Looking for an objective test of insomnia?
New research suggests there’s a relationship between insomnia and sleep spindles—sudden bursts of fast electrical activity that occur in the brain mostly during stage 2 sleep. Investigators at Concordia University in Montreal found that students with lower spindle activity reported more stress-related sleep problems than students whose spindle activity was high.
Worry is the most common reason people cite for sleep problems, and worry and sleep disturbance invite the use of alcohol. Worried insomnia sufferers are twice as likely as people without sleep disturbances to become problem drinkers.
But I’ve spoken and corresponded with quite a few people who say an occasional drink or two before bedtime gives them a good night’s sleep. Here’s a look at the effects of alcohol on the brain and differences in how people respond to it.
It’s no secret that acute pain following an accident can interfere with sleep.
But new research shows that insomnia is actually a stronger, more reliable predictor of pain than pain is of insomnia.
“Doesn’t everybody hate exercise?” a friend said as we were talking about ways to manage insomnia. It made me stop and think. I’ve known some couch potatoes in my day. Either they’re bored by anything not cerebral or they’re in thrall to their digital devices. Exercise can’t compete with their fascinating sedentary pursuits.
In this video book trailer, I talk about how I came to realize that exercise helps me sleep.
Is there a stigma attached to insomnia? Is it regarded in the same way as psychiatric disorders were regarded in the past–and are seen by some yet today–as something to keep quiet about for fear of others making negative assumptions about your habits and soundness of mind?
I revisited this issue over the weekend as I was responding to questions from Dr. Laura L. Mays Hoopes, a biologist and writer who has read my book and is interviewing me for her blog.
Some insomnia sufferers who visit my website head straight for the posts on sleep restriction. So I decided to create a video trailer where I could talk about my own experience of sleep restriction: how off-putting the idea was at first, and the results I later achieved.
My friend Lisa passed word of my book, The Savvy Insomniac, on to a friend, whose first question, Lisa reported, was this: Did I think insomnia was genetic?
Environmental stressors can trigger insomnia: everything from childhood abuse and loss of a parent to financial worries and divorce. Behaviors and attitudes can give rise to persistent sleep problems as well. Less well understood are the biological underpinnings of insomnia, yet research suggests they exist.
When female friends hit their 40s and 50s, they start talking to me about their sleep. “I never had insomnia before in my life.” “I wake up with hot flashes.” “I get these feelings of anxiety and I just can’t sleep!”
Perimenopause and menopause cause an uptick in sleep problems, insomnia, chief among them. But now there’s a new plant-based supplement that shows promise for women looking for relief from insomnia and other menopause-related symptoms.