Humans spend about one third of their lives sleeping and 10% (or more!) of those suffer from sleep disorders. It is therefore worth thinking about sleep.
Untreated sleep disorders are serious because sleep deprivation:
- is responsible for disasters like automobile accidents, the Exxon oil spill, Three Mile Island, railroad crashes.
- contributes to loss of sense of humor, lack of motivation, indecisiveness, and cognitive impairment.
- robs us of resiliency; we get more irritable than usual.
- makes it hard to concentrate. Foggy thinking is a real problem for students and especially if being alert is part of your job.
- leads to decreased daytime energy, sighing, and the common complaint, “I’m so tired!”
- leads to depression and depression leads to sleeplessness. Depression could be the body’s way of saying, “I need to manage my energy-restoring sleep better!”
- leads to alcohol abuse, especially when used as a sleeping aid.
Getting a good night’s sleep involves:
- biology (getting our brain chemicals in balance)
- sociology (matching our circadian rhythms with our rock around the clock society)
- psychology (off loading stress and anxiety)
- nutrition (digestion and stimulants affect sleep)
- the environment (dealing with noisy dogs, fussy babies, lumpy mattresses)
- economics (juggling jet lag and shift work)
- couple’s mediation (when snoring, twitching, and tossing and turning drive you crazy).
Early in my career I noticed how often disputants in mediation meetings yawned. Tiredness was so common among my clients I took extra classes, read extra books, spent the night wired up in a sleep clinic, and learned as much as I could on how to help people enjoy better sleep hygiene. For the next eight days we’ll look at the highlights of my research.
Day Two: Are You Sleep Deprived?
Day Three: Why Can’t I Fall/Stay Asleep?
Day Four: Are There Any Benefits to Sleeplessness?
Day Five: How to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Day Six: Sleep and Marriage
Day Seven: Why Do We Resist Rest?
Day Eight: Hints on Shift Work
Day Nine: Free Sleeping Aid