Most people who suffer from insomnia or have chronic sleep disruption know it is a problem namely because of the lack of energy and focus during the following day. What many people don’t know is that insomnia can also have serious health consequences.

It is estimated that 10 - 15% of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia. And though the ailment in and of itself is not deadly it can lead to a wide range of ailments that can have serious consequences.

There are several ongoing studies being done to link insomnia with obesity. A Yale School of Medicine study has shown a definite relationship between the proper amount of sleep and obesity. The study has identified the link is in the hypocretin/orexin cells in the hypothalamus area of the brain. This region of the brain is sensitive to stress which can contribute to insomnia and related metabolic disorders – leading to obesity. Further studies also show that the onset of perimenopause or early menopause can cause insomnia which may be a contributor to the obesity rates in post menopausal women.

A recent Canadian study published in the journal Sleep is showing that insomnia sufferers have an elevated nighttime blood pressure which can cause cardiac problems over time. During normal sleep the person’s blood pressure should drop as they are resting. In the body of a person suffering from insomnia, the heart doesn’t have the same opportunity to rest resulting in the possibility of hypertension.

Then there are the risks associated with sleep deprivation as relates to accidents. More than 50% of American adults, 110 million licensed drivers, admit to driving while drowsy at least once in the past year! It is said that accidents due to lack of sleep outweigh those caused by drunk driving. People who are otherwise very responsible and would never drive while drinking, would drive while sleepy!

Further, sleep loss is a huge burden on the U.S. economy and is estimated to cost $15 billion each year in increased health care costs, automobile and workplace accidents and diminished job performance.

It is vital to pay more attention to sleep habits and recognize the importance of a good night’s sleep. Job performance, emotional stability and health issues are all at risk when one short changes their sleep. Why is it that most people don't think to speak with their doctor about the fact they are not sleeping? Of course the doctor is likely to offer prescription drugs which can be habit forming and dangerous.

If prescription drugs are offered they can provide short term relief which may be necessary to help get ones sleep back on track. In the meantime it is worth the effort to research natural ways of improving sleep quality with supplements and behavior modification. Understanding the dynamics of sleep is the first step followed by implementing small changes which can make a world of difference to the energy level a person experiences. Happily the natural method can result in needing less sleep and having more energy!