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Sleep disturbance

One third to half of the Hungarian adult population is complaining about sleep disturbances, but only 12 percent seeks medical help for that problem. Lack of sleep in turn, can lead to impaired performance, daytime drowsiness, increased number of accidents, irritability and therefore relational problems and social deprivation.

What exactly is a sleep disturbance?

  1. if someone can’t fall asleep,
  2. falling asleep, but waking up several times and tossing and tumbling sleeplessly for a while
  3. waking up too early

Relevant is if an organic disorder is causing sleep disturbances, or the sleep deficit is leading to an organic illness. Several disturbances can alter sleep.

  • Frequent urination (prostate hypertrophy, pregnancy, urinary inflammation, circulation deficiency)
  • Trouble breathing, chocking (asthma, circulation deficiency, panic disorder)
  • Coughing, snuffles (common cold, allergy, nasal septum deviation, gastric reflux)
  • Pain (trauma, tumor, inflammation, etc.)
  • Obesity (and consequences)
  • Sleep apnea syndrome
  • Heartburn due to gastric acid reflux (GERD)
  • High blood pressure
  • Circulatory disturbances in the brain
  • Depression, anxiety, stress

Lifestyle recommendations for sleep disturbances:

  • have a system in your life
  • eat regularly
  • get moving, rest, charge yourself up
  • don’t exercise in the evening
  • darken the bedroom
  • don’t drink anymore coffee, coke, energy drinks in the afternoon
  • have a regular evening ritual, performed similarly every time before going to sleep.
  • dinner shouldn’t be heavy or too much
  • smoking also impairs sleeping
  • don’t watch anything thrill-full or upsetting at TV

If we have already ascertained, that there is no internal illness in the background that needs to be treated and we do our best to keep all the recommendations, there are still several psychological aspects that can cause sleep disturbances. Especially the stressed, overdriven lifestyle, anxiety, depression. These for sure can’t be resolved at a dash. Many will benefit from a good, creative hobby, sports or religious activity. Seeking help from a specialist, even pharmaceutical treatment may be necessary. Most important is of course a good support from family and friends. Anyhow, in such cases we should be seeking help as soon as possible, before the slope gets to steep.

At first, some herbal remedies may be tried. Failing all else, a sleeping pill may be prescribed by a physician. Nowadays, the so called Z-agents should be chosen for sleep disturbances: with zopiclone, zolpidem as effective agents. These assure fast falling asleep, support staying asleep and don’t cause daytime dizziness the next day. Above the age of 55 decreased melatonin levels may also come into play, in this case long-acting melatonin agents might be given.