Some incorrect habits can promote the onset and maintenance of insomnia. Sleeping quality and sleep duration can efficiently carry out daily life activities, while low or no-night sleep can lead to unpleasant daytime symptoms such us excessive drowsiness, exhaustion, attention or concentration, with a subsequent reduction in social, recreational and working activities.
Inadequate sleep also negatively affects the state of general health. According to recent research a non-restorative sleep can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. A study evaluated the prevalence of a very unsatisfactory night-rest and its association with mental illness (depression and anxiety) in patients with cardiovascular disease. 1071 patients hospitalized in cardiology (790 men, with an average age of 64 years) were recruited in the research. Insomnia, depression and anxiety were also evaluated through the administration of tests. The results showed that 461 patients (43% of the sample) had poor quality of sleep, associated with high scores on depression and anxiety scales, especially in women. The association between non-restorative sleep and high scores on anxiety scales was more significant among patients admitted to cardiology without coronary pathologies (Matsuda et al., 2016).
Video excerpt from the Family Tg (18th june 2013) – Effects on the heart of insomnia:
A research evaluated the effects of some habits on insomnia in order to better understand what are wrong habits to avoid to have a good night’s sleep. 455 adult subjects completed a questionnaire on insomnia. 13.4% of participants in the research had a sleep disorder influenced by various evening habits: coffee consumption, poor quality of the diet and physical activity. Low sleep duration was also associated with chronic pathologies and psychosomatic symptoms. Participants in the research also referred to: related work stress (35.6% of subjects), daily personal stress (35.4% of subjects) and painful symptoms (24.2% of subjects). Most people with insomnia were watching TV (52.1% of subjects) and reading (33% of subjects) in the night. 7.5% and 11.4% of participants in the research were ineffective to treat insomnia with sleeping pills and herbal teas, respectively (Fusz et al., 2016). If, despite changing poor night habits, there is a persistent low quality sleep, it is useful to rely on a specialist to understand whether it is appropriate to undertake a pharmacological therapy and/or a psychotherapeutic pathway to improve sleeping quality, safeguarding also the general state of health.
Several studies have revealed discrepancies between objective and subjective measurements of sleep. Patients with bipolar disorder would, for example, show a tendency to underestimate the duration of nighttime sleep overestimating sleep latency. Sleep parameters were evaluated using actimetry in 49 participants with stable mood (21 bipolar subjects and 28 healthy controls) for 5-7 days. Researchers also recorded the duration of sleep and the latency of the nightly restlessness evaluated subjectively on a daily basis, compiling an online sleep diary. The results showed that patients with bipolar disorder significantly underused their sleep but did not overstate latency of sleep over healthy subjects. Additional use of objective methods of assessing night-time rest as, for example, actimetry would be desirable in these patients (Ritter et al., 2016).
Fusz K et al. [Insomnia and habits to help to fall asleep among adults]. [Article in Hungarian].(2016). Orv Hetil. 157(49): 1955-1959.
Matsuda R et al. The prevalence of poor sleep quality and its association with depression and anxiety scores in patients admitted for cardiovascular disease: A cross-sectional designed study (2016). Int J Cardiol. 228:977-982.
Ritter PS et al Comparison of Subjective and Objective Sleep Estimations in Patients with Bipolar Disorder and Healthy Control Subjects (2016). Sleep Disord. 2016: 4031535.
Dr. Tiziana Corteccioni
MD, Specialist in Psychiatry, Psychotherapist.
Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, Cognitive behavioral therapist.
Since October 2010 she has been collaborating with Centro Ricerche Musicali (Centre of Musical Research) in Rome in a project named “Emotions Music” aimed to people with emotional difficulties. She’s coauthor of scientific publications.
Since November 2013 she has been collaborating with the Associazione di Clinica Cognitiva (Clinical Cognitive Association) in Lazio.
She pursues activities as psychiatrist and psychotherapist at several clinical centres in Rome and Perugia in which cures, through prescriptions and psychotherapy sessions, sleep disturbances, depression, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, personality disorders, addictions and schizophrenia.