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An Introduction To Sleep Disorders And Somnambulism Psychology Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Sleep disorder can be defined as sleep difficulty or disruption of sleep. Sleep disorder that have reached a very serious level can cause emotionally or psychologically disturbance to that person. Furthermore, sleep disorder can even cause murder for such as sleepwalking murder. Examples of common sleep disorders are insomnia, sleepwalking (somnambulism), and teeth grinding (bruxism) and so on.

Basically, sleep disorder can be divided into four types: Dyssomnias, Parasomnias, Medical or psychiatric disorders and sleeping sickness. Dyssomnias is a sleep disorder that causes a particular person to feel sleepy during day time due to sleep deprivation from insomnia during the night. Parasomnias are categorized as abnormal limbic movement, emotions, perception and so on that link to sleep deprivation. Teeth grinding, snoring and so on may also occur due to effects from Parasomnias. Medical or psychiatric disorder causes panic, anxiety depression and so one. Last but not least, sleeping sickness can also be transmitted by Tsetse fly.

Sleep disorder is actually much more common during childhood. This is because children tend to sleep more deeply than adult because their body will go through growth during the third and forth stage of Non-REM sleep which is known as deep sleep. In fact, it is far more common in boys than in girl because boys tend to sleep more deeply than girls due the presence of a higher level of the testosterone hormone.

There are 4 types of treatment for sleep disorder, they are behavioral treatment, medication treatment, alternative therapy and also supplements. Behavioral treatment includes sleep relaxation, sleep hygiene and so on. Medication treatment is by getting medication which is prescribed by the doctor. The common drugs which are prescribed for medications for sleep disorders are Benzodiazepines, Anticonvulsants and so on. Moving on, alternative therapy is a therapy that includes everything from changing your diet, lifestyle, exercising, doing yoga, hypnosis and meditation. Supplements for sleep disorders are include herbs, melatonin, relaxation and exercises.

People who have the characteristics listed below are more likely to suffer from sleep disorder. First, people who are overweight or are suffering from obesity. Secondly, people who are alcoholics and drug addicts. Thirdly, people who are inflicted with a huge amount of stress which leads to depression. Lastly, people who do not sleep on time or do not have sufficient amount of sleep.

If you realize you fall under any of these categories, don’t worry. This is because it is easy to overcome it. The first thing you have to do is to make sure you exercise every day, for at least 30 minutes per day to reduce the stress level in your body and balance the amount of hormones in your body. Then, try to avoid food that contains caffeine that will affect your quality of sleep. In addition, do not take any alcoholic drinks, as it will worsen your sleep problems. Try not to do anything stressful 3 hours before going to bed. Follow the steps here, and you will find it easier to fall asleep and sleep disorders can be reduced.

Sleep Disorder – Somnambulism

Have you ever come across this situation where you see a kid walking around few hours later after their sleep? Or even may be one of your family members or your friends told you that you urinated on their bed last night but you don’t remember a thing? Have you ever heard of murder while sleepwalking? Actually these situations only occur to those who are suffering from a sleep disorder called Somnambulism, also known as sleepwalking. According to a study by Dr. Christina A. Gurnett, of the Washington University School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology, sleepwalking was inherited as an autosomal dominant disorder with reduced penetrance in this family. Genome-wide multipoint parametric linkage analysis for sleepwalking revealed a maximum logarithm of the odds score of 3.44 at chromosome 20q12-q13.12 between 55.6 and 61.4 cM.

Have you ever wonder what somnambulism is (or commonly called sleepwalking)? Have you ever wondered why will people walk around while they are sleeping and the next day they claim that they do not remember such a thing had happened? Have you ever wonder what is happening inside the sleepwalker’s brain?

Actually there are 5 stages of sleep while we are sleeping. They are REM, Non-REM stage one (Light Sleep), Non-REM stage two (Sleep Spindles), Non-REM stage three and 4 (Deep Sleep). Sleepwalking will only occur in our deep sleep, which is third and forth stage of Non-REM sleep.

Here are some facts about sleepwalking. Firstly, sleepwalkers normally do not remember what they did because they were not in a conscious state. Secondly, they will look dazed; their expressions are dimmed and they tend not to respond to you when you talk to them. Thirdly, sleepwalking usually happens once a night only. Fourthly, sleepwalking can usually last for a few seconds to 30 minutes. Fifthly, it’s more common in childhood and more common in male than female. Moreover, while they are sleepwalking, their eyes are open but they are unable to see the same way when they are awake. For example, they will think that they are walking in a shopping mall but in fact they are wandering around their house or even their garden.

What causes sleepwalking in children or adult? Experts believe that it is due to the immaturity in the brain’s regulation of sleep wake cycles in the child. Most children outgrow the symptoms as their nervous systems develop. Sleepwalking that happens during adulthood is most likely due to extreme stress, drug abuse or alcohol abuse, certain medication, insufficient amount of sleep and also irregular sleep schedule. Heredity is also one of the causes of sleepwalking. If one of the parents is a sleepwalker, chances of the child being a sleepwalker will increase to 45%; if both the parents are sleepwalker, the chance of the child sleepwalking will be increased to 60%.

