I’ve written about the link between insomnia and depression a number of times.

New research has now found then when insomnia is combined with nightmares, symptoms of depression can become even worse.

Researchers in Japan found that 71% of study participants with insomnia experienced nightmares 1 or more times per week compared to 29% of healthy sleepers.

They also found that individually, insomnia and nightmares were both linked to more severe symptoms of depression.

Those who suffered from insomnia and nightmares at the same time experienced even more severe symptoms of depression.

Interestingly, researchers found that symptoms of depression didn’t get worse as the number of nightmares ¬†experienced per week increased. This suggests that just the presence of nightmares is enough to exacerbate depression symptoms.

Source: Sleep Journal

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More than 2 million Americans are regularly taking over the counter sleeping pills to help them sleep.

This trend has many doctors concerned.

According to one professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, individuals who are self-treating their insomnia with over the counter sleeping pills could be putting themselves at risk for serious health consequences.

It’s important for all insomnia sufferers to seek medical advice since insomnia could be a symptom of a serious underlying medical condition.

Furthermore, not seeking medical advice can lead to chronic, long-term use of over the counter medications. No adequate studies have been conducted to assess the implications of long term use of over the counter sleep aids.

Additionally, the ingredients in some common sleep aids may lead to symptoms such as greater risk of confusion, memory loss, dry mouth, constipation, drug tolerance, toxicity and even mild cognitive impairment – especially in seniors.

If you’re suffering from insomnia, don’t take any medications without speaking to your doctor first.

Also bear in mind that non-pharmaceutical options such as improving sleep hygiene, practicing relaxation and trying cognitive behavioral therapy are often more effective than sleeping pills.

Source: New America Media

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Previous studies have found a link between insomnia and asthma.

A new study has now found that adolescents with severe asthma are far more likely to suffer from insomnia symptoms compared to teens who suffer from milder forms of asthma or teenagers without asthma.

Researchers in Denver collected data from an online survey involving 298 individuals aged between 12 and 17.

44% of teenagers with severe asthma reported not getting enough sleep during the week, compared to 31% of teenagers without asthma.

Furthermore, those with severe asthma were more likely to have poor sleep hygiene and were twice as likely to report clinically significant insomnia compared to those with mild or no asthma.

It’s important, therefore, to observe sleep closely in teenagers with asthma since interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy can significantly improve sleep.

Source: The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

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Unfortunately, sleep deprivation and insomnia is seen as a natural part of early motherhood.

Often this is down to a crying baby disrupting sleep – but what rarely gets talked about is postnatal insomnia.

Postnatal insomnia is the term given to new parents (typically mothers) who find sleep difficult even when their baby is sleeping soundly.

This is often due to the stresses and anxieties of being a new mother and the corresponding behaviors such as being unable to relax due to excessive ‘baby listening’ and the subsequent light sleep that is easily disturbed.

Hormonal shifts may have a role to play, too.

Fortunately, new mothers rarely need sleeping pills to successfully get through this period of sleep deprivation.

Instead, observing typical sleep hygiene recommendations can often be all that’s needed.

For a more advanced (but still drug-free) intervention, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia may be considered.

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Insomnia sufferers aged 18-34 at higher risk for stroke

by Martin Reed 3 July 2014

I’ve written before that strokes are one of the most serious consequences of chronic insomnia. Another study has now confirmed this link. Researchers in Taiwan reviewed the health records from the national population and compared stroke outcomes over a 4-year followup in over 21,000 patients with insomnia and over 64,000 without insomnia. After adjusting for […]

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Five stretches to boost relaxation and improve sleep

by Martin Reed 27 June 2014

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of yoga and meditation when it comes to improving sleep and reducing the symptoms of insomnia. However, some people are still intimidated by the idea of giving yoga a try – so today I want to share some stretching techniques that are […]

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