sleeplessness and insomnia

The U S of A.

Meredith Melnick reports for Time Magazine’s Healthland blog that, of all countries in the world, America leads the pack when it comes to sleep deprivation.

Really, are we surprised?

Among the leading reasons for sleeplessness, Americans reported stress as a leading factor in the absence of sleep from their lives.

Again, surprise surprise.

Many of us unequivocally feel as though we don’t get enough sleep. What we aren’t always able to articulate is why. If you visit a sleep specialist, you’ll most likely be asked to fill out a questionnaire about how you sleep. This can help bring a greater awareness about kinks in your sleeping habits you might not be aware of right now.

However, you don’t need to go to a sleep specialist to ask yourself some pointed questions about your sleep health. Here are a few prompts from to get you thinking:

How much sleep do you get on average each night?

Is your sleep usually restful?

Do you fall asleep naturally, or do you force yourself to sleep?

Do you have trouble staying asleep once you’re in bed?

Do you have difficulty staying alert once you wake up?

Do you experience anxiety about how well or how long you sleep?

Do you have problems breathing?

Do you snore?

If so, does your snoring startle you awake?

Does your partner snore?

Does it wake you up?

Do you have nightmares?

Do you wake up startled or anxious from unpleasant dreams?

Are there disorders that affect your the transition from wakefulness to sleep?

Do you move restlessly during the night?

Do you grind your teeth?

Do you talk in your sleep?

Are you consistently sleepy?

Are you tired despite a full night’s sleep?

Do you become sleepy in the middle of the day?

Do you sweat while sleeping?

These answers may start to unravel, or reveal, the mystery sleep stealers in your life. They may lead to you to realize that the problem isn’t only with your stress levels, but may have to do with a sleep disorder, or even a problem with your mattress.

For example, if you sweat at night, it might be due to synthetic materials that don’t breathe. Or, of you snore, you might have problems breathing yourself, which might be aggravated by a mattress or pillow that doesn’t facilitate proper body alignment.

Bringing more awareness to your sleep hygiene never hurts. You might even sleep better for it.