HomeLifestyle & TravelHealth & BeautyAll you need to know: Insomnia vs. sleep deprivation

All you need to know: Insomnia vs. sleep deprivation

Tossing and turning, waking up multiple times throughout the night, or simply not being able to fall asleep? Not sleeping well can be caused by various factors and can impact your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Understand if you may be suffering from insomnia or be sleep-deprived and what you can do to ensure a better night’s rest and a happier, healthier you with this quick Q&A:

  • Sleep deprived or suffering from insomnia?

By definition, insomnia is a difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep and/or waking up much earlier than usual.

Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, usually refers to a deliberate total restriction of sleep that may be self-induced (for example, teenagers partying all night) or induced by someone else (for example, fighter pilots being trained to test resilience).

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  • How do I know if I have insomnia? 

The recommended quantity of sleep for adults ranges between 7 – 9 hours, but this can by no means be standardised, and will differ according to a range of social, geographical and personal factors. The single most important factor in determining whether you are getting enough sleep is how you feel when waking up in the morning, and how efficiently you perform during the day.

If you wake up feeling everything but refreshed or find that you are not performing at your optimum during the day, this could mean that you are either getting an inadequate quantity or poor quality of sleep.

  • I can’t sleep, now what?

Consult a medical expert before you start taking over the counter sleeping pills. You could have anything from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), Snoring, Disorders of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (such as Narcolepsy), occupational related sleep disorders such as Shift-Work Sleep Dysfunction and Sleepy Driving, Insomnia and Restless Legs Syndrome. 

  • What are the effects of prolonged sleep loss?

Numerous studies have found that apart from the more obvious effects of insomnia – loss of focus and concentration, poor mental health and emotional issues – the impact can be far more widespread.

Some of the long-term effects may include an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke. Comorbidities associated with some of the most common sleep conditions including insomnia, are sleep-related psychiatric disorders, sleep-related neurological disorders, sleep-related medical disorders, and circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

  • What can you do to sleep better? 

Although each condition requires a different kind of treatment, there are a few things that everyone can do to improve their sleep hygiene. These include sticking to a regular bedtime and waking schedule, and making sure that the time set for bedtime is the time in which you are feeling sleepy.

Create a bedroom environment that is conducive to sleep, as opposed to watching television or eating in the bedroom. It’s also recommended that any kind of stimulant, including caffeinated drinks and sugar are avoided at least 6 hours before bedtime.

For more information, visit Mediclinic Constantiaberg and find out about their Sleep Clinic.

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