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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

Up All Night

Published October 22, 2015 4:32 PM by ADVANCE for Respiratory Care & Sleep Medicine

By Tamer Abouras

This time of year, it’s natural to dwell on all the seasonal ailments and illnesses. They bring you down, cause you to use that precious sick time you’d been saving, and line the pockets of pharmaceutical companies who sell prescription and over-the-counter medications alike.

As annoying as they can be, common cold symptoms such as a cough, runny nose or sore throat don’t last forever and very often can be knocked out of your system within a few days with the right treatment. Other health issues, such as those resulting in sleepless nights, can be more persistent and their effects on your life more pronounced.

According to a recent online survey from GfK, 27 percent of respondents internationally (in the 22 countries surveyed) said they suffer from some sort of issue sleeping at night or insomnia, making it second only to common cold symptoms. While it affects more women than men (32 to 24 percent), it nonetheless ranks as second or tied for second on each’s list of healthcare complaints.

It is already known that insomnia and other sleep inhibiting conditions have been linked to earlier mortality rates, among others unpleasant health issues. You weren’t designed to be restless and whatever factor or combination of factors is resulting in you tossing and turning consistently ought to be addressed sooner rather than later.

SEE ALSO: Insomnia May Increase Stroke Risk

While the number, both in the United States and abroad, has historically fallen somewhere between 15 and 30 percent, there isn’t any getting around the fact that a significant portion of Americans, and human beings in general, are probably currently dealing with at least some symptoms of insomnia.

Although a pill that can fully restore the sleep that gets taken away has yet to be developed, one thing you absolutely shouldn’t do is try to grin and bear your long nights over and over again, so much so that walking around half-asleep during the daytime becomes commonplace.

One emerging option for sufferers of any sleep-stealing malady is to participate in an at-home sleep study. Different from a traditional polysomnography, which is conducted in a lab, an at-home sleep test enables one to have their sleep — or lack thereof — monitored in their normal environment, allowing sleep technicians and doctors to get to the root of what’s causing the problem.

So if you happen to be among the 27 percent of people in the world who struggle with their sleep, don’t fool around or delay — get to the bottom of what’s keeping you up all night.

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