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Study links sleep deprivation to bad economy for some

By Staff | Mar 2, 2009

Financial difficulties and overbearing stresses over the economy are keeping many awake at night, tossing and turning as they attempt to make sense of lost investments and accruing debt.
A study released Monday by the National Sleep Foundation found that one-third of Americans are losing sleep out of worrying about the troubled economy and their personal finances.
Furthermore, National Sleep Awareness Week runs from March 1-8 to educate people on receiving the necessary amount of sleep, and it coincides with daylight-saving time.
Jim Hill, supervisor of Lee Memorial Health System’s three sleep disorder labs, pointed to the results of the “Sleep in America” study to show the percentage of Americans complaining of insufficient sleep increased by 13 percent since 2001.
He explained that many patients are prescribed medication or asked to participate in counseling sessions to deal with sleep loss. Most will not visit the sleep lab unless there is a severe underlying cause — destructive sleep apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome or fibromyalgia.
“They try to treat those patients medicinally, through counseling or antidepressants,” said Hill. “We require all of our patients to be seen through a sleep specialist.”
Patients who are having problems sleeping will see a neurologist, who specializes in sleep medicine, or a pulmonologist because some disorders, such as sleep apnea, are related to involuntary breathing problems.
Forty percent of those surveyed by the foundation said they feel sleep is as important as diet and exercise in leading a healthy life. Many who did not take a healthy amount of time to sleep reported being tired at work and, therefore, less productive.
Sleeping is not only important to allow the body to rest, but it also grants the mind a chance to process the events of one day.
“It’s easy to understand why so many people are concerned over the economy and jobs, but sacrificing sleep is the wrong solution,” said David Cloud, chief executive officer of the National Sleep Foundation, in a prepared statement. “Sleep is essential for productivity and alertness and is a vital sign for one’s overall health.”
The study also pointed to a startling statistic that half of all U.S. drivers, or an estimated 110 million people, have driven drowsily at least once in the last year. Furthermore, 28 percent of these same drivers even admitted to falling asleep while driving.
Officials from the foundation consider this to be a major public safety issue.
Kerry Kirk, spokesperson for AgroLabs, the company that markets Peaceful Sleep, explained that there are many basic ingredients that can aid the mind and body in preparing for rest. Some of these include lavender, chamomile and passion flower.
There are other ways to entice the body to fall asleep. The foundation recommends having a fixed bed time in a dark, cool room, exercising regularly, avoiding caffeine or alcohol before bed and using a bedroom only for sleeping to combat sleeplessness.
For more information on the National Sleep Foundation, visit: www.sleepfoundation.org.