Why it’s a compliment to be called sleepyhead

June 15, 2018 Lifestyle Diseases 10100 Views


Sleeping Beauty and Kumbhakaran didn’t know how fortunate they were! Neither of them would have an inkling of common sleep disorders. The disorders that mainly are the outcome of our hectic lifestyles. And rising pressure on all fronts from personal commitments to professional targets.

Some of the Types of Sleep Disorders are:

  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares, sleepwalking/sleep talking
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Kleine Levin Syndrome
  • Non 24 sleep-wake disorder
  • Circadian Rhythm Sleep/ Delayed Sleep phase
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • REM Sleep Behaviour
  • Snoring, Bruxism

Rip Van Winkle too, with his legendary genius for sleep would be the envy of over 75% of American youngsters, in the 20-59 years category, who are unable to get proper sleep, on a regular basis. It could be any reason – pain, bedwetting  – more common among kids, allergy, trauma, partner snoring, fibromyalgia for sleep to elude you.

Circadian Rhythm Sleep/ Delayed Sleep phase

For Ms Tripathi, it seemed almost impossible to fall asleep when her head touched the pillow, promptly at 10 pm, every night. She regarded herself as a perfectionist and wanted everything to run with clockwise precision. But unfortunately her sleep pattern appeared to adopt a pace of its own! She would not be able to sleep for a good 2-3 hours after turning in for the night and consequently would wake up late, in the morning. She was suffering from Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD).

This can be explained in a simple manner. All of us have an internal clock that balances sleep and regulates the hours we are awake by maintaining a balance between the two. Hence, individuals feel the strongest urge to sleep or sleepiness during circadian dips usually around 2.00 – 4.00 am and 1.00 – 3.00 pm. Similarly, the same circadian rhythm helps us stay awake and alert during our periods of wakefulness. This rhythm varies a little between individuals and differs a great deal according to age. In case of Ms. Tripathi, this balance had been disturbed and endless cups of coffee during the day, made matters worse.

Sleepwalking, Sleeptalking (somniloquy)

32 year old Charu’s parents were a worried lot. They were at a loss as to how her in-laws would deal with her sleepwalking, which had persisted through childhood. Charu did not outgrow it, as is widely prevalent. Incidence of sleepwalking is more among 3-7 year olds, those who are prone to bedwetting and also those who experience sleep terrors. Some children are also known to urinate in closets while sleepwalking.  According to Pulmonologist and Chest Physicians, Sleep deprivation is the main cause of this sleep disorder and hypnosis the most effective form of treatment. Increasing the hours of sleep can also be beneficial. Not just natural causes, sleepwalking can also be a result of certain conditions such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder.

According to a study in the American journal, Neurology, family history was also a predisposing factor towards sleepwalking. Similar to sleepwalking, sleeptalkers are also not aware of their behavior while sleeping. At times, their voice or dialect may differ from their normal way of talking, when they are awake. It is important to know that talking may not be relevant to past or current situations. It may just be some gibberish, or it could even be a complicated monologue. Unlike sleepwalking, grownups who are older than 25 years more commonly suffer from sleeptalking.

Drowsiness during the day, alcohol, fever are underlying causes for this disorder which is not directly a result of the conscious mind. Sleep hygiene, adequate sleep and consulting a medical practitioner are advised to deal with this problem. All sleep problems and sleep disorders are to be treated by medical professionals such as Neurologists, Sleep Specialists. However, there are simple do’s and don’t’s that can quell these ailments to a certain extent. Relaxation is the most significant.


  • Remember the movie, ‘All is well’ – just keep repeating the title. Your mind needs to get out of the loop of the twists and turns of the day. Chanting a reassuring message or a prayer, will help change gears to stop the chatter running on at the back of your head.
  • Neck, shoulder pain and headaches are a sure sign of stress build-up. Diffuse this with breathing exercises and feel the tension draining from your muscles.
  • Develop a routine before you slip into the sheets. So that the mind and body both begin to slow down at the same hour every night, making it conducive to fall asleep faster. Like a warm soak, shower or a bath.

If you are suffering from any sleep-related disorders, then contact a Neurologist near you as soon as possible. 

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