Wednesday, February 25, 2009

President’s Address: Economy is the “Source of Sleepless Nights”

Last night President Obama gave his first address to a joint session of Congress. As expected, it was dominated by talk of the economy.

Early in his remarks the president noted one side effect of the struggling economy: It’s keeping us awake at night.

“You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis, because you live it every day. It’s the worry you wake up with and the source of sleepless nights.”

Research shows that the president may be right. There is a connection between financial struggles and sleep problems.

January we described how women who report financial strain have more sleep complaints. They also spend a greater percentage of time awake while in bed.

study shows that ongoing financial strain has a similar effect on the elderly. They also spend more time awake while in bed.

study of farmers shows that economic concerns also can be severe for people involved in seasonal work. Many of the farmers suffered from sleep deprivation during peak seasons. This sleep loss was linked to worries about cash flow.

new study shows that unemployment is another economic concern that can affect sleep. It found a strong independent association between sleep problems and unemployment.

In January the
U.S. unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent. About 11.6 million people were without a job.

Worrying about the economy can cause
insomnia, which is the most common sleep complaint. About one-third of adults report having insomnia symptoms.

A stressful event such as a job loss or a pay cut can cause
adjustment insomnia. It often occurs along with anxiety, worry, sadness or depression. You also may be unable to stop thinking about the problem.

The good news is that adjustment insomnia tends to last for only a few days. Sometimes it may linger for a few weeks. Normal sleep returns when the stressful event has passed or you have adapted to it.

About 10 percent of adults have chronic insomnia that lasts for more than a month. It can affect how you function during the day.

Get help for chronic insomnia at an
AASM-accredited sleep center near you.

White House photo 2/24/09 by Pete Souza

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