Either by circumstantial reasons or by a lack of proper sleep hygiene, insomnia has become a public health problem in the world due to its impact on society. According to neurology specialists, insomnia affects at least 10% of the population and only a half of them visit the doctor to treat this issue.
Insomnia has being defined as the inability to sleep or stay asleep once achieved, under regular conditions, and it manifests with symptoms, such as daytime sleepiness, general tiredness, irritability and concentration or memory problems. It should not be confused with sleep deprivation caused by other reasons such as living far from work.
There are different types of insomnia. First, the acute or circumstantial insomnia which occurs to any person at some point in life and is associated with significant life stress, for instance, a positive or negative impression for the death of a relative or a loved one, job loss, among others. It is usually reversible and lasts three weeks in average.
Second is the psychophysiological insomnia that frequently occurs in people with a pattern of obsessive, methodical and perfectionist personality who begin to worry about sleep and create a series of constant and repetitive ideas on how sick they are because they can’t sleep. The more they try, the less they get to sleep. This behavior is also associated with another type of insomnia which occurs due to inadequate sleep hygiene.
Insomnia by inadequate sleep hygiene occurs because of a series of bad sleep habits, like using the bed or room other than to sleep or sexual activities. Working, eating, watching movies, using electronic devices such as laptops, smartphones, among others, in the space that should be exclusively for rest causes the brain to associate the bed with other activities. This interferes with the ability to catch sleep, while keeping the mind always active and preventing the brain from relaxing in preparation for sleeping.
And last but not least, there is chronic insomnia, in which the person cannot sleep at all and is the most frequent type to be referred to an specialist. Doctors state that although the patients recover sleep, chronic insomnia can cause damage to all body systems because the brain remains in a constant state of awareness in which there is neither rest nor recovery.
People who suffer from insomnia or that usually sleep poorly should treat this disorder promptly in order to avoid negative effects of sleep deprivation and subsequently improve their life quality.
Insomnia related to excessive use of electronic devices
Every day, technology is overtaking our daily lives. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, career or economic status, you are probably even reading this article from a smartphone right now. That’s why experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have decided to conduct research on how excessive use of handheld electronic devices may become a health problem.
At least that is what an assistant professor of psychology at this university says, “There is more and more evidence that our electronic devices can be addicting, and certainly our research shows they can be dangerous”. Meanwhile, Jenifer DeWolfe, a UAB neurologist who specializes in sleep medicine, said using electronic devices in bed can predispose users to insomnia or increase the inability to fall asleep.
Hypothesis studied so far suggest that the backlight emitted from screens may disrupt circadian rhythms and the studies revealed that phone calls and alerts not only disrupt sleep, but they may also induce some sort of permanent alert status in a person causing anxiety or a feeling of obligation that leads to sleep deprivation.
Published on Sleepful.com