Insomnia, also known as sleep deprivation, is so common that theres a whole sub-genre of movies dedicated 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), 3040% of adults experience some symptoms of insomnia in any given year, and about 1015 percent of adults suffer from chronic insomnia.
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.
This issue of HealthQuest will discuss the preventable causes of insomnia (including stress, anxiety, and over-stimulation) and 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.
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
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
lead to chronic insomnia, such as:
chronic pain syndromes,
congestive heart failure,
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),
Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and
Short-term insomnia is often caused by recent events and unhappy experiences.
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.
We also 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 can ALSO cause insomnia:
- Cold remedies,
- alpha blockers,
- SSRI antidepressants,
- ACE inhibitors,
- and a long list of other drugs.
From a medical standpoint, there are two types of insomnia:
means that a persons sleep problem is not directly caused by another health condition or problem.
Secondary insomnia means that a person is having sleep issues because of another health condition
such as 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 of 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.
PubMed currently lists over 58,000 articles just on sleep apnea.