Recently scientists’ interest has been directed toward the neurobiology of sleep and wakefulness, among other things. Although the two phenomena seem to be somewhat inter-related they still exhibit distinct differences in the neurochemical systems that are involved in their functions. Sleep-wake disorder is becoming one of the most commonly reported health disorders in the United States. Currently, the prevalence of sleep-wake disorders is between 50 to 70 million in the United States alone. At global level sleep disorders constitute an epidemic that affects 45% of the world population. It is no wonder that research is increasingly being directed toward the neurophysiology of sleep and wakefulness in order to try and understand the mechanisms that are involved in regulating these behaviors. The potential roles played by pathways, transmitters as well as receptors is being rigorous examined and analyzed by scientists. One of the components of the sleep-wake regulatory process is the influence exerted by the circadian rhythm. Scientists have discovered that the sleep structure of an individual is mediated by the interaction between circadian and the sleep-wake-dependent oscillatory processes. The circadian pacemaker is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus or the SCN which functions as the motor that drives the circadian program. As such it is known as the brain’s master clock. Any damage to the SCN, particularly damage in the form of lesions of the retinohypothalamic tract (RHT) of the SCN can significantly throw off the sleep pattern of the organism involved. A healthy circadian rhythm gives the organism the necessary flexibility to adapt to environmental fluctuations as well as to physiological cycles of environmental cues. This is what establishes the pattern of sleep-wakefulness that is optimum for the organism’s health needs. There have been claims that the disruption of the circadian rhythm may be linked to a myriad of diseases that include DNA damage responses and abnormal cellular metabolism because scientists posit that specific genes that control the circadian rhythm interact significantly with regulators of the cell cycle. Such types of physiological damages may require the affected individual to seek biomedical evaluation and treatment regimens.
Other times though, insomnia can be caused by spiritual problems. Believers should accept sleep as a gift from God. This is not to say one should live to sleep for the Bible itself cautions us against loving too much sleep because it leads to poverty (Proverbs 20:13). However, it also cautions against depriving ourselves of healthy sleep. There are individuals who feel guilty about sleeping because they believe it takes away the time they need to push themselves to achieve their goals. For such people this is what the Word of God says “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat, for he grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalm 127:2). A concerted of spiritual leaders and biomedical experts can provide the necessary care and restore a healthy sleep pattern.
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