“Is it dangerous to wake a sleepwalker up?” “We shouldn’t wake a sleepwalker up as it will cause heart attack or shock!” Well, those statements are not entirely true. Yeah, it is true that it is dangerous to wake the sleepwalkers up because they might injure themselves or the one who wake them up. This is mainly because by waking the sleepwalkers up, it might cause temporary distress or confusion to them. Hence, it may cause them to do something violent to protect themselves unconsciously.

One of the most common question is, “what should we do if the sleepwalker is doing something dangerous since we are not suppose to wake them up?” The answer is simply just leading them back into their room and let them continue their sleep. Try not to wake them up, as you will startle them and you wouldn’t want to get bruises right?

There is a misconception that sleepwalking is actually a sign of psychological disorder of that person. This is not true because sleepwalking doesn’t cause any emotional harm to that person. Sleepwalking itself is neither dangerous nor harmful. The dangerous part is only when that person is doing things that they unconsciously “think” is correct. For example trying to fight the “intruders” to protect themselves, but in reality they are hitting their family member or may be walking across the street and might get into a car accident.

Dr Plazzi had done a research on sleepwalking in December 2005. According to him, sleepwalking is very common as 30% of the children experience at least one sleepwalking episode while sleepwalking only occurs to 2-3% of the adults. Sleepwalking can be caused by heredity. The main reason of sleepwalking is normally due to stress and some of the other reasons which are alcohol abuse, drug abuse and insufficient amount of sleep. Sexsomnia is when that person is involved in sexual activity when they are sleeping.

Here is few of sleepwalking stories from different people from the world. Catherine moves in to live with her boy friend. One night, she saw her boyfriend woke up and walk to his wardrobe and start urinating there. She was so shocked and the next day when her boyfriend wakes up, he doesn’t remember what had happen. There is another story here where it happened to John. John was drunk and sleeping one day. He sleepwalked to his friend’s house and he urinated on her bed. His friend was so angry that he scolded him. John punched her back and went back to his house. The next day, John’s friend told him what happened but he doesn’t remember a thing. There is also a case where this boy, Mike, he is very sure that he sleeps on his bed every night but when he is awake, he tend to find himself at the garage. Luckily there no accident had happened before because his dad found him sleeping there and quickly solved the issue. There is also one issue where he causes his girl friend for not getting enough sleep and they finally broke up. Here is another story of Mark. Mark is one of the sleepwalkers. He tend to wake his girl friend up everyday and sleep talk to her and then go back to sleep and he normally do not remember about the incident. His girlfriend could not bare being woken up by her every night that they eventually broke up.

If something similar happens to you, please look for the psychiatrist or the doctor for treatments before it troubles or injures anyone else or you yourselves. Psychiatrist or doctors will give you advises or medication. To be honest, there is no way to prevent sleepwalking completely but we can minimize the chances of sleepwalking by getting enough sleep, releasing your stress by doing exercises or meditation and also try not to excite your brain too much one to two hours before your sleep. Medication may be necessary if the sleepwalkers have the tendency to hurt themselves or the people around them. Example of medications that used to treat the sleepwalkers are ProSom, Klonopin and Trazodone. Please be aware that there is a risk taking these medications which is the individual’s sleepwalking habits might become worst if he or she stops consuming the necessary medications.

In conclusion, sleep disorder is not very harmful but it can be very disturbing if you are suffering from a sleep disorder. Sleep disorder can be divided into 4 types which are Dyssomnias, Parasomnias, Medical or psychiatric disorders and sleeping sickness. Treatment for sleep disorder can also be divided into 4 categories which are behavioral treatment, medication treatment, alternative therapy and also supplements. People who are overweight, always not getting enough sleep, take in a lot of alcohol or drug and are always stressed up or depressed have a higher chance of having sleep disorders. One of the sleep disorder, sleepwalking, can be very harmful and harmless as well. It depends on what kind of behavior of that person when they are sleepwalking. Sleepwalking is said to be caused by immaturity in the brain stem of the children sleep-wake cycle. Sleepwalking in adult is caused by excessive alcohol or drug intake, stress and sleep deprivation. We can minimize the chances to sleepwalking by doing exercises, getting enough sleep or getting medications. For those who have a sleepwalker in their family or among their friend, please gently guide them back to their bed and try not to wake them up when they do sleepwalk. Waking them up might cause them to act violently on you. Sleepwalking also tends to occur more in childhood than adulthood. It usually happens more frequently in guys than girl. Last but not least, somnambulism is not a sign of psychological disorder which in other words means that a person who is suffering from somnambulism is not necessarily crazy or insane.


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