When was the last time you got a really good night's sleep?
Many of us walk around complaining that we're tired without realizing that the
average American woman gets only 6.5 hours sleep per night - when 7 to 8 hours
is recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. Doctors are the worst patients
in this arena: the average family physician sleeps only 4 to 5 hours per day.
Sleep deprivation is usually caused by the demands of the alarm clock, but
insomnia is different: insomnia means not being able to sleep when you want
to and have the opportunity to do so. Insomnia has many diverse causes: age,
stress, and many physical or mental illnesses. There are also specific sleep
disorders resulting from medical conditions such as restless leg syndrome, sleep
apnea, or fibromyalgia. In addition, women also suffer from sleep disturbances
when their hormones are acting up: menarche, menstruation, pregnancy, nursing,
perimenopause, and menopause. One in 4 women report that they suffer from daytime
sleepiness and nearly half admit that they have driven a car while drowsy -
although these same people would never consider driving under the influence
of alcohol, the effects can be just as awful. This can be a fatal mistake and
should be a serious wake-up call for anyone who has found themselves in that
Sleep deprivation has serious consequences beyond making your irritable and
cranky. Sleep deficits have been linked to poor job or school performance,
general fatigue, increased incidence of accidents, and increased risk of illness.
Click here for related information.
Created: 2/7/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.