Sleep and sleep disorders:
Our approach to sleep:
Sleep is a natural and vital part of our rhythmic life. It is a complex and active state of unconsciousness. Though “bad” sleep can sometimes be considered a “disease” it is mainly a disorder, most often the expression of a malfunction.
Sleep cannot be dissociated from awakening, both conditions must be considered as part of a continuous cyclical process, each one depending on the other: Sleep quality therefore has an impact on wakefulness and vice versa so we consider the problem as an entity and address it as a sleep-wake disorder.
More than often these symptoms will have to be addressed simultaneously from many approaches.
Furthermore chronic sleep deprivation is a great risk factor for development of many disorders, both mental (depression…) and body-related ones (obesity, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, sexual impairment…)
Find out more about sleep disorders treated at Sleep Harley Street Clinic.
What are Sleep Disorders?
Sleep-wake disorders reflect a complex picture expressed either as excessive daytime sleepiness or/and sleeplessness or sleep of bad quality and non-refreshing at night.
Sleepiness can develop as a disease (for example Narcolepsy) or secondary to other disorders, infectious, hormonal, vascular (stroke), traumatic (whiplash…) etc…
While snoring and sleep apnea (breathing disorders with complete or partial cessation of breathing) develop secondary to a mechanical dysfunction, complain about poor sleep reflect generally a malfunctioning of single or multiple underlying processes: behavioral, biological, medical etc…
In sleeplessness or insomnia the subject senses having inadequate quantity or quality of sleep. It is the most common sleep complaints. With the stress associated to modern life style and the 24/7 system requiring continuous connection and reachability, the incidence of insomnia is increasing in all segments of the population.
Factors associated with sleep disorders:
The causes of insomnia are multiple. They can be secondary to physiological factors such as hormonal changes (pregnancy, menopause… ) or aging, medical conditions or psychiatric disorders, can also be associated to medications or drugs, be stress-related, reflect behavioral dysfunction or irregularities in the sleep-wake cycles (jet lag, shift work…), be connected to or represent other sleep-related disorders such as abnormal movements etc…
There are also intrinsic sleep disorders such as strange behavior while asleep which are not unusual.
Sleep symptoms are associated with weight gain and cardio-metabolic diseases and many studies suggest a potential role of diet in these disorders.
Sleep and Nutrition:
Sleep symptoms can also be associated with intake of specific dietary nutrients and the meal content in the evening can affect sleep. There is also evidence that the timing of food and water intake also affects sleep.
More knowledge emerges regarding interactions between sleep, metabolism and circadian rhythmicity. On-going studies focus in the identification of the molecular elements contributing to these interactions.
Learn more about sleep disorder symptoms.