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A new sleep disorder; “semi-somnia”

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Last updated: Friday 30th November 2012

The term “semi-somnia” has recently come to surface in labelling a newly identified sleep disorder. Semi-somnia can be defined when we overload our minds with excessive information which stress and technology are the main culprits for, leading our brains to continue to remain active whilst we try to sleep.

However semi-somnia is not as detrimental in comparison to insomnia, as insomnia can lead to the onset of depression, high blood pressure and heart disease if it is not tamed. The effects of semi-somnia are less harmful such as experiencing brief periods of wakefulness in the middle of the night leading to poor sleep quality and not being able to revitalise effectively for the following day ahead.

 The effects of semi-somnia were researched for 5 years amongst 30,000 sufferers of this sleep disorder. In this study it has been found that one of the partnering causes for semi-somnia is increased exposure to bright screens, which suppresses the release of the sleep inducing hormone; melatonin. The artificial light from bright screens are usually emitted from the technological fads we cling on to 24/7 such as smartphones, tablets and laptops which only encourage us to remain more awake and keep us stimulated. A slump in melatonin levels only fails to result in entering deeper stages of sleep to help you to feel fully restored after a long and hectic day. 

A further cause associated with semi-somnia is continuing to remain in work mode out of office hours. Don’t think sending quick emails or documents from your bedside have no effect towards your sleep. Continuing to work into your bedtime hours will only deteriorate your sleep as your mind will be racing with additional work related stress which should not even be occurring in your home after 5pm.

Researchers of this study suggest that in order to prevent the development of these sleep disorders it is essential to reduce exposing yourself to bright lights at least an hour prior to sleeping and to separate your work life and personal life. So leave your worries and work at the office to allow yourself to just come home to relax, socialise and unwind. Avoid keeping your mind occupied with stress-related thoughts and activities outside working hours as this will work wonders in helping to trigger and help you experience a more relaxing and restoring slumber.

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