Sleep, why do people sleep at all? Why can't we just stay awake? Some
biologist suggest that sleep provides the opportunity to conduct self-repair and
purge the body of it's waste that has built up during the day's activity.
Nevertheless, the body is capable of repairing itself and disposing of wastes
during waking hours, so sleep in a way really isn't necessary for routine
maintenance (e.g., urinating, etc.). Dr. Quentin Regestein, lead sleep and sleep
disorders researcher at Harvard Medical School also believed that sleep kept our
distant ancestors out of harms way during the night when they could not see as
well as their night roaming predators.
Sleep is regulated by a connected series of structures in the deep midline
areas, and along other way stations that extend through the central axis of the
brain, these structures relay information about things that affect sleep. In Dr.
Regestein notes, he spoke of experiments that were performed by researchers.
The researchers he spoke of would destroy specific brain structures of a lab
animal and then note how the animal slept. For instances, in one lab animal
the researcher cut through the axis of the brain at one level, which would
prevented the animal from awakening; showing that brain structures below the
level of the cut were responsible for awakening the lab animal.
The American Sleep Disorders Association (ASDA), Association for the
Psychophysiological Study of Sleep (APSS), Association of Sleep Disorder Centers
(ASDC), and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has studied sleep and
sleep disorders since the early 1970's. Out of all the sleep disorders
currently being studied, sleep apnea has gain world wide attention, affecting
over 15 million people. Apnea, derived from the Greek word "want to breath."
Sleep Apnea (cessation of air flow at the mouth for greater than 10 seconds) can
reflect 1) loss of central nervous system drive to maintain ventilation, 2)
mechanical upper airway obstruction, or combinations of both. The second
edition of Anesthesia and Co-Existing Disease states "Conversely, obstructive
forms of sleep apnea are due to an abnormal relaxation of the posterior
pharyngeal muscles" - there is persistence of respiratory movements, but airflow
is absent due to upper airway obstruction. Study shows awakening occurs when the
arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide rise or oxygen falls. Severe apnea,
which affects about 1 percent of the general adult population, often results in
400-500 awakenings a night. Moreover, depending on the severity and the number
of episodes of sleep apnea, the patient's daily life and survival can be greatly
endangered. According to the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, over an eight-year
period, a 37 percent death rate has been reported among persons with apnea (20
episodes or more per hour). The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study also reported sleep
apnea is more likely to occur in men then women, for...