by Rich Nilsen,
If struggle with getting refreshing sleep on a regular basis, you are hardly alone. Approximately 70 million Americans regularly suffer from insomnia each year, and it is 1.4 times more common in women than men. On average fifty-eight percent of adults in the U.S. experience symptoms of insomnia a few nights a week or more.
Forty-four percent of U.S. adults are considered “problem sleepers.” About one-fifth of those in a clinical survey used drugs to counter-act insomnia at least once per week, and nearly 24 percent “depended” on sleep medication. Consumer Reports magazine found that 38 percent of those who had taken medication in the past month had been doing so for a minimum of two months. Who wants or needs that?
Consumer Reports also reported in their findings that the most common cause of insomnia was stress. Respondents worried about issues such as money, health, job security and family.
In 2001, 38 percent of adults were getting a minimum of eight hours sleep each night. Within only seven years this percentage had dropped to an alarming 26 percent. Ouch!
Just how many people are affected by sleep issues? A survey in February 2009 by the National Association of Home Builders, which included builders and architects, predicted that over 60 percent of custom-made houses would have dual master bedrooms by the year 2015. That is a sad state of affairs for America’s marriages.
It’s an epidemic in this country and around the world, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Sleep is so vital to our overall well being and health. How can we be productive on the job or at home with the family if we are not fully alert? We might be able to succeed in the short term, but sleep deprivation always catches up to the person suffering from sleepless nights.
The question to ask yourself is how many nights per week do you not get a sound sleep? How many nights per week do you struggle to fall asleep or wake up much sooner than you want? Do you awake in the middle of the night and can not fall back to sleep?
If your answer is more than one night than you are suffering from sleep deprivation. There are several steps you need to take to begin to right the ship. For starters, turn off your electronic leash – iPad, blackberry, laptop – at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime. This will be one of the hardest things to do for many people, so I figured I would throw this out there early.
We’ll dive more into the steps you need to take in next week’s blog installment. In the meantime, power down and get some rest!