As many of us are already (unfortunately) personally aware, sleep problems are estimated to be the #1 health issue in the United States today (Breus, 2006), with at least 70 million Americans reporting difficulty sleeping.
Those of us in this group may be worried because we know that sleep loss can have adverse effects on many body processes, including the immune system, insulin regulation, blood pressure maintenance and the production of digestive hormones and stress chemicals (Stein, 2005).
Additionally, we may have heard that sleep deprivation has been found to be associated with coronary artery calcification, obesity, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, heart disease and stroke (King, 2008). Yikes!
But it is the negative effect of sleep loss on mental health that is the primary concern of this blog. Consider these compelling statistics:
- Approximately 80% of people with mental health concerns also suffer from insomnia (the overlap with clinical depression runs as high as 85%).
- Contrary to the longstanding view that insomnia is symptomatic of and secondary to depression, sleep science is now asserting that insomnia is also a major cause of clinical depression (Naiman, 2006).
- Even in healthy subjects, sleep deprivation has been shown to cause emotional instability and pathological psychiatric patterns (Anderson, 2007).
- Adolescents with insomnia are at a greater risk for somatic and psychological problems (“Chronic Insomnia,” 2008).
Clearly, quality sleep and mental health go hand in hand.
Whether you are having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling refreshed by your sleep, this blog and my practice can help. Stay tuned to Sound Sleep Matters for more resources, stories and research updates (consider subscribing by clicking on the *Follow button below).
And please, if you’re experiencing chronic sleep issues that you can’t seem to fix, don’t hesitate to check out my services and then call or email me today to take the first step on your journey to better sleep.