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Inadequate Sleep Syndrome Can Lead to Anxiety and Depression | Science and health

It is during sleep that key restorative functions occur, such as energy, hormone replacement, tissue remodeling, and protein synthesis. Image: Pexels

a World Sleep Day, which is celebrated in 2023 this Friday (17), and has the theme “Sleep is essential for health.” The first celebration of this date took place in 2008 in order to draw attention, awareness and promotion sleep health.

  • A study revealed a link between Alzheimer’s disease and lack of sleep
  • 4 positive effects of sleep on physical performance, according to science

This year, the World Sleep Association’s global appeal aims to reduce the burden that sleep problems place on society, through prevention and treatment.

On this day, professionals from various medical specialties from 70 countries organized themselves to carry out local and national activities that prove that sleep is an essential pillar of human health, both physically and mentally.

In Brazil, from March 13 to 19, health professionals participate in lectures, courses and dissemination within universities. The general public already has information available online about the importance of sleeping well.

The Brazilian Sleep Society (ABSONO), the Brazilian Sleep Medicine Society (ABMS) and the Brazilian Sleep Dental Society (APROS) have jointly launched the Sleep Week – 2023 brochure with explanations and tips for the community.

The publication shows that it is during sleep that key restorative functions occur, such as energy, hormone replacement, tissue remodeling, and protein synthesis.

Sleep disorders

There are more than 100 sleep disorders. The three Brazilian sleep-related associations (Absono, ABMS, and ABOS) indicate that getting a good night’s sleep will contribute to an improved quality of life and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (arrhythmias, high blood pressure) and diabetes; maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding obesity; Strengthening the immune system. Secretion of hormones strengthening memory, concentration and learning; regulating mood, reducing the risk of depression and anxiety; stress reduction; Reducing the number of accidents, such as work and traffic accidents.

Fatigue from sleep deprivation or lack of sleep can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining, with mood swings. Clinical-behavioral psychologist and Master of Sleep Medicine, Mônica Müller, explains the development of poor sleep quality, with four main symptoms.

In primary insomnia, the person finds it difficult to fall asleep. The second symptom is difficulty in maintenance. The third is terminal insomnia, with early awakening – the individual wakes up before the desired/set time and cannot go back to sleep. Finally, the fourth symptom is non-restorative sleep, with complaints of extreme tiredness and exhaustion, which makes it difficult for the person to function. [bem] the day.”

Cognitive disturbances

Poor sleep can impair attention, focus, memory, learning, planning, decision-making, logical thinking, imagination, creativity, and the ability to retain new information.

With 23 years of experience in the subject, Mônica Müller has observed patients affected by the harmful habit of intentional sleep deprivation caused by the accumulation of tasks. “These are the people who work late, use the night to perform other tasks, and often cannot organize themselves during the day. They end up depriving themselves of sleep, because the next day they have to get up early. They have other obligations. So, who It is necessary to think about what generates the fatigue caused by this overload. Also, poor sleep, if maintained for a long time like this, will have a negative impact on both mental and physical performance.”

Mônica details some of the negative consequences of what is called insufficient sleep syndrome. “These are mood swings, especially for people who have been previously detoxified or already have psychiatric disorders, where anxiety and depression are major factors. She also cites bipolar disorder, where sleep deprivation is very harmful and can lead to manic episodes. It should Avoid extreme fatigue and exhaustion at all costs.”

Respiratory disorders – snoring and apnea

Mônica also established a direct link between cognitive impairment and respiratory disorders, particularly sleep apnea, which is the interruption of breathing for ten seconds or more during the night. The disorder is considered severe and dangerous due to the risk of death. In this respiratory arrest, the person does not have good blood oxygenation. As a result of oxygen desaturation, carbon dioxide ends up in the brain. Poor circulation in that area literally kills neurons.”

This week, the Brazilian Society of Otolaryngology and Cervical Surgery (ABORL-CCF) released a survey, conducted in February this year, showing that poor sleep quality accounts for 25% of complaints in otolaryngology offices in Brazil. The maps were conducted with 430 physicians across the country, and considered the care provided by these specialists between 2020 and 2023.

Approximately 94% of complaints received by otolaryngologists relate to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. ABORL-CCF Sleep Medicine Division Coordinator, Danilo Sguillar, considers the percentage quite telling. More than 930 million people worldwide suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

The doctor lists the adverse effects of apnea. “In addition to respiratory arrest, the most common signs of this problem are loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, and cardiovascular and metabolic changes such as high blood pressure, arrhythmias, and diabetes.” Therefore, snoring should be considered a sign of apnea.

