that they are too busy to sleep. Many people have an overwhelming schedule but they do what they have to do in order to survive. Parents and college students are such people with overwhelming schedules. Then there are sleep disorders. Just a few disorders that cause sleep deprivations are dysomnias, parasomnias, and medical or psychiatric disorders.
A dysomnia is a sleep disorder that can make it difficult to sleep or stay asleep. There are also different types of dysomnias. There is intrinsic, extrinsic and circadian rhythm (Dement 511). An intrinsic sleep disorders is just one of the dysomnia classification. Intrinsic sleep disorders are caused by something within the body. An example of an intrinsic disorder is narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a fairly well known sleep disorder. A typical narcoleptic will be inordinately sleep, have irregular REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, instantaneous muscle weakness also known a cataplexy, hallucinations and difficulty sleeping at night (Dement 512). Julia, a narcoleptic, had experienced those symptoms several times before. Once, her children were in the car. She had fallen asleep at the wheel and turned the car on its roof. Her five year old son unbuckled him self and was just frightened not injured. Her two-year-old daughter was still safe in her car seat (Caldwell 140-141). Another intrinsic sleep disorder is sleep apnea. While narcoleptics suffer from sleep ?seizures,? sleep apnea patients have difficulty breathing while they sleep. Some sleep apnea patients become so relaxed it that their throat collapses and their airways close. As was the case with a man name John. John would relax and go into a deep sleep. His airway passage would close because his tongue had fallen to the back of his throat. Thus choking him and enabling his capability to breathe. Those patients are known to have obstructed airway sleep apnea (Dement 513). Then there are those who just simply don?t breathe. Those patients are known to have central sleep apnea. Those sleep apnea patients may have several episodes where their breathing just stops because their brain forgets to pull air into the lungs (Dement 513). After several losses of air episodes all sleep apnea patients have difficulty going back to sleep. Sleep apnea also causes people to snore very loudly people at the highest risk for sleep apnea is obese men.
Extrinsic sleep disorders are the opposite of intrinsic sleep disorders. Extrinsic sleep disorders are caused by factors outside the body (Dement 514). An example of an extrinsic sleep disorder is hypnotic dependent sleep disorder (Dement 515). This is the case with my uncle Allen. He cannot sleep without his pain pill. He takes it every night. He has even gone so far as to have many different doctors. So every one of them can prescribe him pain pills to help him sleep. This disorder is caused by a person?s dependency on a sleeping aid. The person may feel they need a drug so often that they either need a higher dosage to sleep or they get to the point were they can?t sleep without it, they are dependent. Sleep-onset association disorder is another type of an extrinsic sleep disorder (Dement 515). This disorder is characterized by the certain accommodations that need to be met in order to go to sleep. My mother-in-law is an example of a person with this disorder. She doesn?t fall asleep watching the television she turns it because she can?t sleep any other way. Another disorder is environmental sleep disorder (Dement 515). This disorder is caused by a person?s sensitivity to too much stimuli going on around that individual. People with this disorder are very sensitive to noise, light and temperature.
Intrinsic and extrinsic disorders are some what mix to make circadian rhythm disorders. It is not only the sleep pattern in their head but because they have something else that is going on outside their body. Circadian rhythm sleep disorders occur when the person?s sleep cycle is disrupted (Dement 516). An example of a circadian rhythm disorder is jet lag. The time change and the body?s regular sleep regimen don?t coincide (Dement 516). This is because if you go to bed according to a different place?s time your body doesn?t get as many hours of sleep as it usually gets (Lavie 200). My baby for example suffered from jet lag. When we moved from New Mexico to California she did not adjust to the time change. She had a sleep regimen and it was thrown totally off. A circadian rhythm disorder causes a person to be dreadfully tired.
