Stress and worry are major insomnia triggers, and so it’s hardly a surprise that the pandemic has set off a wave of lost sleep. Earlier this year, research in the journal Sleep Medicine found that the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 caused a 37% jump in the incidence of clinical insomnia.
Even before the pandemic, insomnia was commonplace. Each year, about one in four adults develops acute insomnia, which is defined as a problem falling asleep or staying asleep a few nights a week for a period of at least two weeks. That’s according to a 2020 study in the journal Sleep.
The insomnia struck without warning, smack into my pretty good life. After easily falling asleep one night, I woke three hours later, unable to drift off again. It happened the next night, and the next. After a few days, I was exhausted. After a week I was a wreck, snapping at my kids, zoning out at work, no longer trusting myself to drive.
“Women tend to experience sleep disturbances around menopause,” my doctor said. I repressed the urge to roll my eyes. Once I hit my forties, no matter what issue brought me to the medical office, menopause always seemed…
For centuries, people have attributed all kinds of abnormal behaviors to the moon. The so-called “lunar effect” has been linked to changes in women’s menstrual cycles, induction of labor, and even aggressive behavior and psychosis. (The term “lunatic” is derived from a Latin word meaning “moonstruck.”) Insomnia or a bit of extra tossing and turning around the time of a full moon is another common complaint.
And while there’s more than enough anecdotal evidence, scientists aren’t convinced that the moon’s position in the sky causes a disruption in the ability to fall and stay asleep.
You already know that getting enough sleep each night is important for your health. Time spent sleeping is only part of the equation, though. Yes, getting a full night’s rest is great, but only if it’s actually restful. Those seven to nine hours aren’t as restorative if they aren’t uninterrupted, in line with your body’s natural rhythms, and balanced with the right amount of REM.
Better quality sleep isn’t something you can just will into being, says Dr. Vikas Jain, a sleep medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine. “One point I try to drive home to people is: Don’t put a…
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