About 44% of people with insomnia also have a mental illness such as depression or generalized anxiety. So it’s no surprise that in healthy female college students there’s a relationship between sleep and mood, or affect.
But just what that relationship is—and how normal variations in sleep and affect might morph into insomnia and/or a mood disorder—hasn’t been established. Here’s what researchers at Kent State University and Henry Ford Hospital have found out.
If you have chronic insomnia, you may have developed anxiety about sleep. I had lots of sleep-related anxiety until I went through sleep restriction. Once my sleep stabilized, the anxiety disappeared.
Studies have shown that cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) is modestly effective at controlling anxiety. It’s FDA approved and widely used in the armed forces for anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, and depression.
Back when my insomnia was chronic, I had a lot of scary dreams. They left me with a pounding heart and fear that could keep me awake for a couple of hours.
Surprisingly little is known about the dreams of people with insomnia. So when a new article about insomnia sufferers’ dreams came out in Sleep Medicine, I snapped it up.
I went to my family physician for a routine physical last week. I hadn’t had one in a while, so I decided to get the exam and requisitions for the usual blood work.
This doctor is one whose opinions I respect. But I never hesitate to speak up when information I have leads me to question those opinions. One topic we’ve had discussions about is insomnia and sleeping pills.
Rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) is when most dreams occur. Episodes of REM sleep also help defuse negative emotions and improve the learning of motor skills.
Until recently, insomnia wasn’t thought to be a problem of REM sleep. Insomnia, the thinking went, was caused mainly by phenomena occurring—or failing to occur—during quiet, or non-REM, sleep: insufficient deep sleep, for example, or wake-like activity occurring in other stages of non-REM sleep, resulting in insufficient or poor sleep.
In the past few years, though, REM sleep has become a suspect in the quest to identify what causes people to wake up frequently in the middle of the night and too early in the morning. (This type of insomnia is called sleep maintenance insomnia). Here’s more about this intriguing proposition.
If you have insomnia, you’ve probably heard it’s best to avoid naps. Maybe you heard it from your doctor in a conversation about the rules of “good sleep hygiene,” or maybe you read it in a magazine. Is the advice to refrain from napping really sound advice and, if so, do you have to swear off napping completely to get a better night’s rest?
There are no one-size-fits-all answers to these questions, say researchers who recently reviewed the evidence behind the recommendation to avoid napping and other sleep-related do’s and don’ts. It depends on your age and situation.
People sometimes offer advice when they hear about my insomnia. Their suggestions are not always helpful.
In fact, I used to feel impatient with–and occasionally hurt by—comments that to my ears sounded judgmental or attitudes toward insomnia that I felt were just plain wrong. The comments were well meaning, but that didn’t make them easier to tolerate. Here are a few that put me off and what I think about them now.
Think back, if you suffer from both depression and insomnia. Which came first?
For years, the thinking on the subject was that depression gave rise to sleep problems, but the story is different today. It looks more and more like chronic insomnia is a way station to depression.