Sleep Deprived America

In the Name of Sleep Apnea, Narcolepsy and Insomnia

Sleep deprivation costs United States businesses 150 billion dollars a year.  West civilizations give certain status to those constantly on the go, and needing little sleep is seen as a sign of strength, yet we need to rest some more.

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2010 that 25 percent of Americans experience occasional sleep deprivation.  The American Psychological Association warns about teens becoming “zombies”.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 100,000 traffic accidents, or 20% of all serious car crash injuries, are caused by drowsiness and fatigue.  In 1993, sleep disorders affected 20 million Americans.  In 2006 it is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from this condition.  Lack of proper sleep can be fatal.

Prolonged waking periods is linked with depression and attention deficit disorder.  Periods of excessive wakefulness damage nervous system and brain functions.

Sleeping is an activity, there are many things that happen during those hours.  Muscle regeneration occurs best during our sleep. 

It is portrayed as laziness but it has nothing to do with being unproductive.  It is a myth that the body can be trained to sleep less.  We can certainly become used to be in bed less hours, it doesn’t mean that our body is not already carrying the consequences of our neglectful behavior.

Great ideas come from dreams. Ideas sprout during sleep.  Sleep is the main source for imagination and creativity.  These resting hours enhance communication process both within the brain and when it comes to interpersonal communication.  Individuals suffering from sleep deprivation tend to have slurred speech or monotone voice.  Those that sleep less “have difficulty thinking of imaginative words or ideas” and have difficulty multitasking.

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, bad mood all result from lack of proper resting.  We need to breathe, drink, eat, relate, sing, hug and sleep.  Sleep is essential for good brain function.  Sickness is a sign of lack balance in the body’s daily functions.  Extended sleep deprivation can cause hallucinations.  Sleeping promotes longevity and emotional well-being.

Sleep enhances the waking experiences.  It makes us more aware of our present moment.  It allows for a better enjoyment and improved decision-making due to better judgment.  Sleep deprivation impairs judgment.  Periodic studies report that sleep deprivation increases the risk for diabetes mellitus, or type II.

There is a direct relation between sleep restriction, weight gain and diabetes, so if you want to lose weight, sleep (Sleep Medicine Reviews).  Total sleep deprivation elevates blood pressure.
It negatively affects metabolism and is associated with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance.

It is also related to schizophrenia, Alzeheimer’s disease, stroke and head injuries.

On January 25, 1993 the American Sleep Disorders Association presented to Senator Mark O. Hatfield the proposal for creating the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research, composed by physicians and scientists “of many different specialties including neurological, psychological, pulmonary, psychiatric, otolaryngological and pediatric.”  “The absence of a specific entity responsible for sleep disorders research and education... has led to a lack of decent scientific program and direction...”  So a public federal entity was established to tell you to go to sleep.  Grants for sleep disorders research are still limited, with a few programs sponsored since 2006.

There is no multi-trillion dollar business in telling people to go to sleep.  Nobody has to go to the drugstore to order eight hours of dreams.  In fact there is a decline in lack of fundings available for sleep disorders research. The National Institutes of Health, academia, policy makers, health care providers, researchers and private institutions have not sufficiently supported an integrated effort to promote the benefits of a good night’s sleep.  There is no coordinated agency/government level effort in telling the public that proper sleeping habits are a primary source of health.

There are more than 200 accredited sleep disorders centers and laboratories in the United States.  A new industry was created because of people inability to relax and go to bed.

Relax and go to bed.  Basic techniques like proper breathing, proper posture and meditation are still viewed with skepticism, but most don’t think it twice to pop a pill call it a day.

As a result, there are about 84 sleep disorders.  Among them are the following: sleep apnea, norcolepsy, parasomnias, bruxism, limb movements, sleepwalking, bedwetting, sleep terrors, restless leg syndrome and of course, insomnia.  Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea.

54% Increase in Sleeping Pills Prescription in 4 Years

If That is Not a Red Flag...

