Insomnia

Insomnia most common sleep disorder, by Dr. Walt Larimore

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If you find yourself tossing and turning most nights, unable to fall asleep, you’re in good company.

Insomnia, which is twice as common in women as in men, affects 6% to 10% of adults. It’s the most common sleep disorder, yet often goes undiagnosed and untreated, according to a new report.

On its website, ABC News reported, “Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, according to an article published in the journal Lancet. But it often goes unrecognized and untreated.”

The consequences can be much more serious than daytime sleepiness. Research has linked insomnia to high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and other ailments.

In fact, individuals “with insomnia were five times as likely to develop depression or anxiety and more than twice as likely to have congestive heart failure, according to a US National Health Interview Survey in 2002.”

What you eat and drink can have a big impact on your ability to fall or stay asleep. Many foods can make you feel drowsy, while others can cause trouble sleeping.

The National Sleep Foundation mentions these examples of foods and beverages that can affect your sleep:

  • Carbohydrate-laden foods make it easier for a sleep-inducing amino acid called tryptophan to reach the brain. Tryptophan is found in many protein rich-foods. So combining proteins and carbs makes for good pre-bedtime snacks. Examples include milk and cereal, cheese and crackers or peanut butter and toast.
  • Eating a big meal also can trigger sleepiness, particularly when it’s heavy in carbohydrates.
  • Caffeine in the late afternoon or before bedtime can inhibit drowsiness, but can lead to trouble sleeping.
  • Energy drinks may temporarily boost energy levels, but they often cause a crash and ultimately can lead to drowsiness.
  • Alcohol can cause disruptions in sleep and inhibit entering the deep stages of sleep.

WebMD (1/20, Rubin) also reports the story.