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.
My husband is a neatnik and champion sleeper, and I’m messy and prone to insomnia. Could there be a relationship between household clutter and sleep quality?
Yes, says Pamela Thacher, a psychology professor at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. The results of a survey Thacher and student Alexis Reinheimer conducted recently suggest that hoarders are more likely to have sleep problems than people living with less clutter, and that getting rid of clutter might be conducive to better sleep.
It’s Cyber Monday, and maybe you’re looking for just the right gift for someone with insomnia. Not to worry.
Here are some suggestions for holiday gifts this year. (And if none of these suggestions appeal, check out my 2013 and 2014 holiday gift blogs.)
Trouble sleeping is common in women at menopause, or so conventional thinking goes. Yet the latest word is that it’s during perimenopause when the trouble starts to brew.
Genetic factors may partly explain why insomnia is more common in women than in men. But hormonal changes during perimenopause and later in life are often cited as a more proximal cause of sleep problems that occur in midlife and older women.
People come here looking for solutions to sleep problems. Some read about sleep restriction, a drug-free insomnia treatment, and decide to try it on their own. It’s not rocket science: insomnia sufferers who follow the guidelines often improve their sleep. It’s empowering to succeed.
But self-treatment is not the right approach for everyone. Sometimes insomnia is complicated by another disorder, or what looks like insomnia is actually something else. In both cases, the best thing to do is to have yourself evaluated by a sleep specialist ASAP.
For every two men who have insomnia, three women do. Why are women more susceptible than men to this common sleep disorder?
It has partly to do with women’s genetic make-up, researchers state in a paper published this month in the journal Sleep. A team of geneticists conducted a longitudinal analysis of data from a large twin study and found that the estimated heritability of insomnia was 38 percent for males and 59 percent for females.
Beyond this, the factors that make women more vulnerable to insomnia are not so clear. One line of thinking is that women’s increased risk may have to do with hormonal changes associated with the reproductive system. Here are some recent findings about women’s susceptibility to insomnia during the reproductive years.
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.