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Health Problems Caused by Sleep Deprivation (Insomnia)
Nowadays, sleep deprivation problems have become a number one issue for many citizens of large cities. Surprisingly, but these are mostly the urban inhabitants who are more succumbed to the suffering of insomnia which makes me think that fast-paced life far from the nature is far from being good for the health of citizens. As Michael Breus states in his recent research, about 40 % of Americans have insomnia symptoms revealed already in 2013, and 15 % suffer from chronic sleeping disorder. The numbers are not promising, and the number of sleep professionals is growing steadily (Breus, 2013).
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine worked out simple techniques which can be used by everyone who experience some difficulties with falling asleep: deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises, visualization and imagery. Over 38 % of women and men across the United States prefer to avoid using drugs for sleeping, and seek for the alternative ways to improve their situation. It is worthy to note that sleeping techniques cannot have the same effect on everyone as individual characteristics as well as the causes of disturbance have also to be taken into consideration.
Unfortunately, the data obtained by the Complementary and Alternative Medicine shows that even when people apply those techniques which were mentioned, only a few of them do it for insomnia purposes. For example, other alternative drug-free methods to treat insomnia may include massage, meditation, acupuncture, yoga, osteopathic and chiropractic techniques, Tai chi (Chinese exercise which presupposes making very slow movements), Ayurvedic medicine (Indian practice of natural treatment (valerian or melatonin, etc.) or using herbs), naturopathy (treating diseases with drug-free methods, namely good diet, massage, exercising), or homeopathy (application of small doses of those natural substances which in larger quantity can cause the ailment itself) (Breus, 2013).
Harvard researchers have also published their results obtained after testing 60 students who were asked simply to memorize random words (20 phrases). Half of the students were supposed not to sleep at all and come back in 12 hours, the other half - had to sleep well and come back in the same amount of time. The results were stunning but expected: only 32 % of students who did not sleep could remember the words correctly, whereas those who rested well were 76 % (Willis, 2012).
Insomnia is far more serious issue than many people consider it to be, and it may cause a number of complications with the health state which would affect performance of the whole body. Sleep performs the restorative function and without it this process would slow down greatly resulting in immunity and brain activity decrease (particularly concentration, memory and attention), increase of depressed and anxious behavior, loss of appetite, and development of more serious neurosis (Willis, 2012).
With age, the need for sleep decreases, however, the quality of sleep should remain high. To avoid sleeping disorder, it is effective to pay a close attention to the biorhythms of the body. Clearly, "owls" do not feel comfortable going to bed at 10 pm and waking up early in the morning which would make them feel the lack of energy and lead directly to insomnia, whereas "larks" feel the opposite. Thus, it is vital for a healthy sleep to take into consideration these differences. On the other hand, if the individual's biorhythm does not correspond to her working or studying schedule, the habit can be worked out in order to change the natural preferences for sleeping - it would definitely need a lot of effort and personal fortitude as well as about 21-30 days for the body to get used to the new regime. Healthy sleep is vital for the proper functioning of the organism; therefore, any disorders should be treated immediately.