Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Hope This Post Puts You To Sleep!

Insomnia isn’t something I’ve experienced often in my life.  I lean more towards hypersomnia.  Sleep, like being a dog-lover, comes easily to me.  I can pretty much fall asleep whenever and wherever I want.  As you can imagine, I’m a talented napper.  I’m also the sort of person who needs a solid nine hours of sleep every night.  It’s not just that I feel tired if I get less sleep than usual, but also that my personality changes.  An hour or two short of sleep and I become a cantankerous monster complete with tentacles, green complexion and oozing slime. 
Sleep also happens to be one of my most reliable problem-solving methods.  Tough decision?  Sleep on it overnight.  Writer’s block?  Take a nap.  Upsetting experience?  Go to bed early.  And it always helps.  No matter the problem, sleep always helps.  Sometimes I dream of a solution and other times I simply awake feeling more creative, more emotionally regulated and better able to cope. 

The few times that I’ve had insomnia have been A VERY BIG DEAL.  I know I’m experiencing a personal crisis when I can’t sleep and I can’t read.  Lucky for me, these events were acute and situational.  Each time, they passed within a few weeks.  Some folks, though, have recurring bouts of insomnia and others have chronic insomnia.  I’m talking about mind-numbing, life altering, debilitating loss of sleep.
Inadequate sleep, unfortunately, seems to be a growing problem and it’s not a minor one.  Peruse the research and you’ll find scads of reports indicating that humans in the digital age are sleeping a lot less than ever before.  You’ll also find mounting evidence that this trend is linked to a wide array of physical and mental health problems.  A single night of inadequate sleep can decrease judgment, perception and reaction so that experts compare it to alcohol-impaired driving.  As few as 72 hours of sleep deprivation can cause hallucinations.

Considering how poorly I function with less than optimum sleep, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that this decreased sleep trend may be impacting humans on a grand level.  If everyone got more sleep, would we be closer to solving wide-spread social problems?  Would there be fewer wars?  More creative inventions and solutions?  I don’t know.  It wouldn’t be a cure-all, but maybe it would help.  Perhaps more sleep for everyone would be one tiny, but integral, piece in the giant jigsaw puzzle.    
So, I’m urging you to get enough sleep.  Make sleep a priority.  If you, or someone you know, has significant or ongoing insomnia, get help from a medical provider.  Don’t minimize.  Don’t delay.  Don’t visit that river in Egypt.  The right amount of sleep will improve your health and it just might put us one nap closer to world peace. 

Sweet dreams!  Zzzzzzzzzzzz