By Angie Argabrite, Tuesday, January 31, 2012, at 9:01 am.
Always a hot topic, the problem of insomnia factored heavily in our 2011 American Audit; it turns out people are carrying the problems of their days into their (sleepless and worry-filled) nights. In the U.K., too, one in three is plagued by sleep problems, now the most widely reported mental disorder. Mothers, it seems, are particularly vulnerable to slumber issues these days. They’re sleep-deprived and stretched thin, and shockingly the hungry, howling baby at 3 a.m. is not to blame. Instead, even mothers of older children find they need to pacify themselves with sleep medication (over and under the counter) or anxiety pills, hushing their minds long enough to nod off. Among the drugs of choice: Ambien, Lunesta, Xanax, Tylenol P.M. and melatonin. Three out of 10 American women say they use a sleep aid at least a few nights a week. And in spite of the negative press associated with sleep medications (Conrad Murray’s talked-about trial for Michael Jackson’s death closely examined the dosage of sleep-inducing propofol), most women choose a decent snooze, albeit artificially induced, over a sleepless night. Many find the consequences of sleeplessness more nightmarish: A Norwegian study ties poor sleep to chronic pain in women, while another study links it to Type 2 diabetes. Oh, great—one more thing to lose sleep over.