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"A restorative condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is less active, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended."

Sleep is an essential need, and all of us know how distressed we get when sleep evades us for even a few days. Sleep restoring efforts and therapeutc modalities are indicated when a lack of sleep leads to disruptions in our daily life, social or occupational functioning. 

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Sleep is an essential physiological function which is restorative and energizing. A number of physiological processes need to be intact for normal sleep to occur. Everyone has different requirements for the duration of sleep they require. Ranging from 4-8 hours every day. 

A number of essential hormonal changes occur during sleep, thus making sleep of utmost physiological importance. This explains the physical and cognitive effects of being sleep deprived. Sleep occurs in cycles with a period of deep sleep followed by a shorter period of light sleep.

Sleep and mental illness are interconnected in more ways than one. A sound night's sleep becomes pre-requisite for a healthy mind and body.

Sleep problems, including snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, nightmares, and restless legs syndrome are common. Good sleep is necessary for optimal health and can affect energy levels, mood and weight. Regardless of your age, adequate sleep is essential for physical  and emotional well-being.

Parasomnias, sleep walking/talking and night terrors occur during the deep phase of the sleep cycle and thus cannot be recalled in the morning. They are nothing to be afraid of, rarely lead any other health problems.

Insufficient sleep puts one at risk of metabolic abnormalities, elevated blood sugar and cardiovascular problems. It is of prime importance to sort out sleep difficulties as early as possible.

We can help manage sleep disturbances and insomnia. Once medical causes of insomnia are ruled out, other conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress can be diagnosed and effectively managed. Sometimes, corrections in lifestyle and habits can drastically improve sleep duration and quality. Medications are sometimes helpful in improving sleep and may help manage other conditions that can cause insomnia. 

Maintaining sleep hygeine, can help in restoring normal sleep.

- Try minimizing the time u spend sleepless on your bed.

- Limit noise and light in the bedroom at night.

- Limit day time naps

- Exercise regularly

- Set a regular bedtime and stick to it.

-Avoid engaging in stimulating activities such as watching tv or browsing at bedtime

-Avoid coffee and cigarettes in the evening.

-Avoid regular use of alcohol.

Seek help if lack of sleep is bothersome, physically or mentally!

Have a specific question about sleep problems ? Please ask us here or on facebook here

Psychiatry is a medical speciality, like surgery, general medicine and paediatrics. It involves the study, diagnosis and management of mental illnesses and distressing conditons, pertaining to both the mind and body. Misconceptions about psychiatric illness and treatment have some how prevented help seeking behaviour in those who need it the most. This Wall has to go, wherin visiting a psychiatrist should no longer be taboo, and people should be able to openly and freely discuss mental health issues. 

Dr Vikas Prabhav is a psychiatrist in Anna nagar, chennai. He runs The Vivid Mind  mental wellness clinic in Anna Nagar. We aim at providing holistic, multimodal care for those suffering from mental illnesses and adjustment issues. We offer effective management strategies for depression, anxiety, unexplained physical symptoms, addictions, child/adolescent problems and other behavioural issues.The information provided in this website does not substitute for a medical consult.