August 30, 2013

                                                         “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”
― W.C. Fields

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A couple of years ago I was traveling with a group of women in Russia. Early the first morning I casually mentioned that I didn’t sleep so well last night. Without a second of hesitation, the four women in the circle started to rumble through their bags to offer me an Ambian or one of the other sleep aids they take nightly to pound the pillar.  When I asked them if this was just their travel routine until they settled in a new time zone, they said no. They took them nightly to get to sleep.

A good friend recently did her own research about sleep. She posted this question on her Facebook status “How many hours of sleep do you get a night and how many times, if any, do you wake up during the night?”

The answers popped up in great numbers. They ranged from 7 undisturbed hours to getting up 5 times over a 5 hour period of restlessness nights. It was mostly women with the worse sleep histories.

It seems like many Americans are taking drugs to get more sleep, particularly women aged 50-59.

The Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics latest data reported their first study on actual use of prescription aids for sleep. They found that close to 9 million people or 4% of US adults use sleep medication, with higher use among middle-aged adults ages 50 to 59 and the elderly.

You’ve all seen the articles that periodically show up about what a lack sleep may contribute to – from lower sex drive, to inflammatory diseases like diabetes and heart disease, and grumpiness.

Jeez, maybe that’s why we’re not smiling enough.

Maybe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act needs to amend the law and add another provision – nap rooms at every work place and in our schools.

People – take care and get some sleep.

        Happy Labor Day weekend!

                                                                                                           Barbara Glickstein is co-director of CHMP.