Sleep disrupters are a class of disorders that prevent us from achieving this vital dream and deep sleep. Often the person with a sleep-disrupting condition will sleep eight hours a night or more. But they still wake up tired and often experience sleepiness throughout the day.
Sleep disrupters also cause other problems. Researchers have recently discovered that lack of sleep, particularly lack of dream sleep, can impair the ability to lay down new memory. It is not surprising that people suffering from sleep disrupting disorders often complain of difficulty in remembering things.
The primary symptoms of sleep disorders include excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue. Difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep may also occur. Sleep disrupters act in a variety of ways, in different parts of the body.
Alcohol is a sedative hypnotic, just like prescription sleeping pills. It is medication that can affect sleep. If too much is consumed, it can cause coma and even death. Alcohol’s effect on sleep changes with increasing consumption. Over time the chronic alcohol abuser will totally disrupt their sleep wake cycle and may never be able to sleep normally again. Hopefully, an alcohol abuser will realize this serious complication and stop drinking.
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. As all of us “coffee achievers” know, caffeine can wake up in the morning and keep us alert during the day. One of the most interesting aspects of caffeine is the body’s changing ability to metabolize it as we age. Many individuals are able to tolerate large amount of caffeine when we are young. But as we age, our ability to metabolize caffeine slows and it’s wise to limit consumption too early in the day. Senior citizens should even consider eliminating caffeine altogether.
My own favorite recipe for the ideal bedtime snack consists of half or quarter sandwich of turkey, cheese, and lettuce on white bread, with a little cranberry sauce. Wild lettuce is a natural soporific, but you can use any common lettuce and still have a great sleep-promoting snack. The cranberry sauce in addition to tasting great and adds extra carbohydrates to help transport the tryptophan into the brain.