People with insomnia may now have one more thing to keep them up at night. A brand new piece of health news posits that insomniacs face a higher risk of hypertension. High blood pressure is, of course, a serious risk factor for heart disease.
Researchers in Detroit discovered that the prevalence of hypertension was greater in insomniacs compared to normal sleepers. The spike in blood pressure is linked to the number of times you wake up during the night, as well as your “sleep latency.” This is term describing how long it takes you to transition from full wakefulness to sleep. In the study, the longer it took people to fall asleep, and the more times they woke, the more severe their hypertension.
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The study was presented earlier this week at a major Sleep 2012 Conference inBoston.
Insomnia, the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep, is the most common sleep complaint among Americans. According to the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health, as many as 40% of adults say they have some symptoms of insomnia within a given year. The number of people who report chronic insomnia hovers between 10% and 15%.
The new study used a Web questionnaire that had 5,314 respondents. It compared insomniacs to those with normal sleep habits. The questionnaire looked for patterns of insomnia symptoms, presence and severity of hypertension, and sleep and health habits.
Dealing with insomnia can be very tricky, and very frustrating. It can also be a very lonely battle, as you are awake and unable to revisit dreamland, whereas others are fast asleep. Here are some quick tips for dealing with insomnia, but you should know that some will not work at all for you, whereas others might work like a charm.
— If you can’t fall asleep in about 20 minutes, get out of bed and relax. Perhaps read for a while.
— Avoid heavy meals after 7 p.m. (as well as alcohol and caffeine).
— Create a sleep schedule with consistent times for waking up and going to bed.
— Forget “trying” to sleep, as such a thing is impossible.
— Avoid reading or watching TV in bed.
— Consider alternative remedies like valerian root tea, melatonin supplements or strips, or anything that promotes relaxation.
— Don’t nap longer than 30 minutes and never past 3 p.m.
— Get at least a half an hour of exercise each day, but not within five hours of bedtime.
— Check your drugs. Some prescription drugs can cause or worsen insomnia. Check with your doctor about side effects. Do not cease taking any medications without checking with your doctor first.
— Be ignorant of the time. Hide the clocks in your room, as we have a tendency to become obsessed by them.
— Make your bedroom as relaxed and comfortable an environment as possible.