Last updated: Sep 01, 2012
psycho-insomnia

Sleepless nights aren't a modern invention. But experts say modern life is making them increasingly common. "More and more, we are seeing women who have trouble falling — and staying — asleep," says Rebecca Scott, PhD, a behavioral sleep medicine expert at the New York Sleep Institute. Last year, in fact, women received 5.8 million more prescriptions for sleeping pills than they did just five years earlier.

Psychologists and sleep clinicians believe this sleep crisis is due to increasing stressors like juggling work and family, caring for aging parents, and the crummy economy. "We now know that many health issues, including sleep disturbance, are related to anxiety," notes Robin Haight, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in Tyson's Corner, Virginia.

Technology is another modern stimulant: Ever stayed up watching Mad Men or playing a game (or 10) of Bejeweled on your smartphone when you knew you should be getting shut-eye?

The toll could be considerable. Aside from leaving you sluggish and cranky, not getting enough sleep can lead to:

  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes

With our sleep problems worsening, experts say it's time we made serious changes to get better rest. Here are real solutions to today's top sleep obstacles.