Photo: Getty Images
On October 26, 2011, Dr. Oz, America’s favorite doctor, did a show on insomnia and since I was planning to write an article on it today I decided to watch, hoping to learn something new. What I learned from Dr. Oz’s sleep expert, Dr. Michael Brues, and his guest from the show is that people that suffer from long-term insomnia felt shame that associated with the disease.
Some of the shame comes from the desperation the people have that they can’t sleep. They feel like sleeping is a normal part of daily living and if people are having difficulty sleep there is something wrong with them.
The second reason people feel shame is because if they take medications that don’t work they may start taking too much medication or a combination of medications to try to get to sleep.
Finally, people feel very isolated and alone in regards to sleep problems, and they don’t think that anyone else is having sleeping issues. Sleeping problem or insomnia is a problem that impacts over 60 percent of Americans, according to the National Sleep Foundations 2011 report.
Insomnia is defined as a disorder that makes it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, or both. One of the messages that I would like to get across about insomnia is that there is no reason to feel ashamed. It is a disorder like any other disorder and the process to treatment is find the underlying cause of the sleep disturbance and correct that so the patient can sleep and enjoy normal daily activities.
Difficulty sleeping is related to many factors including mental stresses like anxiety and depression, daily habits and behaviors, hormonal levels, medications and food choices. Insomnia needs to be treated because the impact of poor sleep can exacerbate any existing health condition since it is during sleep time that our bodies rejuvenate, restore and recover from our daily activities.
If you body is already healing from another health condition, lack of proper sleep is actually acting as an additional stressor from the body. When we are deprived of sleep over a period of several days to several weeks it can impact our well-being to varying degrees.