Everyone needs sleep. Sleep allows the body to rest and affects both physical and mental health. While scientists are unsure of everything that sleep does for the body, there is no question that sleep is necessary for survival. But, how much sleep does a person really need?
The amount of sleep a person requires is affected by the person’s age. As people age, they tend to need less sleep.Babies need an average of 16 hours of sleep per day and teenagers require approximately nine hours. By the time someone is an adult, they generally need an average of seven to eight hours in order to remain in optimal health. Some people may function effectively on as little as five hours of sleep and others may need as many as ten hours per night in order to feel their best.
Lackof sleep has many effects on the brain and body. Some of the most common signs of sleep deprivation include poor reaction times, lessened judgment and problem-solving abilities. These symptoms of sleep deprivation can actually prove dangerous since they can affect a person’s ability to drive, operate other heavy machinery or make wise and rapid decisions in difficult situations. In addition,physical health is affected adversely by a lack of sleep and the body may be more prone to illness.
So, how can people determine if they are getting enough sleep? The following are signs of lack of sleep:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Ability to fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed
- Difficulty with concentration
- Inability to keep eyes focused
- Frequent yawning
The True Story of The Man Who Never Slept
*Fatal Familial Insomnia, or FFI, is a devastating genetic sleep disorder, which strikes during middle age and results in death. This is the story of Michael Corke*.
*Michael Corke* (Michel A *Corke*)
*Shortly after his 40th birthday in 1991, Michael Corke*, a music teacher from Chicago, began having trouble sleeping. In thefollowing weeks, the insomnia grew worse and his health rapidly deteriorated. Eventually he couldn’t sleep at all.
The doctors were baffled but could do nothing for him. Michael was physically and mentally exhausted, and wanted nothing more than to be able to fall asleep. But his brain wouldn’t let him.
Video footage of him appearing at a school orchestra concert revealed a frail old man - afar cry from the fit and healthy individual he was just months earlier. Eventually he was admitted to hospital and doctors diagnosed him with an extremely rare genetic disorder discovered just seven years prior: Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI).
*Michael Corke* died in hospital after six months from a complete lack of sleep.
Fatal Familial Insomnia is a rare curse that affects about 40families around the world. It is caused by *prion* diseases (mutated proteins) which can affect both humans and animals.
Fatal familial insomnia is a rare prion* disease that interferes with sleep and leads to deterioration of mental and motor functions. Death occurs within a few months to a few years.*
The disease usually begins between the ages of 40 and 60 but may begin in a person's late30s. At first, people may have minor difficulties falling asleep and occasional muscle twitching, spasms, and stiffness. Eventually, they cannot sleep. Occasionally, the sleep signs are difficult to detect. Other changes include a rapid heart rate and dementia. Death usually occurs about 7 to 36 months after symptoms begin.
*The first case (called Patient Zero by diseaseresearchers) was detected in 1974 by Ignazio* *Roiter* an Italian doctor. He knew of two women from one family who both died of insomnia. With further investigation, he learned that their family records showed a long history of family deaths due to insomnia.
Researchers believe that the disease began over 250 years ago by a wealthy Venetian doctor who carried the original mutated gene. The doctor...
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