Parasomnias are different from dysomnias. Dysomnias interfere with a person wake- sleep patterns while parasomnias don?t allow a person to have different sleep stages. Parasomnias are sleep disorders of partial arousal during sleep or disorders that interfere with sleep stage transitions (Dement 517). An example of a partial arousal disorder is sleepwalking. Sleepwalking occurs when a person gets up; walks around and can sometimes perform simple tasks like opening doors (Dement 517). Many people walk outside. Michael was one who tried to open doors. He was staying in a motel and tried to open the sliding glass door. When he couldn?t he picked up a lamp and hit the sliding glass door with it. In the process he cut himself and had to get stitches. For some reason Michael was very angry but not directing his anger towards anyone else (Caldwell 121). A night terror is also an example of a partial arousal disorder. When a night terror occurs an individual may ?wake up? sit straight up in bed and scream cry or shriek (Dement 518). A person who experiences night terrors may seem awake but is actually very unaware of what they had just done. Another example of sleep stage transition disorder is nocturnal leg cramps (Dement 518). Nocturnal leg cramps may happen spontaneously and in the calf. Leg cramps are very common in pregnant women. When I was pregnant I would wake up with shooting pain in my legs. Another example is sleep talking (Dement 518). Sleep talking is a fairly harmless disorder even though it may sound angry or full of emotion. My mom?s husband often talks in his sleep. She will hear his and try to spark up a conversation. Another example is sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (Dement 521). This occurs when an infant unexplainably dies it his or her sleep. There are some links to SIDS such laying an infant on its stomach and RSV.
Then there are medical problems that can cause sleep deprivation. Three examples of medical conditions that can cause sleep disorders are asthma, ulcers, and emphysema (Dement 522). Asthma attacks can occur while a person is sleeping or the asthmatic may wheeze all night making it difficult for them to get some rest (Dement 522). Ulcers cause severe pain that can keep a person up all night (Dement 522). Emphysema causes lung or bronchial problems that hinder lung function (Dement 522).
Psychiatric disorders that can also be a cause for sleep deprivation are depression and claustrophobia (Dement 523). I have seen depressed people stay up all night just thinking and analyzing everything in their life. Some just don?t want to sleep they are just want to be upset or they want to wallow in their misery. Claustrophobics will wake up when they feel they maybe trapped or they can?t breath.
Consequences of sleep deprivation can be fatal and not just to the sleep deprived. It is estimated that 500,000 car accidents a year are caused by sleep deprivation (Caldwell 141). For an example of a severe accident that affected many people was the Exxon-Valdez oil spill. Sleep deprivation was thought to be the cause of other accidents as well such as Three Mile Island, Bhopal and Challenger space shuttle.
Sleep deprived individuals may be angry, sad and listless. They may have hallucinations and be paranoid. Their eyes may play tricks on them. Their vision is blurry and the ability to focus is lost. Sometimes a person will become forgetful. In severe cases the sleep deprived will lose the will to survive, as was the case with the Israeli Army. They could still do difficult tasks with perfection but would forget to fill their canteens. Water is vital in order to survive in the Middle East where they were (Caldwell 62).
Treatment for sleep deprivation varies. Some times a person may need to make exclusive accommodations to get their well-needed rest. They need to develop rituals for sleep at the same time every night. They should make their bedroom a place of sleep. Remove any disturbances or stimulations. If you suspect that you may have a sleep disorder go to a sleep specialist and get treated you deserve it.
Sleep is essential for every one and everything. Sleep should never be dismissed because it is viewed as unimportant. There are many causes of sleep deprivation. Sometimes the consequences, as we have seen, can be severe and or fatal. Treatment if necessary certainly should be looked into Sleep deprivation can take its toll on anybody; nobody is safe.
Sleep Everything You Need To Know; J. Paul Caldwell, MD; Copyright 1997 Firefly Books Inc.
The Enchanted World of Sleep; Peretz Lavie; Copyright 1996 by Yale University
The Promise of Sleep; William C. Dement, MD, PhD and Christopher Vaughan; Copyright 1999 by Random House, Inc