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Title: The Tie That Binds Sleep And Sanity Word Count: 660 Summary: This article is about the relationship between sleeping problems and mental illnesses. It briefly discusses the different stages of sleep, its function, and characteristics. There are two general kinds of sleeping disorders connected to psychiatric conditions, these are insomnia and hypersomnia. The most commonly related psychiatric illnesses connected to sleeping problems are: general anxiety disorder, depression, adjustment disorder, and panic attacks. Keywords: generalized anxiety disorder Article Body: What is sleep? All living things require sleep. It is the natural state of rest observed not only by human beings but also by other species of the animal kingdom. An adequate amount of sleep is important for one’s health and survival. It is during sleep that the body is recharged for another day of work. Sleep has five stages. The first four stages are part of the non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) phase of sleep. The last stage is the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Stage one is the transition period from wake to sleep. Stage two is the intermediate level of sleep. Stages three and four are referred to as deep or slow wave sleep, with stage four as the deepest phase of sleep. The fifth stage of sleep, the REM stage, is the part of sleep where people have dreams. The term rapid eye movement was coined from the fast movement of the eyes during this phase of sleep. Studies have been done to find a link between sleep and certain psychological conditions. It was found out that there are two sleeping difficulties that are related to psychiatric conditions. These are: · Insomnia. A sufferer with this sleeping condition has difficulty falling or remaining asleep. Insomniacs usually complain that sleep is never restful for them. This condition can be classified as acute or short-term, or chronic, wherein the condition lasts for over a month). · Hypersomnia. A patient who has this condition feels extremely sleepy throughout the day. Hypersomniacs usually sleep long during the night and still take multiple naps throughout the day. Even though patients sleep long, they are still complain that they are not refreshed. What are the different psychological disorders related to sleeping problems? As was mentioned above, sleeping disorders have been linked certain mental disorders. Here are some psychiatric conditions that are commonly related to having sleeping disorders. · Generalized anxiety disorder. A patient with this condition displays frequent patterns of worrying about things. Patients find it difficult to sleep because of the thoughts that swin inside their minds. · Panic disorder. A patient often experiences extreme fear and anxiety over something unexplainable. Sufferers of this condition usually wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty going back to sleep. · Adjustment disorders. This is a condition wherein a person overreacts to any form of stress in their life. Patients with this disorder often complain of having insomnia. · Bipolar disorder. In this mental disorder, a sufferer feels periods of mania and depression alternately. Patients with this conditions are most often diagnosed with hypersomnia. How are mental disorders linked to sleeping dysfunctions? People who suffer from sleeping disorders sometimes show symptoms of their mental illness or that of the sleeping disorder itself. Here are some of the most noted signs: · Feelings of anxiety increase at bedtime. · Feels an inclination to staying in bed more often. · Fatigue or complete lack of energy. · Having a difficult time concentrating. · A tendency to fall asleep when in low-stimulation situations. · Feels disoriented when awakened. · Decreased appetite. · Gets easily irritated. · Memory impairment. Recent studies have shown that brain movement noted with mental illnesses have been observed in healthy people who’ve been deprived of a night's worth of sleep. An increase in activity in the brain’s emotion center, the amygdala, was seen in patients who’ve been asked to miss a night’s rest. The same study noted that sleep deprivation affected the way the prefrontal cortex, which damps down the amygdala, reacts. The same disruption of prefrontal cortex function has been noted i n patients with certain psychiatric disorders. Sleep is not just a regular function that we need to engage in to rest our body. It doesn't only help our body recharge and heal, our mind’s health depends on it too. Your busy schedule and lifestyle may te ll you that sleep is for the weak. But think of how much weaker a lack of sleep may turn you into.