Sleep disorder

1968 BMJ (Clinical Research Edition)  
1958 and 1965, while in the U.S. A.,4 "from 1952 to 1963, the retail sales of sedatives and tranquillizers increased by 535%." Evidently many people think their natural sleep is not good enough. Sleep requirements vary considerably, and many parents worry unnecessarily if their child sleeps less than convention decrees. Some adults will happily sleep 10 hours nightly, whfle rare individuals need less than a nightly three hours, which electroencephalographic studies' show is in more concentrated
more » ... n more concentrated form than usual. Recently G. S. Tune' described the changing pattern of sleep from the 20s to the 70s. Sleep decreased from the 20s to the 50s, after which midday naps and broken nocturnal sleep increased, especially among women. A great number of complaints about sleep by women and by older people in general were described in a survey of 2,446 adults in Glasgow and Dundee.7 Complaints of poor sleep were closely related to " nervous disposition " and have been found as much among neurotic and psychopathic patients as among those suffering from depressive illness.8 Poor and restless sleepers as a class may be specially vulnerable to the stresses of life. In contrast to good sleepers their abilities have been shown to be more easily impaired if they are compelled to undergo a period without sleep.9 Complaints may often be exaggerated, but studies carried out in Chicago'" show that healthy young people who consider themselves to be poor sleepers, when compared with healthy young people who consider themselves to be good sleepers, have higher heart rates both before sleep and during sleep, have mnore body movements during sleep, but have a lesser fall of rectal temperature during sleep and get a lesser proportion of the paradoxical phase of sleep characterized by rapid eye movements. There are now known to be two kinds of sleep which alternate about five times nightly, and both of them are needed. At the beginning of the night orthodox sleep with
doi:10.1136/bmj.3.5616.450 fatcat:wzgl4aotvzfp5fyuxcoig545tm