sleepwalking disorder is a medical illness symbolized by unusual behavior when a person is sleeping. Those people who generally suffer from sleepwalking disorder belong to the age group ranging from 4 to 12 years, however it may also recur or detected first in adulthood. As the children start growing, the problem mostly gets resolved on its own. There are cases where people started to sleepwalk at the beginning of their teenage. Sleepwalking disorder can be inherited as well. Sleepwalkers usually walk with open eyes while asleep but their activities remain robotic and their eyes carry a dead flat look.
In total there are 5 stages of sleep. Stages from 1-4 are typified as non-rapid eye movement sleep where as the 5th stage belongs to the category of rapid eye movement sleep. Cycle of sleep related to dreaming as well as the flow of hormones is vital for proper nurturing of human body; this cycle is categorized as rapid eye movement sleep. Each night an average person goes through 4 or 5 complete sleep cycles, sleepwalking occur during 3rd or 4th stage of any of the first two cycles. Sleepwalker is completely unaware of his/her walk or any other activity he/she is involved in while being asleep. Sleepwalking disorder does not occur while napping as naps are of shorter time duration.
- There are certain behavioral changes which makes it evident that a person was sleepwalking such as: You might get caught while simply walking quietly in your room or while trying to run away. During sleepwalking a person seems to be awkward and confused in his or her activities and behavior. It is a myth that people sleepwalk with their arms extended but they do have their eyes open while they roam around. The response is usually very sluggish with unclear thoughts. At times the answer does not even make any sense when the sleepwalkers are questioned about their behavior. They sometimes don’t response at all to the inquiry. A person wouldn’t remember anything after waking up in the morning if you don’t wake him or her at the time of the incidence. Sleepwalking disorder can also lead to bedwetting. Young children often find this illness to be embarrassing for them when they are asked to wake up forcefully while they were sleepwalking. Trends show that many of the patients follow and repeat same sleepwalking activities over and over again. Sleepwalking disorder is not resulted by emotional outbursts, sleeping alone, sleeping with many people around or by the fear of dark. Children aged between 4 to 5 years, who were observed to have a restless sleep with more frequent awakening throughout the first year of their life tend to have sleepwalking issues.
- Self-Care Remedies and Treatment at Home:
- Subsequent actions can be taken by someone who experiences sleepwalking disorder like:
- If you get adequate sleep there are high changes that you would not sleep walk.
- Relaxation/ Spiritual exercises and meditation are highly recommended.
- Try to get rid of all the possible distractions and disturbances before sleeping.
- Keep all the harmful tools and utensils far from reach.
- To avoid dangerous accidents like falling down from balcony or window try to stay at ground floor.
- Keep all the rooms and doors closed and locked.
- Keep the room clear by removing all the obstacles.
- Take the support of hangings and heavy curtains to keep the windows fully covered.
- There are certain situations where medication is highly advisable and should be taken to avoid any negative circumstances. Few of those situations are as under:
- When there is a high risk of getting serious injuries.
- When the behavior starts leading towards excessive day time sleeping.
- Medication should be taken only when no other technique or remedy works.
Sleep is essential for proper functioning of every individual, regardless of age. However, eight hours of uninterrupted and undisturbed sleep is exceptionally more important in elderly due to following reasons.
- Sleep is believed to be reduced as a normal process and component of aging. This is true for normal elderly too, who don’t have any organic disease process. Both quality and duration of sleep is altered and marked reduced with advancing age. In normal elderly, following changes are seen in the normal pattern of sleep:
- Increase time to fall asleep after lying in bed.
- Frequent awakening accompanied by increase time taken to fall asleep again as opposed to a normal young adult who requires minutes to fall asleep again.
- Loss of NREM pattern of sleep, Non Rapid Eye Movement is an important component of normal sleep rhythm. Actual relaxation attributed to sleeping is achieved in NREM sleep as it is only during this phase that the brain shut down its processes completely (obviously all processes other than those that are required for life like breathing). Loss of NREM leads to subjective feeling of giddiness and incomplete relaxation, one of the most important complaint elderly have with their sleep.
- Early awakening in the morning which cannot be attributed to any cause. Overall sleep duration, quality and depth is reduced naturally in elderly.
Causes of disturbed sleep in elderly:
A number of causes both organic and inorganic can be attributed to this disturbance in natural rhythm and pattern of sleeping over time. Few of these are listed below:
- Loss of physical activity: physical activity and feeling of tiredness is an important reason why people feel sleepy towards the end of the day; however, in case of elderly who are mostly retired, don’t have much of the physical activity and so are obviously not tired and sleepy at nights.
