PROFESSOR GUY LESCHZINER explains how to fight the insomnia epidemic caused by Covid fear.
Like food and water, sleep is essential to our physical and mental health.
We quickly lose our ability to function properly if we don’t get enough of it – we lose our ability to think clearly and make rational decisions.
Our bodies ache and our heads pound.
Our reactions become sluggish and our vision blurs.
Sleep deprivation leaves no visible wounds or scars, but as a neurologist working at one of Europe’s top sleep clinics, I have seen how it can leave its own psychological scars and cause psychological pain, in addition to causing massive damage in our bodies invisible to the naked eye .
Consistent sleep deprivation has been linked to serious long-term health consequences in humans, including increased blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, depression, type 2 diabetes, and possibly dementia, according to medical research.
While long-term sleep deprivation cannot be properly studied scientifically in humans (for obvious ethical reasons), we do know that it is fatal in animals: dogs kept awake invariably die after four to seventeen days without sleep, even if all other needs are met (food, water, oxygen, light).
Sleep deprivation has been central to interrogation tactics used on enemy combatants for decades, including at the infamous US detention center at Guantanamo Bay, to torment them to the point where they lost their self-control, making them more likely to divulge information .
Millions of us face the same kind of psychological stress and potential physical harm every night, not from prison guards or Secret Service agents, but from our own minds — when our brains seem to turn against us at bedtime and we suffer from insomnia.
We become our own torturers when we wake up in the middle of the night night after night – tired but wired, our bodies refusing to cooperate and giving us the sleep we desire.
It is conservative estimates that at least one in ten Brits suffers from chronic insomnia, defined as having difficulty falling or staying asleep most nights for more than four weeks, and a third of us regularly suffer from trouble sleeping (basically waking up not feeling refreshed) .
Sleep has become an even scarcer and more valuable resource for many more people since the time of Covid.
Whether as a symptom of a long Covid (poor sleep is one of the most commonly reported problems) or simply as a side effect of going through such a time…
Nokia news in brief
Professor Guy Leschziner examines the recent Covid-related insomnia epidemic The leading neurologist will look at the latest science and treatments It is estimated that at least one in ten Britons suffer from chronic insomnia