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Understanding the Term 'Insomnia’

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Amit Chhabra
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The Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre in India and also the Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre in Mumbai talks about the meaning of ‘Insomnia’, and what the meaning stands to be. Until the 1950s, most people thought of sleep as a passive, dormant part of our daily lives. We now know that our brains are very active during sleep. Moreover, sleep affects our daily functioning and our physical and mental health in many ways that we are just beginning to understand.


The Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre in India states that during sleep, we usually pass through five phases of sleep: stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. These stages progress in a cycle from stage one to REM sleep, then the cycle starts over again with stage one. We spend almost 50 percent of our total sleep time in stage two sleep, about 20 percent in REM sleep, and the remaining 30 percent in the other stages. Infants, by contrast, spend about half of their sleep time in REM sleep.


The amount of sleep each person needs depends on many factors, including age. Infants generally require about 16 hours a day, while teenagers need about 9 hours on average. For most adults, 7 to 8 hours a night appears to be the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as 5 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day.


People tend to sleep more lightly and for shorter time spans as they get older, although they generally need about the same amount of sleep as they needed in early adulthood. About half of all people over 65 have frequent sleeping problems.


Almost everyone has nights when you can not fall asleep or when your sleep is fitful.However, in the U.S. sleep deprivation and fatigue are major health issues.Over 40 million Americans each year suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders and over 20 million more experience occasional sleep problems.Estimates are that between 25%-50% of Americans have difficulty with sleep.


These disorders and the resulting sleep deprivation interfere with work, driving, and social activities. They also account for an estimated $16 billion in medical costs each year, while the indirect costs due to lost productivity and other factors are probably much greater. Doctors have described more than 70 sleep disorders, most of which can be managed effectively once they are correctly diagnosed. The most common sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy.

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