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Why are you so Cranky?

Article by : Arabian Woman

Many women feel constantly irritable, groggy, and super snappy. Sarah Bladen discovers what could lie behind these mood swings.

According to recent research, a growing number of women in the Gulf region are suffering from sleep disturbance. Instead recommended eight to nine hours sleep a night, many of us are living on a six hour snooze or less. And it is estimated that approximately 10 per cent of the population is suffering from chronic insomnia.

According to Dr Brian Green, Director of the Cardiopulmonary Department & Sleep Disorder Centre in Dubai, there is documented research linking inadequate sleep (those with less than seven hours) with a lower mortality rate. Shockingly, one study even found that reduced sleep time has a greater mortality risk than smoking, hypertension and cardiac disease. Insomnia has also been closely linked to psychiatric disorders such as depression. On a daily basis, sleep deprivation not only turns you into a moody monster, it lowers your immune system and your work performance. And on the roads, you are far more likely to have an accident if you are driving when tired. Sleep can literally be a question of life and death, and it deserves much more respect.

Perhaps the biggest threat to us having a good night's shut-eye is our lifestyle. “In cities like Dubai and Jeddah, many women live fast paced, hectic lifestyles and that can contribute to poor sleep hygiene,” explains Dr Brian Green. “Our minds are often overloaded with different stimuli during the day and so it's harder to settle at night.”

And then it becomes a vicious circle – you awake feeling dead beat and so you are more angry, you can't relax and find it even harder to fall into a peaceful slumber the following night.

So what's the solution for those who lay awake at night tossing and turning while others are snoozing soundly? How can the sleep deprived join the ranks of the sleeping beauty? Not by counting sheep, that's for sure. Perhaps the most obvious remedy is sleeping pills, although most experts say they are not an effective long-term solution. They can be a great temporary relief, but they are certainly not a cure. Research shows that benzodiazephine hypnotics, the most commonly prescribed sleeping pill can impair short term memory and reaction time. And regular use actually worsens insomnia. Some swear by homeopathic pills because they don't have any side-effects and they treat the root cause of the problem which may be tension, or anxiety.

Feng Shui expert, Eleanor Brodie, believes that your sleeping environment has more influence over your sleep patterns than you may think. “The bedroom is a place for resting,” she says, “it should be a relaxing place. You shouldn't have televisions and computers in there because they are active energies and the electromagnetic influence of these machines does not induce sleep.” Even the position of your bed could make a difference. In Feng Shui terms, it is bad luck to have your bed beside a door or bathroom. “Whenever possible, your bed should be positioned facing the door so that you have the best energy flow. She says, “Ideally, paint your room in soft, calming colours and choose furniture that lifts your mood. Mirrors, it is believed, shouldn't reflect the sleeping body because in Feng Shui terms they are linked to sickness.”

Worrying about insomnia won't help either. It is frequently a symptom of something else –you could be suffering from anxiety or mild depression. Perhaps you are fretting about your son's ear infection. Whatever it is, try to control your worrisome thoughts - after all, excessive worrying won't change anything. A persistent psychological worry needs to be dealt with professionally, so perhaps you need to get some counseling.

So, how much time should we be dedicating to zzzzzz's? It does vary with the individual. Some only need seven hours sleep and can function well. Others require nine hours. Be warned though, oversleeping can also leave you feeling weary! “Too much sleep can cause a ‘phase lag' in your circadian rhythm,” explains Dr Brian Green. “This can have a deleterious effect on normal sleeping patterns. As little as three hours extra sleep can cause daytime grogginess.”

In the longer term, there may be another solution. A growing army of medical researchers is currently trying to find the holy grail of sleep – a pill that will mimic the effects and benefits of sleep while you are still awake. This would allow you to reduce your sleeping time perhaps to just two or three hours. Researchers are spending billions on the race to become the first to develop the “simulated-sleep pill”. Can this be done? There are many different areas in the brain associated with regulation of sleep and the idea of a single pill which will control all of these is considered optimistic by some. Other researchers, however, think they are close to a breakthrough. But until then, you'll have to find other ways of reaching the ‘Land of Nod'.

courtesy ; Arabian Woman

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