Let's Talk Sleeping Pills

While sleeping doesn’t get the required media, sleeping pills do.  These are sleeping pills side effects: daytime drowsiness, high blood pressure, dizziness, nausea, poor coordination and restlesness.  Sleeping pills cause rebound insomnia which is the basis for dependence.  Psychophysiological means that it has to do with your mind and your body, sleeping pills create both a mental and physical dependence.  Moreover, their promoted effect fades over time.  So if you make a habit of taking pills to go to the bed, chances are you are already immune to the effects and are really going to bed on your own, but your mind doesn’t know it yet.

People that use sleeping pills are four times at risk of dying early or getting cancer, according to the British Medical Journal (February 2012).  Some advice to not sleep too much either.  But there is yet to explore the medical conditions of those patients that died for allegedly sleeping too much, in order to determine if they died solely because they overslept or due to other conditions or parameters, like age, obesity or heart conditions.

Some of the renowned sleeping pills brands are Lunesta, Sonata, Ambien and Zolpimist, a 27 billion dollar a year business. Others resort to brands like Tylenol or Advil PM, thinking that they are safer.

What Are The Ingredients in Advil PM?

Besides 38 mg of Diphenhydramine citrate and 200mg of Ibuprofen, Advil PM contains calcium stearate, carnauba wax, colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, croscarmellose sodium, FD&C blue no. 2 aluminum lake, glyceryl behenate, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, pharmaceutical ink, polydextrose, polyethylene glycol, pregelatinized starch, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium starch glycolate, stearic acid, and titanium dioxide.

In order to clear up this maze of ingredients, let’s dissect just a couple of those included in that small blue pill.  Let's take two.

Sleeping Pills are Overprescribed

Do not be Confused by Excessive Wording, There is a Direct Correlation Between Sleeping Pills and Death!

One is Impossible to Digest, the Other is Habit Forming and can Cause Diarrhea

Calcium Stearate and Polyethylene Glycol

Calcium Stearate

Not classified as a dangerous substance there is a debate about classifying this ingredient as organic or synthetic.  Calcium Stearate is insoluble in water, that means is highly difficult to digest so it impairs absorption.  Is used as a flavoring agent, stabilizer and release agent. OSHA classifies it as hazardous, although most agencies including the FDA consider it non-toxic.
Calcium Stearate may irritate the respiratory tract, cause dermal irritation and gastroenteritis with abdominal pain if ingested.

Polyethylene Glycol

Polyethylene glycol is habit-forming and used for constipation. You could be allergic to polyethylene glycol, may cause nausea, bloating, cramping and gas, also diarrhea and hives in allergic patients. (American Society of Health).

Varied molecular weights of polyethylene glycol is found in cleaners, detergents, antidusting agents, dye carrier and non corrosive lubricants. 

Sleep Naturally

Sleep is Essential to Enjoy Life

The Unthinkable Awaits for You in Your Next Dream

According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research it is not true that as people get older they need less sleep. Sleeping is part of living, it is not a waste of time.

Not only the brain stays active during our sleep but we learn while we are sleeping.  Maybe psychologists and physicians might not agree on the origin of emotions or what makes humans happy but there is a growing consensus in that sleep deprivation is much more dangerous than most care to assume.  It impairs the endocrine system.  Sleeping helps us solidify memories formed during the day, in other words, it helps us keep our sanity.

Sleep deprivation triggers hormonal changes that increase hunger or cravings.

Hormones released during sleeping hours affect how our body uses energy.  Naps are good, just try to avoid them after 3pm.  Make the process to go to bed a ceremony.

Paul McCartney hit "Yesterday" came to him in a dream (1965).  Author Robert Lewis Stevenson came up with the plots for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" through dreams.  So did Mary Shevell with her novel "Frankenstein".  Scientist Dmitri Mendeleyev created the periodic table based on a dream.  Abraham Lincoln dreamt his assasination.  Stephen King confesses that many of his ideas for new horrors come from dreams.

I wonder what our dreams will have in store for us tonight.  I wish tonight we get to sleep naturally.