Extract from Chapter 2 : What
are Sleep Disorders?
How To Overcome Sleepless Nights
We've all been there.
Worrying, restless or tense you go to bed exhausted, only
to find yourself tossing and turning - unable to sleep.
You know you need the sleep but for some reason you just
can't turn off your thoughts.
For some people this
only lasts for a night, however for others it can last
for weeks, months, years or even a lifetime. The lack
of sleep can affect your health, your work and your relationships
as you stumble through the day feeling tired and irritable.
The term insomnia is
often thought of as a severe form of sleeplessness that
keeps the sufferer awake all night. However, the term
can also be used to describe those occasional sleepless
nights we all experience from time to time and to milder
forms of poor quality sleep that can rob you of your energy
and alertness but don't necessarily make you go to see
Insomnia refers to
the inability to get to sleep at night, or the waking
up during the night and not being able to get back to
Many people suffer
from occasional sleep problems with an estimated one third
of the American population having some form of severe
insomnia. Insomnia can be caused by stress but also includes
physical problems such as nightmares, body jerking, snoring
problems, teeth grinding and sleepwalking to name just
occur from infancy through to old age with a significant
rise in incidence in old age. Most people don't consult
a doctor about their problem or resort to sleeping pills
or tranquilizers to help.
Sleeplessness and your Health
The consequences of
sleep deprivation are more problematic than most people
would perhaps think. Studies have shown that people suffering
with severe or chronic insomnia suffer at work and are
less productive. They often give up their interests, leisure
activities and social engagements because they are too
tired after work, leading to the deterioration of their
quality of life.
Sleep deprived people
are also more likely to have road traffic accidents and
their numbers nearly equal those of drunk drivers. This
is often due to falling asleep at the wheel.
Lack of sleep accumulates
into what is known as a sleep debt, with many people carrying
a huge sleep debt without realizing. People with greater
sleep debts are slower to recover from illness and are
more vulnerable to catching infections, viruses and other
The immune system needs
good quality sleep to function at its optimal level. Many
insomniacs report that they seem to catch more colds than
The more that is learned
about sleep the more it is realized how important it is
to our overall health and indeed the quality of our life.