Alteration of sleep: the causes - Assisting a family member

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Rest and sleep

The need to rest Alteration of sleep: the causes Promote sleep
  • The need to rest
  • Sleep disturbance: the causes
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Sleep disturbance: the causes

There are many variables that can alter sleep and rest. These variables are divided into internal variables such as depression, nervousness, fear, excitement, worries, pain, forced postures and external variables such as noises, use of exciting substances, change of time zone, working time distributed over three shifts, changes in the environment in where you sleep, an inadequate bed or mattress.

Internal variables Depression and anxiety cause significant discomfort by preventing subjects from falling asleep peacefully. In fact, unresolved problems are particularly felt in sleep because the brain aims to resolve conflicts during REM activity, seeking a new balance. Even forced postures (plaster) cause discomfort and difficulty falling asleep and resting.

External variables It is above all noise that deeply disturbs sleep activity, although it has been noticed that, unlike sudden noises, constant background noises do not prevent sleep.

Insomnia can also be caused by the use of exciting substances (coffee and tea tend to hinder the initial phase of sleep) and the change of time zone, especially when it comes to many hours.

Shifts that affect normal rhythms of life can cause lack of sleep or make it irregular and unrefreshing, as well as changes that can occur in the places where you sleep: new bed, new room, lack of the usual references.

Many of these variables cannot be eliminated (work shifts), others can be modified (elimination of exciting substances); before carrying out any intervention, especially of a pharmacological nature, it is good to remove the causes that trigger insomnia and communicate the problem to the doctor. Many times patients abuse anxiolytic drugs or sleeping pills without following any therapeutic scheme. The people who improperly use these products are often the elderly. The immoderate use of tranquilizers by the elderly population is the cause of accidental falls with related fractures, a very common problem that has a very high socio-economic impact and a consequent loss of autonomy. Before taking medicines or in case of use of "do it yourself" drugs, perhaps recommended by the neighbor, it is essential to seek medical attention.

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