Author(s): Carmel Harrington
Between 20-30% of the population experience problems with either falling asleep or staying asleep. The reasons are many and varied - from anxiety to sleep apnoea or poor sleep hygiene (such as the overuse of technology or too many wines before bed). Short-term effects of too little sleep include changes in mood: we feel tired, cranky, depressed, unmotivated, indecisive and unable to process information. We'll be disinclined to exercise. Our appetite hormones become irregular, so we experience a strong desire to eat all the wrong types of food: chocolate, chips and hamburgers. People suffering from chronic insomnia are far more likely to develop depression, certain types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and heart disease, metabolic diseases such as type II diabetes and obesity and, to top off an already grim picture, are more likely to die younger. Dr Carmel Harrington knows that sleep solutions are not a one-size-fits-all. Sleep is highly individual and there are many reasons why you may not be sleeping well. In this definitive guide, she examines the process of sleep, the particular reasons why you are having trouble sleeping well, the behaviour patterns that hinder your restful sleep, and helps you to uncover ways to achieve deep, restful sleep on a permanent basis.
Dr Carmel Harrington is an Australian sleep medicine research scientist and in recent years has been extensively involved in examining the effects of sleep on metabolic function. She is now convinced that quality, sound sleep is absolutely essential for good health. She believes that if we are ever going to reverse the growing obesity epidemic both the community and health authorities need to wake up now to the importance of sleep.