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Informative Paper - Sleep Disorders

Autor:   •  November 26, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,079 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,798 Views

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Sleep Disorders

The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and analyze the topic of health issues in the United States. Specifically it will discuss sleep disorders, and some of the treatments available to help patients suffering from sleep disorders. Sleep disorders are one of the most common afflictions affecting Americans today. These disorders are caused by a wide variety of issues, but the good news is – they are treatable. With some help from healthcare professionals, most people really can settle down to a good night's sleep.

Insomnia may be the most common ailment facing modern Americans. Physician Michael S. Aronoff states, "In fact, current evidence indicates that a minimum of one-third of adults, at any one time, complain of insomnia" (Aronoff 187-188). Most people think of lying awake unable to go to sleep, or insomnia, as the main sleep disorder, but in actuality, there are numerous types of sleep disorders. For example, the occasional insomnia that comes from stress or problems at work or home can be considered a sleep disorder, but so is sleep apnea, where the sufferer actually stops breathing for a few moments during sleep. These disorders range from mild to serious and disorders such as sleep apnea need to be treated by a physician to be managed effectively. Other forms of mild sleep disorders include losing sleep due to new or different surroundings (a hotel room, etc.) and insomnia pertaining to a mild illness, such as a cold or the flu (Borbely 208). When insomnia becomes chronic it becomes a much more pervasive and perplexing problem and this is usually the time for intervention from a professional, such as a physician or a psychologist. Most physicians agree a sleep disorder becomes chronic if it lasts for six months or more (Espie).

What causes sleep disorders? Sleep disorders are caused by a wide variety of issues – some physical and some mental. Sometimes, day-to-day activity becomes stressful, and the mind continues to work "overtime," on problems and potential solutions. Often, this impairs sleep and the ability to fall asleep quickly. Most people believe sleep is actually a time when the brain shuts down, but physician Aronoff notes, "Sleep, although it is time-out from one set of activities, is not dead time. Sleep is an active process, with complex neurochemical systems interwoven and alternately ascending and descending in dominance" (Aronoff 186). Thus, an overactive brain during waking hours can continue the overactive cycle during sleep time, too. Studies have also shown that a healthy immune system contributes to a good night's sleep (Aronoff 186). In addition, sleep apnea is a growing cause of disturbed sleep in Americans. As Americans gain weight and suffer from obesity, they suffer from a wide variety of health concerns, especially sleep apnea. Dr. Aronoff continues with the


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