Can chronic insomnia make you less attractive? speed up the aging of skin? cause irreversible damage to your face?
I heard these concerns as I interviewed insomniacs for my book. But recently I decided to check into them after receiving an email from a woman whose anxiety about her appearance was extreme:
You may know you’ve got insomnia. But could you prove it?
Researchers use pencil-and-paper tests to assess different aspects of sleep: sleep quality, insomnia severity, sleep reactivity, and sleep-related beliefs. If you’re unfamiliar with these questionnaires, you may find it interesting to look at them and see how you score.
Occasionally I hear from long-term users of sleeping pills who suspect the pills are doing more harm than good. Their sleep is not very satisfying and they don’t feel rested during the day.
Here’s why you might want to explore the idea of discontinuing sleeping pills and what to expect if you decide to do it.
I’m not going to plug the high protein diet as the surest path to weight loss (although some say it is). But I do want to pass on the news that going on a high protein diet may be a path to better sleep, especially in people who are overweight or obese.
This is not just the conclusion of single study, which may or may not hold up over time. Rather, a protein–sleep connection has been documented in a handful of recent studies. If you’ve got insomnia and can afford to lose a few pounds, consider these results.
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.
Interesting but dangerous: that’s what I heard about L-tryptophan supplements for several years. Research starting in the 1960s was showing that L-tryptophan might be an effective remedy for insomnia.
Then came the tryptophan-related outbreak of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) in 1989, killing 37 people and sickening thousands. The United States subsequently banned the supplements, and research on L-tryptophan and sleep came to a halt.
Now reviewers of alternative treatments for insomnia are again mentioning L-tryptophan as a substance of interest. Here are the pros and cons.
The evidence is now solid: short sleepers are far more susceptible to colds than average sleepers. Results of a study published this month in the journal Sleep show that people who sleep 6 hours or less are over 4 times as likely to catch a cold as people who get over 7 hours a night.
Here’s more, including steps you can take to dodge the bullet this year as cold and flu season begins.
A friend recently called to talk about insomnia. Her problem, she said, was that she couldn’t sleep past 3 a.m. Her doctor recommended taking melatonin and she wanted to know what I thought of this advice.
If you’ve got the type of insomnia where you wake up too early or too frequently (sleep maintenance insomnia), you may be interested in this update.