Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Assignment Week 6: Sleep Deprivation, Disorders, and Drugs

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Any of us if not more than some have experienced some difficulty sleeping. This can happen because of a number of things: We worry about some sort of troubling thing to come or one that has passed, or there is the all too famous insomnia, which gets the best of us from time to time. There are many times in my life that I have had trouble sleeping, whether it was from one of my three children being sick, my husband being sick, me being sick, or my mind just running from here to there which happens quite frequently.

The last time I recall that I had not gotten enough sleep would have been when my middle child had to have oral surgery. I don’t really know if it was because she was going under and she hadn’t been before, if it was the fact that my little girl was going to have surgery for the first time. I tried for several hours to fall asleep, but my mind would not stay still. I finally decided to get up and try to doze off to the television, after that did not work I made some coffee and worked on my assignment. When it was time to get up my husband and my little girl I was exhausted, as if I was at work all day.

I drove us to where we needed to go with no problem, but as we sat in the waiting room I dozed off for a few hours. As I woke it felt as if I had not slept as all, I was still exhausted. After the surgery was over and the care plan for her was set we left for home. I had got a huge cup of coffee from a convenience store, as I drank it I felt more tired. I slept for about 30 minutes on the way home, and when I got there I felt so awake. However, as I went in and settled down for a little bit, I felt more tired than I ever had.

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Unfortunately though I needed to take care of my other two children, which was a very hard task at hand, even with the help of their father. I was finally able to get to sleep that night however it was a rough start to the next day. When I am unable to get to sleep I tend to sleep more than normal, and as I wake I am dragging all day and feel as I need more sleep. As I read chapter 14 Sleep, Dreaming, and Circadian Rhythms, I am better understanding of why my body reacts the way it does if I get too much sleep or not enough sleep.

When reading about the recuperation theories of sleep it made a lot of sense to me. I believe it is reasonable that we need to sleep in order for our bodies to revitalize its self, and that at some point if we were to develop a total sleep deprivation it could result in one’s death. We do know that we are in need of some sleep, however, we are still uncertain about how much sleep we much have. It is also know that many years ago people slept much more and today a person usually sleeps anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep.

According to the circadian theories of sleep, we possess an internal timing mechanism, called a circadian clock. I fully support the belief that we are programmed or have developed a habit of sleeping at night. I believe that we choose to rest and relax not only for our health, but also because we like it so much. I believe that we experience Microsleep from time to time as well. Mucrosleeps are short periods of sleep when we shut our eyes for a few seconds either while sitting or standing. I remember while I was working I had stayed up all night, when I went to work I was completely exhausted.

I had to get something out of the walk in cooler, since it was a hot day out I sat on a crate and I dozed off for just a second, and ended up jerking awake. We do not know exactly how much sleep a human should sleep and exactly why it is necessary to need sleep. There are many types of sleep disorders, one in particular would be insomnia. There is insomnia that involves disorders of getting to sleep and staying asleep and hypersomnia, which includes disorders of sleeping too much. Causes that can influence insomnia are, for example, if a person is experiencing physical pain.

This could influence a person when falling asleep or staying asleep. There are drugs (hypnotics) that can help a person to fall and stay asleep but they have negative effects. Prescribing benzodiazepines, like valium, have side effects as a person can develop a tolerance and might have to increase the dose of that specific drug. In addition, they are also addictive. Another insomnia disorder is called sleep apnea. A person with this disorder stops breathing during sleep, which makes him or her wake up and then go right away to sleep. This disorder is very common in older or overweight people.

There is also nocturnal myoclonus (a body twitches and keeps a person awake) and restless legs syndrome. In hypersomnia, narcolepsy is the most well-known disorder. A person with this disorder complains about daytime sleepiness and falls asleep almost anywhere. Another symptom of narcolepsy is cataplexy, in which a person can lose muscle tone while being awake. This can make a person sit down suddenly or in the extreme, cause a person to drop down to the ground. Then there is sleep paralysis (unable to move when going to sleep or awakening) and hypnagogic hallucinations (dreaming while being awake).

There are drugs such as stimulants and tricyclic antidepressants that might help; however, they are very addictive and can have side effects like not wanting to eat. There is also the hormone melatonin, a natural hormone produced in the brain, which is also manufactured commercially and is associated with sleeping, but the studies are still inconsistent and debatable. (Pinel, 2011) As we know we need some sort of sleep to function normally or on a normal basis, without it we could face some pretty severe consequences. If there are problems they make medication that can help with those problems, which will allow us to sleep.

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