Sleep Disturbance and Insomnia
In 2010 it was estimated that 1.5 million Australians were diagnosed with sleep disorders.
The struggle of striking the perfect work/life balance is causing too many of us to trade in precious sleeping time to ensure we complete all the jobs we believe are expected of us. Yet it's a long known fact that lack of sleep and interrupted sleep patterns can leave us bad-tempered, snappy and looking beat, not to mention elevating our cravings for carbohydrates.
Research carried out by sleep expert Professor Derk-Jan Dijk and his arsenal of scientists at the University of Surrey report that insufficient sleep affects at least 700 genes in the human body and has even more adverse repercussions than initially thought. The professor maintains that sleep is “the pillar of health” and is just as important as exercise and diet.
There are at least 70 clinically confirmed sleep disorders that are listed in the International Classification of Sleep Disorders however the most common are;
- Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
- Primary Insomnia
- Restless Leg Syndrome
Numerous studies show that short sleep duration times, usually shorter than six hours are connected with destructive health consequences. In the short term these are:
- Memory and Cognitive Impairment- Concentration, working memory, mathematical capacity, and logical reasoning are all aspects of cognitive function that are compromised by sleep deprivation.
- Increased food consumption and appetite- Recent research proposes that lack of sleep could be a contributing factor to problems like diabetes and weight gain. Experts in the subject theorise that people eat more food simply to compensate for all the calories they use as they burn the midnight oil.
- Obesity - Between the years 1982 and 1984 the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted a study involving 9,000 people which aided researchers to find that people who averaged six hours of sleep per night were 27% more likely to be overweight than their 7 to 9 hour colleagues. Those averaging 5 hours of sleep per night were 73 % more likely to be overweight.
- Poor Quality of Life- sleep disorder sufferers might find themselves being unable to take part in certain activities that involve giving constant attention.
- Decreased Performance and Alertness- Sleep deprivation induces significant decreases in performance and alertness. Reducing your night-time sleep by as little as 1.5 hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32%.
- Stressed relationships- Interference of a bed partner's sleep habits due to a sleep disorder may cause significant problems for the relationship, for instance partners can find themselves sleeping in separate bedrooms which can lead to a loss of intimacy and feelings of disconnection.
- Heart disease- Short-term sleep deprivation is known to elevate blood pressure as well as stress hormones, it reduces glucose tolerance and can even lead to irregular heartbeats. Professor Francesco Cappuccio who co-authored a report published in the European Heart Journal said: "If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep you stand a 48% greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15% greater chance of developing or dying from a stroke”.
According to a research review published in 2007, hypnosis can ease insomnia and can also be a useful aid in the treatment of nightmares, sleep terrors, bedwetting, and even sleepwalking.
Deepening Sleep by Hypnotic Suggestion - results demonstrate the effectiveness of hypnotic suggestions to specifically increase the amount and duration of slow wave sleep. Maren J. Cordi, Angelika A Schlarb - University of Zurich - SLEEP 2014;37(6):1143-1152.
Re-awakening Australia: The economic cost of sleep disorders in Australia, 2010. This is a significant document outlining the costs both obvious and hidden on the cost of insomnia and sleep problems. Sleep Health Foundation October 2011.
Evidence Based Hypnotherapy for the Management of Sleep Disorders - review the existing empirical literature on applications of hypnotherapy in the treatment of sleep disturbance. Graci GM, Hardie JC - Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2007 55(3):288-302.
Are You T’wired? - an interesting article that describes the combination of being wired and tired and the importance of getting real rest. Huffington Post - Rubin Naima Ph.d