How important is a good night’s sleep? Sleep is vital to a person’s mental and physical health.
A study conducted at the University of Iowa showed that sleeping fewer than 7.5 hours a night increased a person’s risk of injury by 61 percent.
Research indicates that teenagers grow while they are actually asleep, their growth hormones are secreted in the deepest phase of slow-wave sleep. They also have different sleep patterns, and sleeping in late is good for them. Could some adolescents could be stunting their growth by not sleeping properly? The American National Sleep Foundation actually presented a symposium on teenagers ‘sleep phase delay’ in June 2005, and the Manatee County School Board, Florida successfully lobbied to delay the start of the school day to cater for his sleep phase delay. Teenagers are at risk of sleeping badly during stressful exam times. Teenagers who are up early for school, and playing sport on the weekends rarely get the chance to sleep in.
Dr. Mindelll and Dr. Barry Jacobson’s study Sleep Disturbances During Pregnancy showed that by the end of pregnancy 97.3% of women were waking up at night, an average of 3.11 times. And all mothers know that if their baby is not sleeping the whole family suffers. The mother gets tired and cranky, and then feels guilty if she snaps at the other children during the day. A little later comes menopause, hot flashes, and some more sleep challenges.
If you’re a shift-worker, it effects the patients in the hospital, you’re accuracy, and your own long-term health. Recently the Danish government commenced paying compensation to women who have developed breast cancer after years of working night shift. One of the reports published in the journal of the National Cancer Institute showed a 36% greater risk of breast cancer for women who had worked night shifts for more than 30 years, compared with women who had never worked nights. Previously there have been studies indicating higher rates of cardio-vascular disease and gastro-intestinal disadvantages, low birth-weight in babies and longer pregnancies for women. There now appears to be mounting evidence that shift work could suppress the production of melatonin in the body. (Melatonin is believed to have some beneficial effects in preventing the onset of cancer.) If anyone needs optimal melatonin production you would hope it would be shift-workers.
Insurance companies ask whether people suffer from insomnia in their policy documents.
It’s also difficult when there are other medical problems that people are dealing with, at the same time as having disturbed sleep e.g. people in pain from illness, recovering from surgery, living with HIV, tinnitus sufferers, snorers, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, asthma, indigestion, coughing, even just a cold. And mental difficulties include dementia, mental health problems, stress, anxieties, bi-polar disorder etc.
Trying to sleep can become more challenged if you are taking a combination of prescriptions – each of which may or may not be totally compatible with the next.
I think the strategy here is to do the best you can with the information you have available at the time. There is no benefit in adding on yet another stress to the situation. Many insomniacs apparently underestimate the length of time that they are actually asleep at night.
So, yes, be totally informed about what you’re dealing with, and what the side effects of your prescriptions are, take whatever measures seem logical and practical, and then do the best you can with your ATTITUDE to the situation you are in. The more positive your attitude, the greater the chance to find some creative results.
Utilize whatever methods are available to make your time more restful and relaxed, by playing great music, relaxing, looking after yourself as best you can, taking appropriate supplements, exercising, eating nutritious food, and being with the people you love.
Concentrate on the positives and work with your situation one day at a time.