Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc. Chapter 3 Getting the Sleep You Need 77 DSPS can affect anyone, but is most common during the teenage years. This is because teenagers’ bodies are going through many changes as part of the normal growth process. One of these changes is the body’s release of melatonin later in the night than normal. This means teens are unable to fall asleep earlier in the evening. As a result, teenagers often do not get enough sleep because they go to bed late, but must still get up early to go to school. The most common treatment method for DSPS is slowly changing the time a person goes to bed. People with DSPS can try to go to sleep a few minutes earlier each night until they reach the desired bedtime. Once they reach the desired time, the next step is to stick to that new time. If a person stays up late just one night, even on the weekend, his or her sleep-wake cycle can reset to an unhealthy pattern. Insomnia Almost everyone experiences insomnia, which is trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Some people with insomnia lay awake for hours at night without being able to fall asleep. Others wake up several hours early and are unable to go back to sleep. Having insomnia can negatively affect all aspects of a person’s health and well-being (Figure 3.10). Insomnia may be a short-term, temporary problem that is a result of changes in a person’s normal routine. For example, if you are going on a family vacation tomorrow, you may not be able to fall asleep on time the night before you leave. Insomnia like this usually goes away on its own. Long-term insomnia is more serious than short-term insomnia. Long-term insomnia lasts a month or longer. It is often a symptom or side effect of another problem, such as a medical condition, substance abuse, or a sleep disorder. People with long-term insomnia can get help from a doctor, therapist, or counselor. The most common cause of insomnia is stress. This stress may be a result of issues in a person’s life. The stress could even be about the insomnia. Worrying about being unable to fall asleep or about being tired the next day can make insomnia worse. Insomnia may be treated in many ways. Treatment can include sleeping pills, which are a type of medication that helps people sleep. Long-term use of sleeping pills is discouraged, however, because using them can interfere with good sleeping habits. Parasomnia Parasomnia is a term for sleep disorders that occur when people are partially, but not completely, awoken from sleep. Parasomnia occurs more commonly in young people because their brains are still developing. These disorders can occur when people first fall asleep, when they are between sleep stages, or when they awaken from sleep. There are five common types of parasomnia (Figure 3.11). Oleg Golovnev/ Figure 3.10 People who have insomnia do not get adequate amounts of sleep. This often affects their ability to function the next day at work or school. Why is long-term use of sleeping pills to combat insomnia discouraged? Types of Parasomnia Nightmares Sleepwalking Restless legs syndrome (RLS) Teeth grinding Bed-wetting Figure 3.11 Bed-wetting, nightmares, sleepwalking, RLS, and teeth grinding are common parasomnia disorders.
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