- Loss of tone in respiratory muscles leading to collapse: With advancing age, all muscles get relaxed and laxed, same is seen in respiratory muscles that loses their tone. In day hours, when people are wide awake and in sitting or standing posture, voluntary brain efforts and body postures don’t let the relaxed muscle to make any noticeable difference in breathing pattern, but at night, when person is sleeping, weight of gastric contents further push upon lungs and further decreases the tone of respiratory muscles. This is another important cause of sleep disturbance, called as sleep apnea.
- Number of diseases and health issues: With advancing age, person becomes more vulnerable to a number of organic and inorganic ailments. All health issues affect sleep at first.
Why sleep is important in elderly?
Sleep affects day to day functioning in a normal adult but in elderly, effects of disturbed sleep remain hidden until consequences of sleep disturbance begin to appear. A number of health issues associated with impaired sleep are discussed as under:
All scientific studies conducted on elderly and on mechanics of hypertension have shown clear association of sleep disturbances to development of hypertension. Let alone, disturbed sleeps itself a very stressing event that irritates people and impair their ability to fight different stressors. Sleep deprivation or chronic insomnia
b. Alzheimer’s Disease:
Alzheimer’s disease is also associated with chronic sleep disturbance. This is especially true if sleep apnea is the cause of disturbed sleep. During sleep apnea, low oxygen delivery to brain tissue leads to early development of Alzheimer’s disease.
In young healthy adult, chronic sleep deprivation affects cognitive thinking and problem solving capabilities. However, in young adults, sleep deprivation is normally short term and symptoms resolves by its own without leaving any permanent sequelae. However, in elderly symptoms remain hidden until permanent changes are seen in brain functioning. Sound sleep is required to function properly especially cognition and intellect is greatly affected by poor sleep.
Diabetes type 2 diabetes mellitus is associated with sleep deprivation. In type 2 diabetes mellitus peripheral resistance to the action of insulin is conferred, that is believed to be associated with chronic insomnia. Moreover, it has both cause and effect relationship, sleep disturbances leads to diabetes mellitus and once full blown diabetes is established, any further sleep disturbance will further aggravates blood sugar levels and functioning of insulin.
Sleeping Tips for Adults:
Issues pertinent to sleep in elderly are broadly classified as:
- Issues in falling asleep
- Issues in maintain sleep
Tips to induce sleep
Below tips will help to induce sleep. In simple words, using these tips will reduce the time required to fall asleep.
- Exercise: Exercise evokes the subjective feeling of tiredness and helps in initiating sleep.
- Use of aromatherapy: This helps in forgetting stress and reduces the incidence of developing depression in elderly by providing a calming and soothing effect.
- Comfortable bedding: This is especially true for elderly who have joint problems or other neuromuscular issues.
- Use of eye covers: Most elderly use eye masks and covers, this not only helps to prevent entry of light in the eye, but also help melatonin to be produced in significant amounts.
Tips to maintain sleep:
Following tips will help in maintaining sleep to ensure uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep.
- Avoidance of alcohol and caffeinated beverages before bed time
- Avoidance of drinking plenty of water before going to bed.
- Sleeping in an environment which has no disturbance like noise or light.
- Maintenance of room temperature before sleeping.
Sleep deprivation can negatively affect your brain and cognitive function, and negatively affect your health, ability to function, relationships, and nearly every aspect of your life. If you are having problems getting to sleep or staying asleep, or find it difficult to stay asleep long enough to feel fully rested, there are many ways to help yourself sleep better.
If you must sleep odd hours because of shift work, have a new baby, or find it necessary to sleep when the rest of the world is awake and making too much noise, an investment in some tools to help you sleep may make all the difference in your quality of life.
Listening to quiet, repetitive music may help you to fall asleep. Taste in music, like all other tastes, is yours alone, and it may take a little experimentation to discover what music make you sleep well. The music should be something you enjoy, but you should not enjoy it enough that it makes you want to dance. Quietly singing along to a tune that you have memorized can be soothing, but if you find that it is stimulating, choose a different song.
Research has shown other sounds to be beneficial to sleep, relaxation, and mood. Traditional Chinese Medicine has used the meridian points of the body for millennia to heal the body, and recent research has shown that the meridian points can be used without needles by using sound. Recent discoveries have also shown that the mind has much more control over the body than previously thought, and former skeptics are discovering that these newer modalities are increasing their quality of life by helping them to heal and to overcome stress.
