The connection between sleep, your brain and mental health

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The connection between sleep, your brain and mental health

If you’re trudging through almost every day, feeling tired and lazy, it might be because you have a sleep disorder, and you might even know it.




More than 70 types of sleep disorders exist. The most common problems are insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep), obstructive sleep apnea (disordered breathing that causes multiple awakenings), various movement syndromes (unpleasant sensations that prompt night fidgeting), and narcolepsy (extreme sleepiness or falling asleep suddenly during the day).


Type of sleep disorder, prevalence, and impact vary by psychiatric diagnosis. But the overlap between sleep disorders and various psychiatric problems is so great that researchers have long suspected both types of problems may have common biological roots.


One of the most common sleep disorders is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen.


There are two types of sleep apnea which are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is the The most common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.

And then there is Central sleep apnea: Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center.

5 tips for getting a good night’s sleep include:


  1. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. …
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. …
  3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. …
  4. Exercise daily. …
  5. Evaluate your room.

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