The Economic and Psychological Costs of Insomnia:
Part 1: Insomnia – How to address and then overcome it
There is no secret that sleep is a necessity, and yet we continue to sacrifice rest just to squeeze a few extra hours out of the day. What could it hurt, right? It turns out that not only does a lack of sleep effect a persons’ ability to focus, but can lead to long term health issues including hypertension, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and it affects about 10% of the US population, which is over 30 Million people. The economic cost from insomnia equates to over $100 billion a year from healthcare expenses, loss of productivity, and insomnia induced accidents.
Sleep will continue to take a back seat to e-mails, text messages, social media and YouTube videos that make hours disappear seemingly in an instant. There will always be a 24 hours daily limit, so something is going to have to give. It shouldn’t be sleep. If you are trying to catch more ZZZ’s but seem to be struggling, prescription sleep aids might not be the most viable solution. Improving your sleep hygiene is a tried and true method to increase both quantity and quality of sleep.
A few practices to improve your sleep hygiene include:
- Ensure that your sleeping environment is optimally set up to your needs.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable.
- The room should be cool – under 70 degrees Fahrenheit
- Black out drapes are optimal
- No bright lights
- Avoid all screens and caffeine for about 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed
- Establish a normal bedtime routine that is also relaxing and reduces anxiety
- Limit naps to under 30 minutes
- Light exercise will also promote better sleep quality
For those suffering from chronic insomnia, there are non-pharmacotherapy options that are available to address symptoms. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is an approved and successful therapy and is the recommended initial line of treatment. CBT-I is a structured program designed to help insomnia patients address their sleeping habits and causes of their insomnia, unlike medication, which only addresses the symptoms of sleeplessness.
Sleep is not a luxury. It is a necessity to our health and wellbeing and should be as important as diet and exercise. Lack of sleep can not only cause long-term health issues, but can also affect your ability to work productively and deliver the results you want. Burn out is a very real issue in the workplace and a lack of sleep may promote exhaustion and hinder your professional accomplishments. The benefits of a good night sleep clearly outweigh any perceived gains from staying up those extra few hours. It’s time we all turn off the computer, put the phone down, tuck ourselves in and make sure we start putting our health and sleep hygiene first.
Michael is a Director of Business Development at Leverage Health and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or inquires you may have about Insomnia.
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