Insomnia Can Lead to 'Hopelessness'
It is the end of February and we are on the cusp of a new month. Let's not dwell on how fast were aging at this point. It could become depressing.
I was reading an interesting article online that discusses the link between insomnia and suicide. The author Dr. W. Vaughn McCall, is chair of the department of psychiatry at Georgia Regents University, home to the hospital I work in.
McCall says that insomnia can lead to a specific type of hopelessness and that hopelessness by itself is a powerful predictor of suicide. He goes on to say that this shows the importance of examining sleep habits and the attitudes toward sleep of people who are depressed.
Most of us have probably had a bout or two with insomnia and know how frustrating it is not to be able to fall asleep. I am very grumpy when I don't sleep. I have a lower tolerance and very little patience. It's not pretty.
I can only imagine how those symptoms must be amplified in someone also battling depression. How do you change someone's attitudes toward sleep? We see it all the time -- poor sleep hygiene. People who think they are too busy to sleep and will sleep "when I'm dead" or people who have "junky" sleep: sleeping with the television on and cell phone under the pillow -- or worse, clutched in their hand -- and laptop right by their sides.
I am interested to know, really, what are the general public's attitudes toward sleep? What I see daily in my lab is pretty concerning. About 50 percent of pediatric patients do not have a sleep routine at all, let alone a regular bedtime. There seems to be no thought given to sleep. It just happens when it happens, as though we have no control over that part of life.
Here is the link to the article from the Huffington Post. ( http://news.gru.edu/archives/7837 ). It's good food for thought.