You don’t want to look but you have to. Slowly, you roll over to see your fate…The bright numbers on your clock radio come into focus, revealing the time. You ask yourself, “How have I been laying here awake for 3 hours?” You try to salvage the dismal moment by saying…
“If I Fall Asleep Right Now I Can Still Get 3 Hours Of Sleep!”
Ever had a night like that? Odds are… you probably have. So, no one needs to tell you how not being able to fall asleep (or stay asleep) can make your life completely miserable. Earlier in this newsletter, you read how research has demonstrated bad health effects on police officers who don’t get normal sleep. The bottom line is: not getting the proper quality and quality of sleep is a very bad thing.
What causes insomnia?
This has proven to be a complex issue. Data released from Curetogether shows a very important and often overlooked possible cause. An October 30, 2009 article states patients who report depression are twice as likely to report insomnia as patients with no depression. This is self-reported data and it reproduces findings previously shown in slow and expensive clinical research. The self reported data from 761 patients was analyzed, and among the 533 people reporting depression, 384 (72%) reported also having insomnia. The remaining 149 specifically reported not having insomnia. Of the 228 people reporting “no depression,” 77 (34%) reported having insomnia, and the remaining 151 people specifically reported not having insomnia. 72% vs. 34% is statistically significant with a 95% confidence interval.
What does all this mean? Put short and sweet: It looks like depression is a major cause of insomnia.
Why is this important?
The first step in solving any health problem is first understanding its cause. Without first knowing the cause – treatments are nothing more than guesses. Since all drugs have harmful side effects, guessing with drugs can be a very bad thing. Insomnia is BIG business these days. There are many sleep aids that sell like hotcakes and you’ve probably heard some of the side effects. One side effect to really worry about is addiction to the medication. Insomnia should be taken very seriously. Lack of sleep has detrimental health effects…but so do some of the medications used for treatment. Now that research and data are showing depression plays a major part, if you are having difficulty sleeping, you should be aware of the possible causes. Many times, simple, natural remedies work for insomnia.
Remedies such as: (1) Going to bed and waking up at the same time every single day. This includes weekends and days you do not work. Sleeping late on weekends can disturb your sleep patterns. (2) Sleep in a quiet, dark room. Do not attempt to sleep with a radio or television on. This leads to un-restful sleep. (3) Eating before bedtime: Most people do best not eating too close to bedtime…but others, usually with fast metabolisms, sleep better eating a little protein before they go to bed. This is individualized and you must figure out which is best for you. (4) Meditation: Meditation or simply clearing your mind of stress and strain before bedtime can be a huge help. This may be linked to the depression cause of insomnia. Stress can be a little issue – or a big one that leads to depression. Controlling stress is one of the most important things you can do for quality sleep and your overall health. If these simple steps do not work for you, you may want to seek the help of a healthcare professional.