Not Getting Enough Sleep Can Harm Your Health
by Harriet Hodgson
"Sleep Habits: More Important Than You Think" says the stresses of daily life can
alter your sleep. According to the article, there are several types of sleep disorders.
Excessive sleep, which is called hypersomnia, is defined as getting more than 10
hours of sleep a night and still feeling sleepy the next day. Disrupted sleep is the term
used for people who get less sleep and never experience deep sleep. "Woman are
twice as likely than men to suffer sleep disorders," the article explains.
Molly M. Ginty, a correspondent for the Womensenews website, writes about lack of
sleep in her article, "Sleep Deprivation Threatens Women's Health." She says an
increasing number of American women suffer from a lack of sleep. "Stretched to
their limits by screaming toddlers, demanding bosses and financial worries that keep
them up at night," Ginty writes, "these women are one reason the National Sleep
Foundation has declared March 28-April 3 as National Sleep Awareness Week."
In recent weeks I have become aware of the toll a lack of sleep takes on the body. A
month ago I caught a cold and coughing kept me awake at night. After a week of
disrupted sleep I felt like I was living my life in slow motion. And I was. Though
daytime naps helped, I longed for a solid night of sleep. I took some steps to control
my cough and finally slept through the night.
See your doctor if you have ongoing sleep problems. She or he can perform tests to
evaluate your sleep and the extent of your sleep deprivation. Medications may keep
you from sleeping and your doctor can review medications, including
over-the-counter ones and supplements, to see what is going on. Your doctor may
ask you to keep a sleep diary, noting the date, time, medications you took, stressful
situations, food you ate, and whether or not you exercised. Most doctors ask their
patients to keep this diary for at least a month.
Though I did not keep a sleep diary, I tracked the number of nights I was awake, ate
bland food, and went for daily walks. Poor sleep is associated with many serious
medical illnesses, such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke, obesity, psychiatric
problems, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). So do everything you can to cure
your insomnia. Your health depends on it.
Copyright 2010 by Harriet Hodgson
About The Author
Harriet Hodgson has been an independent journalist for decades. She is a member of
the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of Health Care
Journalists, and Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her 24th book,
"Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief," written with Lois Krahn, MD is
available from Amazon.
Centering Corporation has published her 26th book, "Writing to Recover: The
Journey from Loss and Grief to a New Life" and a companion journal with 100 writing
prompts. Hodgson is a monthly columnist for "Caregiving in America" magazine.
Please visit her website and learn more about this busy author and grandmother.
All of us have times when we are
awake at night. We toss and turn
and, when we awaken in the
morning, have little energy. Sleep
deprivation (insomnia) has many
consequences, including lack of
alertness, decreased performance,
mental impairment, poor quality of
life, job injuries, and car injuries. Why
can't you get a good night's sleep?
Illness, such as a bad cold or the flu,
can interrupt your sleep. Financial
problems may also keep you awake.
You may be working two jobs to
make ends meet. A WebMD article,
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