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Sleep disorders are not uncommon
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), over ten percent of all adults in Germany suffer from sleep disorders. They often feel that their sleep is not relaxing, or even permanently. Not only is this uncomfortable, it can also have health consequences. Those affected have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, writes the German Medical Weekly Bulletin (DMW). A southern German insurance company is now offering a support program to help its customers get a grip on sleep disorders.
The trainer for falling asleep
Specially trained sleep coaches are designed to help customers with chronic or complex sleep disorders find the source of the disorder. The coaches coordinate examinations and therapies and, if necessary, pass them on to other experts. The sleep coaches use modern technical aids such as apps, sleep trackers, online coaching or mobile sleep laboratories. "Thanks to this efficient procedure, we save important time during treatment and save those affected from long hospital stays," reports Benno Schmeing, board member of the Süddeutsche Krankenversicherung (SDK).
How does the body react to sleep disorders?
In people with normal sleep, blood pressure and heart rate decrease at night. If there is a sleep disorder, blood pressure and heart rate remain high and there is an increased risk of vascular calcification or atherosclerosis. This can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke. Another harmful factor in the case of lack of sleep is the impaired breakdown of the stress hormone cortisol. If the cortisol level is permanently increased, this can have negative effects on the cardiovascular system and the immune system.
Sleep apnea - another health risk factor
Many people have sleep disorders due to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Narrated airways, often a result of being overweight, make it difficult to get air into the lungs. The brain sends the impulse to breathe, but the muscular strength is not sufficient to get enough air through the narrowing. The consequences are breathing interruptions that lower the oxygen content of the blood and the brain. The affected person responds with more energetic breathing, often accompanied by loud snoring noises. Sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and heart attack.
Causes of sleep disorders
The causes of sleep problems are many. Around 80 different sleep complaints are known in sleep research. Psychological complaints and stress are the most common causes of sleep disorders, followed by pain and noise. When it comes to stress, the stresses at work and worries about the workplace are the primary cause of sleep disorders. "If simple measures are not sufficient, especially if the causes of the sleep disorders are not known, those affected should seek professional support," emphasizes Benno Schmeing, SDK board member.
Pay attention to sleep hygiene
Professor Dr. med. Christoph Bamberger, Director of the Medical Prevention Center Hamburg, recommends in his guide "The Happiness Coach - Sleep Miracle" about the positive effects of good sleep hygiene. This includes, among other things, not consuming caffeine after 3 p.m., banning electronic devices from the bedroom, maintaining a room temperature between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius, not doing any sport before sleeping and no longer dealing with professional issues before going to bed too busy. According to Bamberger, 80 percent of people sleep better if they adhere to good sleep hygiene. (fp)