It never seems like I can get enough sleep. No matter how much I try to go to bed early or make up time on the weekends. My cat has zero trouble—falling asleep on the stairs, the couch, the bed, sprawled out on the floor, or behind my laptop. And he sleeps for what seems like at least 20-hours per day. Maybe I’m just jealous, but if the average house cat is getting that much sleep—what does it say for us humans?
According to research from the University of Arizona, sleep, or lack thereof, can predict all sorts of chronic conditions—from hormonal to heart disease, and from diabetes to dementia. Lack of sleep can even drastically cut our life expectancy, by more than 50-percent! Sleep is obviously important. Here’s how to determine if you’re getting too little, and if you’re dealing with insomnia…
You know the drill. You lie down to go to sleep because you’re exhausted, but the hamster wheel in your brain starts going round and round, keeping you from getting any shuteye. Suddenly it’s 6am and you’ve gotten zero sleep.
For insomnia to be considered chronic by a doctor, it must occur a minimum of 3-nights per week for at least a 3-month duration, according to the American Sleep Association. And scientists refer to the notion of a never-ceasing hamster wheel in your brain as behavioral or comorbid (i.e., medical or psychiatric) rooted insomnia that keeps your brain awake.