AcousticSheep SP4BM SleepPhones v.4 lets you sleep with your music or sounds while allowing your partner to not hear it. Earphones work great, but are uncomfortable to sleep in, so these comfortable earphones are designed by a family physician to hold the thin removable speakers. Drown out your partner’s snoring with your choice of sounds are compatible with almost any music source, including your iPod or MP3 player, with a standard 1/8 inch (3.5 mm) headphone mini-jack. You can adjust the placement of the microphones to be directly over your ears to completely drown out other noise or near your ears for an ambient sound. Listen to music, nature sounds, binaural beats, the Delta Sleep System, or any other sounds that help you to sleep. It is easy to place the 4 foot cord in a position so that you will not get tangled in it overnight, and the super-thin mics let you sleep on your side without hurting your ears. The microphones can be removed so that you can machine wash the soft fleece headband. The SleepPhone is sewn and assembled in the USA and has a 6 month warranty. The AcousticSheep SP4BM SleepPhones v.4 is about $40, and comes in black or lavender.
Bose SoundDock Series II is a Digital Music System is Apple-certified to be compatible with any iPhone or any iPod that has a click wheel, so your music investment can do double duty day and night. This new design features Bose technology and quality sound with an updated, sleek style. Play music from an MP3 player, DVD, or CD and hear your music like you may never have heard it before. It charges your iPod as it plays, so you can listen without running your battery down. Navigate your playlist, adjust volume, seek tracks, and turn it on and off with the remote control. This small system will fit in any room, and has a volume control on the front for when the remote is nearby. Listen to music with finer control, even at low volume. The Bose SoundDock Series II is offered in black or silver, and costs about $250.
Bose SoundDock Series II Digital Music System for iPod (Black) avaliable also on Silver
Sony ICF-C7IP Clock Radio lets you use the features of your iPod and iPhone with a charging dock so that your battery will not run down. It is compatible with most iPod models and iPad models up to 3G. Set dual alarms and wake or fall asleep to your iPod, iPhone, buzzer, radio, AM/FM with 15 presets, or CD. The alarms have individual volume sets so you can set one alarm to softly awaken you to your favorite CD and the other alarm as a loud buzzer to prevent oversleeping. The remote control gives you access to all of your iPod or iPhone music from across the room while being able to read the large LCD display. The battery back up keeps the time in the event the power flashes off. The Sony ICF-C7IP Clock Radio is about $66.
Sony ICF-C7IP Clock Radio for iPod and iPhone with Hidden Sliding Dock Tray
Mood Enhancement and Healing Sounds for Sleep
Dr. Jeffrey Thompson is a holistic healer who has experimented with sound to balance acupuncture meridians, perform spinal and cranial adjustments, and normalize organ function. He created these musical soundtracks with sound frequency patterns to entrain brainwaves. Dr. Thompson is also a musician and composer whose methods of sound healing music was one of the top alternative healing modalities in the 1990s. He has worked with Deepak Chopra, Bernie Siegel, and several of the other most well-known alternative healers and self improvement experts, and his work is used in hospitals for pre-surgery and post-surgery, and in cancer centers and clinics. Dr. Thompson has appeared on many TV shows and in many magazines and newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, and Fortune 500 companies and businesses from healthcare to wellness spas have used his high-tech music for relaxation, meditation, healing, learning, and creativity.
The Delta Sleep System is Binaural beats are subliminal sounds that stimulate your brain by slightly varying the tones played into each ear. Binaural beats have been known since the mid 1800s to induce relaxation, increase focus, stimulate creativity, reduce pain and stress, help meditation, and otherwise positively influence mood and the state of mind.
Steven Halpern is a composer and recording artist who produces music that has created a paradigm shift in healing music. Keyboard magazine recognized Halpern as an influential artist in how music is composed, marketed, and listened to, and he is the standard of the healing music genre. He has been featured on many TV shows, including Oprah and 20/20, and his works are used in the healing arts for health centers, healing centers, spas, hospitals, and by corporations in healing centers.
Soothing Music for Sleep
The corres are an Irish pop rock/traditional Celtic folk music band of three sisters and their brother. The Corrs were featured in the Summer Olympics held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA in 1996, have toured with Celine Dion, and are active in philanthropic activities.
Enyais an Irish musical group which features mostly the multi talented Enya herself, but also a producer and a lyricist who writes her songs in many languages, except Irish. On most songs, Enya creates her trademark sound by layering her voice as many as 80 times, and performing all of the percussion and instruments, for most of which she uses a synthesizer. She has won four Grammy Awards and one Academy Award nomination.
Loreena McKennitt is soprano vocalist, composer, pianist, and accordionist from Canada whose musical influences include Celtic, Folk, World and Middle Eastern. McKennitt is a highly merited citizen of Canada for her philanthropic work, and has won two Juno Awards, a Grammy Award, a Canadian Lifetime Achievement Award, and several honorary bachelor and doctorate degrees. Before she composes a new album, she travels to do in depth research of the album concept, including the history, culture, folklore, and geography of the country of origin.
Sarah Brightman is an multinational award winning star and soprano vocalist of a three-octave range, who is a cross-over classical, pop, rock, operatic pop, and disco artist. She sings in at least ten languages and is also an actress, dancer, and songwriter.
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