Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Need some ZZZ's?"

I recently came across this article on sleep disorders in an issue of Women magazine and how trying to "catch up" on sleep really doesn't work...

"The causes of sleep disorders and the reasons they persist vary. With insomnia, for example, different types of insomnia tend to have different causes. For instance, insomnia can be a conditioned response, meaning that it’s attributed to a significant event—such as a career change, divorce, or any stressful experience. The shock or anxiety associated with that event may trigger insomnia, but the disorder persists once the event has passed due to “strategies” that we put in place to cope with a lack of sleep."

"In general, says Allison T. Siebern, MD, associate director of the Insomnia and Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Stanford University, “Insomnia is the most prevalent sleep disorder.”
Dr. Siebern says that sometimes people respond to inadequate sleep by trying to sleep more. This won’t work, she says, because “Sleep is a biological process—you can’t force it.” So, efforts to sleep more tend to backfire by raising something called the hyperarousal system. This system is responsible for the stress response known as fight or flight, and once it’s raised the mind becomes extremely alert and the muscles are tense. Naturally, this state makes sleep increasingly difficult. As a result, says Dr. Siebern, “People become very frustrated that they can’t sleep,” and the cycle of unsuccessfully trying harder to sleep continues; insomnia is thus maintained. “There are processes that help regulate sleep,” she says, “so if you try to sleep outside the times you normally sleep, you’re physiologically in a place where you’re not able to sleep.”

To read the full article please click here 

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