Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Gift of Insomnia

Insomnia - friend or foe?

I have never quite understood why people consider the inability to sleep to be a problem. A fair smattering of my patients on any one day will request "something to help them sleep".

I appreciate that sleep is necessary for our well-being. However, just as we eat when we feel hungry, why not sleep when we feel tired? Or more appropriately, why sleep when we do not feel tired?

Many men can now look forward to reaching the grand age of at least eighty years. If one slept six hours per night (instead of the average eight hours) that represents a saving of two hours per night; equivalent to 47,450 hours between the age of 15 years to 80 years. This equates to 1,977 entire days extra or, if converted into "working days of 18 hours", a saving of 2,636 days (or 377 weeks). In essence, more than an entire extra year's worth of available time!

So, perhaps we should consider insomnia a gift rather than a disease. In the words of Roald Dahl:
'My candle burns at both ends, it will not last the night - but ah my foes and oh my friends, it gives a lovely light.'

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