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NOTE:   All the studies we will review are tagged with citation numbers like this:   [2]
If you “click” on that red number, you will be transported to the actual study.
Many of the graphics can also be enlarged by clicking on them.

Sleepless in Seattle?

Insomnia, also known as sleep deprivation, is so common that there’s a whole sub-genre of movies dedicared to sleeplessness.   Staying up late to watch a movie can be fun... but lying wide-awake and helpless is another thing entirely.

According to the Center for Sleep Disorders at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 30-40% of adults experience some symptoms of insomnia in any given year, and about 10-15 percent of adults suffer from chronic insomnia.   [1]

Insomnia plays havoc with life, because it saps your energy levels, depresses your mood and health, decreases your work performance, and ravages the quality of life.   [2]

This issue of HealthQuest will discuss the preventable causes of insomnia (including stress, anxiety, and over-stimulation) and then will review those Shaklee products that have a proven track record for encouraging relaxation, stress-reduction, and improved sleeping patterns.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a persistent disorder that makes it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both, despite the opportunity for adequate sleep. [3]   Insomnia commonly leads to daytime sleepiness, lethargy and a general feeling of being unwell, both mentally and physically.

Sleep-loss can also cause serious life complications, including:

  • Decreased Performance and Alertness
  • Memory and Cognitive Impairment
  • Poor Quality of Life
  • Occupational Injury
  • Relationship Stress
  • Automobile Injuries   [3]

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving causes:

  100,000 automobile crashes,
  71,000 injuries, and
  1,550 fatalities every year.

Insomnia is multifactorial, including physical factors such as the medicines we take, or the foods we eat and drink, and may often include psychological factors like stress or emotional loss.

There may also be an underlying medical condition which may can lead to chronic insomnia, such as:

  chronic pain syndromes,
  congestive heart failure,
  acid-reflux (GERD),
  sleep apnea,
  chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),
  Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and

Short-term insomnia is often caused by recent events and unhappy experiences.   [4]

Another cause of insomnia is over-stimulation of the senses.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki report that media technology in the bedroom disrupts the sleep patterns of children.

They found that children with TVs, computers, video games, DVD players or mobile phones in their bedrooms slept considerably less than children without those devices in their bedrooms.
[5],   [6]

We all know that caffeine can disrupt our sleep patterns. However, the “Ask the Pharmacist” website provides a LONG list of over-the-counter and prescription medications may ALSO cause insomnia:

  • Cold remedies,
  • corticosteroids,
  • statins,
  • alpha blockers,
  • SSRI antidepressants,
  • ACE inhibitors,
  • and a long list of other drugs.   [7]

From a medical standpoint, there are two types of insomnia:

Primary insomnia:   means that a person’s sleep problems are not directly associated with any other health condition or problem.

Secondary insomnia:   means that a person is having sleep issues because of a health condition

like asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, or heartburn;

or a medication they are taking;

or a substance they are using (like alcohol or caffeine).

The hormonal swings during menopause may also disrupt sleep cycles.   The newest addition to the list of causes is sleep apnea, first written about in 1965 by French and German scientists. [8]   PubMed currently lists over 39,000 articles just on sleep apnea.   [9]

Cottage Industry or Big Business?

A leading independent market research organization recently released a 145-page study entitled:
The U.S. Sleep Market”.   Based on statistics available to them through 2007, they found that:

“Of a total population of 305 million Americans, 58% are estimated to experience insomnia symptoms or sleep disorders.   Companies across America are trying to sell us a perfect night's sleep with sleeping pills, premium mattresses, high tech pillows, white noise machines, sleep masks, aromatherapy, and more.

Sleep disorder diagnosis and sleep hygiene has fast become a $23.7 billion a year industry.”   [10]

Anyone who remembers the death of Marilyn Monroe,   [11] or the best-selling 1966 novel “Valley of the Dolls”   [12]   is familiar with the risks posed by drugs that “help us sleep”.

Although barbiturates eventually fell out of favor, this new generation of sleep drugs all have negative impact on the kidney and liver, and the list of other side effects, according to the FDA, is downright terrifying.   [13]

Let’s look at some conservative and safe things to do first.

Heroic Medicine will always be waiting in the wings, if the natural approach isn’t sufficient.

The Natural Approach to Relaxation and Sleep

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Your Shaklee

Frank M. Painter, DC

HealthQuest Newsletter
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Alternative Care

La Grange, IL

(708) 352-8237

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