Got a Health Problem – Why Not Sleep On It?

by DavalosMcCormack on June 12, 2008

Sleep is one of those things you rarely think about. It’s natural right? Of course it is. At least until it isn’t. It’s really quite amazing how vital sleep is to our health. I’m not just talking about feeling tired and drowsy all day if you don’t get a good night’s sleep. I’m not even talking about how it’s as big a safety risk as drunk driving for people behind the wheel. I’m talking about a lot of new studies that show that lack of sleep is really, and I mean really, bad for you.

This next list of studies all come from one days worth of presentations at the 2008 Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS). It’s not the kind of thing you want to read before going to bed, because even if you didn’t have insomnia beforehand, you will after reading this.

– Women worrying about cancer are more likely to experience sleep disturbances than other women

– Poor sleep can affect a student’s grades

– Postpartum mothers of twins have significant sleep restriction (OK, this should go into the “duh, no kidding category, but still)

– College students involved in extra-curricular activities are more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation

– Poor sleep is a problem for long-term breast cancer survivors

– Insomnia significantly affects the school performances of college students

– Poor sleep quality and insomnia associated with suicidal symptoms among college students.

– Excessive cell phone and text message use among teens increases risk of sleep problems.

So, there you have it. If you have had breast cancer you can’t sleep. If you are worried about breast cancer you can’t sleep. If you are doing too many classes at college you can’t sleep. If you can’t sleep you are more likely to do poorly in class. If you do poorly in class you are less likely to sleep. If you are doing poorly in class and can’t sleep you are more likely to commit suicide or think about committing suicide.

Dear god in heaven. Where does it all end. It’s amazing any of these researchers get a good night’s sleep isn’t it?

Oh, and I forgot to mention the new study out of UCLA, in the journal ‘Neuroscience Letters’, saying that anyone who suffers from sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder, may also be at risk of suffering memory problems.

How can anyone get a good night’s sleep with all this on their mind!

But what’s most interesting to me is that something we all take for granted, going to sleep, can have such a profound and wide ranging impact on our health. Not just physical, or physiological, but also mental and emotional. It makes you wonder if any of the other things we take for granted, such as breathing, can be equally important. But, that’s a story for another day.

I remember one time interviewing Dr. William Dement, the Stanford University Professor widely regarded as the “father of sleep medicine”. Dr. Dement told me he always went to bed at the same time every night. And I mean, every night. Once he left his daughter’s wedding reception around 8pm so he could be home and in bed on time. Another time he was being given a prestigious award for his work. He left the award ceremony early so he could be in bed on time. This man took his work seriously.

Having read all those studies and seen the impact sleep has on our bodies and our brains, maybe he was right after all. A good night’s sleep is more than just important in recharging our batteries, it’s essential for recharging our brains, our immune systems, our emotional resilience, our physical health.

So how do you go about getting a good night’s sleep. Well, you could always just call Shirley and get her to give you a hypnotherapy session. She’s amazing. Or you could check out this article from the Mayo Clinic, ten tips on how to catch some zzzzzz’s.

Sleep tight. And don’t let the bed bugs bite.

See, now how can you fall asleep when you are worried about bed bugs. Or the Sandman chucking sand in your eyes. Boy, when you think about what our parents told us it’s no wonder none of us can sleep! Well, sleep tight! What the heck does that mean.

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