Almost everyone experiences sleep disorders in one way or another. This may be due to a stressful situation or psycho-emotional overload, with diseases of the nervous system and mental disorders. The consequences of poor sleep negatively affect both the subsequent daily activity of a person and his health. The MedAboutMe portal will tell you about the effect of insomnia on the heart and introduce you to the most popular cures for it.
Poor sleep impairs quality of life
Sleep is, on the one hand, a special form of mental activity, on the other hand, a function of the central nervous system. Sometimes the importance of proper and healthy sleep is underestimated by a person. However, when faced with insomnia or a poor quality night’s rest, the opinion changes in the opposite direction, as this leads to daytime fatigue and sleepiness, bad mood, reduced concentration and performance, increased risk of occupational injuries and driving errors. Lack of sleep leads to various functional disorders in the body — the occurrence of headaches, disorders of the nervous system and functions of the gastrointestinal tract, to the occurrence and development of heart disease.
Types of sleep disorders
The most common type of sleep disorder is insomnia (insomnia), which leads to a deterioration in the quality of sleep (initiation, maintenance, awakening, duration), despite the creation of good conditions and sufficient time. Insomnia is characterized by a decrease in the mental and physical activity of a person during the daytime, and is caused by an increase in the sympathetic activity of the nervous system, the level of cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone in the blood. There are two types of reasons for these changes:
- emotional and cognitive factors (inability to postpone daytime worries, relax, anxiety about possible insomnia, anxiety about the coming day, etc.);
- biological breakdowns in metabolic processes (violation of the daily secretion of melatonin or the exchange of monoamines).
Women suffer from insomnia 1.5 times more often than men, older people over 75 years old — 2 times more often than middle-aged people.
The first factor leads to the onset of adaptive insomnia, which develops against the background of a change in the environment, quarrels, difficulties, problems, conflict, in general, acute stress. Insomnia ends spontaneously, after the end of stressful conditions. Usually, in this case, over-the-counter anti-anxiety medications are used without consulting a doctor. There are also the following types of sleep disorders:
- psychophysiological insomnia, when the fear of not getting enough sleep prevails. A person tries with all his might to force himself to sleep, which leads to the exact opposite result.
- Sleep apnea due to poor sleep hygiene occurs mainly in the elderly and adolescents. The first “sin” with daytime sleep, taking it away from the night. The latter show evening hyperactivity, pushing back the time to fall asleep. This form of insomnia in any person can be caused by prolonged computer games, watching aggressive and exciting TV programs at night, stuffy rooms, and telephone conversations.
- insomnia in diseases of the internal organs and the nervous system, which occurs against the background of the course of cardiovascular diseases, osteoarthritis, cholecystitis, peptic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum.
- secondary insomnia caused by taking sleeping pills and other drugs. This is a form of drug dependence and addiction. This group also includes sleep disorders in alcoholism. An attempt to replace or withdraw from the use of the drug, to which a steady craving has appeared, leads to the development of a withdrawal syndrome with all the ensuing negative consequences — increased insomnia, anxiety, irritability of the heartbeat, sweating, etc.
Sleep and heart
Numerous special studies have shown that a large proportion of heart diseases (angina pectoris, arrhythmia, hypertension, heart attack) are caused and proceed with sleep disorders. And if a cardiac attack occurs at night, then the course of the disease is more severe and has an unfavorable prognosis. In such patients, insomnia is fixed either in the early morning hours, or there is a problem falling asleep. In the first case, a person wakes up much earlier than expected, experiencing a feeling of fatigue and lack of sleep. And often the patient begins to adjust his daily routine to the problem of early awakening. In the second case, there are difficulties with going to sleep, accompanied by frequent nocturnal awakenings, often accompanied by nightmares. The situation is further complicated by the fears of patients about the course of their cardiovascular disease, fears of the development of seizures at night, which increase anxiety and prevent the body from getting enough sleep. It turns out a vicious circle: poor sleep leads to heart disease, and cardiac disorders, in turn, contribute to a change in the biological clock (circadian rhythms) of a person, in particular, the development of insomnia. The heart needs a night’s rest and respite, so sleeping pills are necessarily included in the treatment regimen for cardiac diseases.
Insomnia medications can be chemical-based (prescribed only by a doctor) and over-the-counter drugs based on synthetic or herbal raw materials. The latter are distinguished by the absence of the effect of dependence and addiction. These include Melaxen, Donormil, Valocordin-Doxylamine (Valocordin, Corvalol), Afobazole, glycine, as well as herbal tinctures from one component (valerian, motherwort, hawthorn, peony) or products that include several similar plants (Novo-Passit , Persen-forte, sedative fees).
If the stress is prolonged, and over-the-counter medications do not normalize the mode of night rest, as well as in the presence of chronic diseases, you should consult a doctor. In this case, both non-selective benzodiazepine hypnotic drugs of the old generation (phenazepam, diazepam, alprazolam) and modern non-benzodiazepine drugs (zopiclone, zolpidem, zaleplon) are prescribed. If insomnia is caused by depression, then the use of antidepressants is indicated in therapy.