The ABORL-CCF survey highlights that the predominant age group of patients is between 40 and 65 years of age and that there is a predominance (85.2%) of males. There are fewer complaints presented to otolaryngologists such as insomnia, grinding of teeth, excessive sleepiness, and behaviors such as sleepwalking, night terrors, and restless legs. Therefore, the category advocates good breathing through the nose.

During the pandemic, the study revealed, insomnia gained prominence in offices. It accounted for 47.7% of the complaints, which is higher than the complaints of snoring and respiratory arrest. The doctor presents a picture of improvement. “Now, the more solid information, the vaccination that’s gaining more and more of a projection, with the fourth and fifth doses, it’s making us create more trust, a more stable relationship, and that’s obviously reflected in our sleep. So, for sure, in the months ahead, the years ahead, you’ll be lost.” These complaints of insomnia and nightmares are significant.”

For those who already suffer from apnea, advises ENT specialist in sleep medicine in Brasília, Aliciani Mota: “In general, the patient can sleep on his side. He benefits most from a lateral lying position because there is apnea with a postural component. And when you position yourself On your back, you tend to have more apnea. It’s also worth raising the headboard, not a common pillow. I suggest the one in a triangle shape.”

sleep quality

Experts explain that the need for and limiting hours of sleep can vary from person to person and change at every stage of life, according to hormonal changes. A newborn baby, for example, spends from 14 to 18 hours a day sleeping, which is considered essential for its development, especially nervousness.

In children, sleep contributes to the release of growth hormone. Adolescence is characterized by a temporary change in sleep patterns. In this age group, teens need to sleep more hours (8 to 10), with a tendency to go to bed and wake up later.

Theoretically, adults need, on average, 8 hours of sleep per day. And as they age, they may wake up more often at night and are more likely to fall asleep and wake up earlier. During the day, naps may be more frequent at this time of life.

stages of sleep

Sleep is divided into two phases: non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and REM sleep. Sleep stages alternate during the night. There are four stages in non-REM sleep:

  1. Transitional sleep: characterized by sleep. In this transition between wakefulness and sleep, there is muscle relaxation and can be characterized by naps;
  2. light sleep, with a decrease in heart and respiratory rate and body temperature;
  3. Intermediate sleep: brain activity begins to decline and the body goes into deep sleep;
  4. Deep sleep: essential for the rest of the body, with the release of hormones and the restoration of cells and organs.

After the fourth stage, the body goes into REM sleep, with intense brain activity. It is the stage of dreams, memory fixation, and deep rest, essential to recovery and waking up prepared.


To sleep well at night, doctors recommend adopting healthy sleep habits:

  • go to the bedroom only when you feel sleepy, so as not to “fry” in bed;
  • maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time routine;
  • reduce noise and keep the environment dark at night;
  • If you need to get up at night, use the appropriate lamps in the environments, and avoid white light;
  • maintain a pleasant temperature in the room;
  • Avoid using sleep medications whenever they are medically prescribed;
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom that can disturb sleep;
  • About two hours before bedtime, avoid using screens (TV, cell phone, computer);
  • avoid excessive eating close to bedtime;
  • avoid the use of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, black and white tea, mate tea, chocolate, guarana and other heat-producing substances;
  • Avoid foods that contain glucose
  • do physical exercise regularly, but avoid it three to four times before going to bed;
  • Excess weight loss.
  • Do not oversleep during the day because of the accumulation of physical and mental fatigue during the night
  • Do not smoke.

For those who already have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep:

  • not staying awake for a long time in bed;
  • When waking up in the middle of the night, avoid checking the time
  • If you have cold feet, wear socks to sleep;
  • do not think about everyday worries when going to bed;
  • Avoid discussions and disagreements at the beginning of the night.

Professional help from experts

Otolaryngologist Alisiani Motta points out that in the face of sleep disorders, especially apnea, it is necessary to urgently seek help from an experienced specialist in sleep medicine. “Find a doctor. For treatment, he will need other colleagues in the health field. It could be a physiotherapist, a speech therapist, a sleep psychologist or a dentist. So, there are several arms in the health field collaborating.”

Psychologist Monica Müller advocates an individual analysis of each patient. “This does not mean that all people will have the same guidelines. Everyone has their own rhythm, their own need for sleep. The specific sleep specialist, during treatment, will understand how many hours of sleep that person actually needs.”

He concludes by explaining what a successful treatment is: The patient is able to go to bed with so much sleepiness, so much fatigue that he falls asleep quickly and stays asleep through the night. It will feel repaired mostly during the day. Being ready to do activities is a very important thermometer.”


A global survey of sleep habits and conditions in more than a dozen countries, conducted by ResMed in January 2023, with more than 20,000 individuals, showed that 49% of Brazilians used screens to try to fall asleep, followed by practice. Reading (34%) and spending time with a family member or pet (20%) before bed.

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