Sleep and related topics are among the most popular topics on the web, so the doctors of Humanitas have decided to try to answer all the most common questions asked by patients in the new column “Ask Humanitas”. The protagonists in this case are two specialists, Dr. Lara Fratticci, Assistant in the Autonomous Section of Emergency Neurology and Stroke Unit of Humanitas, and Dr. Vincenzo Tullo, Head of the Humanitas Encephalic Outpatient Clinic.
Is it true that you dream every night?
“It is almost impossible that an individual, during an entire cycle of sleep, does not dream – replied Dr. Fratticci -. It is more likely that he does not remember. The sleep phase known as the REM phase is the phase in which an individual usually dreams: during the night there are about five cycles of this phase”.
Sense of falling: why it happens
The feeling you are about to fall suddenly during sleep happens because the nervous system feels some anomalies, caused for example by a decrease in the rhythm and frequency of the breath. “Perceived by our organism as an alarm, these anomalies lead to the so-called hypnic spasm, which gives a sense of falling”, explained Dr. Tullo.
Drowsiness during the day? Often it is the fault of too many carbohydrates
“Sleepiness after meals is often due to excessive consumption of carbohydrates or sugars – clarified Dr. Fratticci – which reduce the activity of neurons that produce orexin, a substance that keeps our bodies awake. As explained by Dr. Tullo, a constant feeling of drowsiness during the day can also be due simply to the fact that you have slept little and badly, or also because there are underlying problems. If this feeling persists over time, it is advisable for the patient to consult a doctor and an outpatient clinic for sleep disorders that can check and possibly diagnose the problem”.
How to monitor sleep? Is there an examination?
It exists and is called polysomnography: through different types of examinations and investigations such as the electroencephalogram, in fact, the doctor can monitor the phases of sleep and know the brain activity of the patient. With the saturmetry the level of oxygen in the blood is monitored and with an abdominal and thoracic band the movements of the patient’s body are recorded instead.