Question: Many nights, I'm exhausted but I can't sleep. Either I can't nod off at all, or I wake up in the middle of the night, my mind reeling with torts. Any advice?
Answer: Have you tried repeated viewings of Legal Eagles? Okay, seriously, you're not alone.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, upwards of 51 percent of Americans suffer insomnia several times a week, and a whopping 29 percent are plagued almost every night. Insomnia is not a disease but a symptom of another problem. Sleep experts classify insomnia as transient (once in a while), intermittent (repeated), or chronic (almost every night). Common causes include depression and anxiety; physical conditions such as arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and menstrual cramps; chemical side effects from caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and certain prescription drugs; and disruptions of the sleep-wake cycle due to, say, jet lag. Repercussions can range from garden-variety fatigue and short-term memory loss to a propensity for traffic accidents and an increased risk of depression and heart disease.