Since the COVID pandemic began, one in three Americans has had reduced quality sleep. Correspondent Susan Spencer pulls back the covers on how pandemic stress is among the factors affecting people’s already-tortured relationship with shuteye. Spencer talks with Drew Ackerman, a lifelong chronic insomniac whose storytelling podcast, “Sleep With Me,” lulls listeners to slumberland; and with professors Sharon Bowman, Jennifer Martin and Tiffany Yip about the importance of sleep hygiene, and the effects of reduced sleep on chronic health impacts and productivity.
Diabetologia (Sept 8, 2020) – Insomnia with objective short sleep duration has been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in observational studies [27, 28]. The present MR study found strong and suggestive evidence of a causal association of insomnia and short sleep duration, respectively, with increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
The present study verified several previously reported risk factors and identified novel potential risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Prevention strategies for type 2 diabetes should be considered from multiple perspectives on obesity, mental health, sleep quality, education level, birthweight and smoking.
From a Psychology Today online article:
For those with insomnia, however, the stressor appears to be the lack of sleep, and the desire for sleep becomes a stressor in itself. In other words, the fixation on getting sleep leads to feelings of stress over not falling asleep, which begins a vicious loop. According to a model first proposed by Kales et al. in 1976, patients can develop a conditioned fear of not being able to sleep, which puts them in a state of hyperarousal when they attempt to fall asleep. This makes their inability to sleep a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Insomnia is the most common sleep condition in the world, with half of adults globally reporting occasional episodes. Chronic insomnia, though far less prevalent, affects as many as 10 to 15 percent of the adult population.
Though these sleep problems are extremely common, the neurobiological mechanisms behind insomnia are not entirely understood. Research suggests that emotional stressors do play an outsized role in contributing to sleep problems, and it is well documented that mood and anxiety disorders are common comorbidities with insomnia. This seems like common sense. Emotional arousal, whether due to a state of anxiety or because of intrusive thoughts, makes it difficult to relax, thereby inhibiting one’s ability to either initiate sleep or get back to sleep after waking.
In 2016, Samantha Harvey began to lose sleep. She tried everything to appease her wakefulness: from medication to therapy, changes in her diet to changes in her living arrangements. Nothing seemed to help.
The Shapeless Unease is Harvey’s darkly funny and deeply intelligent anatomy of her insomnia, an immersive interior monologue of a year without one of the most basic human needs. Original and profound, and narrated with a lucid breathlessness, this is a startlingly insightful exploration of memory, writing and influence, death and the will to survive, from “this generation’s Virginia Woolf” (Telegraph).
From a European Heart Journal study:
When the five sleep factors were collapsed into binary categories of low risk vs. high risk (reference group), early chronotype, adequate sleep duration, free of insomnia, and no frequent daytime sleepiness were each independently associated with incident CVD, with a 7%, 12%, 8%, and 15% lower risk, respectively (Table 3). Early chronotype, adequate sleep duration, and free of insomnia were independently associated with a significantly reduced risk of CHD; while only adequate sleep duration was associated with stroke.Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, is among the leading causes of mortality globally.1 In addition to traditional lifestyle behaviours, emerging evidence has implicated several unhealthy sleep behaviours were important risk factors for CVD.2,3 For example, short or long sleep duration,4–9 late chronotype,10,11 insomnia,12–17 snoring,18,19 and excessive daytime sleepiness20,21 were associated with a 10–40% increased CVD risk.
From a MedScape online release:
Sleep problems may decrease the likelihood of recovery from chronic low back pain (LBP) over the long term and those who have musculoskeletal pain on top of insomnia have an even lower possibility of recovery, a study has found.
“The probability of recovery [from LBP] is especially low among persons who often/always experience sleeplessness and who also suffer from co-occurring musculoskeletal pain,” the researchers write.
The study took place over more than 10 years and also found the likelihood of recovery from chronic LBP decreased further among people with muscle and joint pains, in addition to sleeplessness.
The researchers conducted a prospective cohort study that included 3712 women and 2488 men aged at least 20 years who participated in the HUNT study, one of the largest, longest running health studies in Norway. HUNT began in 1984 and has data on over 120,000 participants.
To read more: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/922338
Beyond the constant tossing and turning of a sleepless night, it might surprise you to know that insomnia is affecting a fair hunk of the Australian population. A recent study released by the Sleep Health Foundation found that 15 per cent of us suffer from chronic insomnia disorder, and very few people are choosing to access help.
Professor Robert Adams, Professor in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine for Flinders University, and lead researcher for Chronic Insomnia Disorder in Australia study for Sleep Health Foundation
Dr Moira Junge, health psychologist specialising in treating sleep disorders, board member for Sleep Health Foundation