“I’m an insomniac, my mind works the night shift.”

-Pete Wentz, Gray


The stress is going to kill us all only if we let it. That is the most serious killer of our time. an  each molecule of every known disease, the background of all problems if not the problem itself. There are many definitions of stress but I like the one that describes stress in biological context as a physical, mental or emotional factor that causes  the mental or bodily tensions. The stress could be external and internal but in both ways, it is harmful and dangerous for the complete health picture.

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Unfortunately, we cannot live without stress. It is a price we are paying for being occupied with existential concerns and emotional pressures we can’t handle. There are people who don’t know how to act without being stressed and there are also those who are professional stress makers. The negative impact of stress is multidimensional and there is no such a phenomena like a productive or creative stress, it is just a matter of time when the trigger will be pulled and turned our whole life into the endless mess. The worst component of stress is the one that crawls into the sensible areas of our sleeping habits, that eats up our basic needs to calm down and to refresh our bodies and minds.


They say that the silence is golden so is the sleeping too. From the ancient period of mankind, the homo sapiens has learnt that body and brain must get rest, that harmony within the organism must be rebuilt or the human machine will be broken after a while. There is no cure better than a good sleep, according to doctors. It doesn’t surprise why is afternoon nap very important for small children  that just build up their immunity. The sleeping  process  itself can’t make so many wonders for our health situation but can fix a lot or at least can give a chance to the body and soul to recover themselves in tranquility.

What’s happening if this is gone? The rhythm of sleeping is disturbed and the person can not solve to get a sleep. Sleepless time and never-ending suffer to fool the insomnia and get some hours of sleep before the sun comes out. Maybe one or two, maybe even tree. After that dream without dream, this person is constantly tired but unable to sleep. The lack of good sleep invites other problems like reduced productivity at work, emotional hypersensibility and failure of immune system in long period of time, that will attach many possible diseases. When insomnia is not so drastic and tremendous, the doctors offer a help, they prescribe sleeping pills and they promise the safety for sleepless. That is how America has become one of the top countries with sleepless population and almost 9 million of Americans that use sleeping pills to find their peace.


The problem is getting worse in last decades because of the growing economic crisis but also because of rise of social media and addiction of people to spend their precious time on  electronic late-night distractions. Based on CDC research, recommended amount of sleep is 7 to 9 hours each night but one third of adults don’t get that at all:“By some estimates, nearly 10 percent of Americans suffer chronic insomnia and may seek a physician’s help. Inadequate sleep has been tied to the start and worsening of a range of diseases and conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression.”


The biggest American health problem now is overmedication. Everyone who thinks he has sleeping problems go to doctor and ask for ambien or any other sleeping pill. They almost forget to mention that they take possibly another zolpidem products and mixing two or more of them lead to the negative medical consequences. The women are especially vulnerable that they choose to deal with insomnia and depression using numerous medication.  If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. They believe they are broken and they believe they fix themselves but at the end of the day, they destroy themselves and not the indicators of the wrong sleeping picture and conditions.


Who is the main responsible for the rise of Ambien in life of so many Americans? Pharmaceuticals company do the good job but they are not guilty or they are not more guilty als 54% of Americans that are addicted to their smartphones and social media likes and news feed. They go everywhere with their super intelligent phones because they are afraid that they will miss something from the global Langolier. They wake up in the middle of night like junkies, asking for their drugs. More information, more news, more sleepless night.

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The Huffington Post comes out with the advanced study of scientists that  high tech life has hijacked our own personal and private life and imposed on our health problems:“Using your phone — and watching TV and using your computer and, well, pretty much anything with a screen — has been proven over and over again to disrupt sleep patterns. In fact, a 2007 study funded by cellphone manufacturers themselves found that participants who were exposed to cellphone radiation prior to bedtime had a harder time falling asleep.”


However, people do not want to change and deal with the main indicators but to try to solve the outcome that are becoming more and more challengeable. Instead on focusing on the primary disturbing elements that come from the unlimited social media use and abuse, sleepless Americans are taking the Ambien, that is lately proved very bad for health and also ineffective for the insomnia. British Medical Journal has published a survey in 2012 that has described how sleeping pils are able to help the development of cancer. One year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered to all pharmaceutical companies that  produce the zolpidem-based drugs to make lower doses, both for men and women:”The decision was made after the FDA discovered that the drug stays in the body longer than previously thought, causing people to wake up drowsy the next day. Turns out people were waking up, getting in their cars to go to work, and falling asleep at the wheel. It’s especially an issue for women, whose bodies seem to absorb the medication for longer — and have many, many more problems with insomnia in general.Even more surprising: studies show that zolpidem may not actually cure insomnia. In clinical trials,those taking zolpidem were only slightly more likely to get more than six and a half hours of sleep than those taking a placebo.”

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There is no a magical one-second solution for a sleeping problem. That is something that must be detected as an urgency and which origins must be recognized and removed. The best response is to kill the indicators of insomnia in its beginning. We all know what cause our sleepless nights and tiring days. That is not only the economical concern and bills we are getting. That is also the aggressive influence of digital media and its malign pressure on our mental stability. There are so many news and most of them are expressed in such a way to cause the negative and confused  thoughts.Then, there is our own obsession with participation in global online village and like it is a matter of life or death, we don’t want to waste a time on sleeping. After some time, sleeping don’t want to waste time on us and that is the moment when Mr. Ambien gets in the race .
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  1. Sarah’s informative and allusive article articulates the prevailing dilemmas of insomnia and its association with synthetic medicaments, but sleep deprivation, as a whole, is not holistic, in the context of the different types and treatment required. For example, The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US-government employs sleep deprivation tactics to acquire information from detainees and or punish them, while in CIA custody. This is illegal, under International Law (e.g. in 2014, The European Court of Human Rights formally ruled that ‘enhanced interrogation’, which includes sleep deprivation, is torture, and ordered the Polish government to pay restitution to men tortured at a CIA black site in Poland).

    What are the effects on someone who experiences sleep deprivation as a torture method? What are the treatments?

    Also, added to the sleep deprivation tactics used by the CIA are beatings, binding in contorted stress positions, hooding, subjection to deafening noise, deprivation of food, drink, and withholding medical care for wounds, as well as water-boarding, walling, sexual humiliation, subjection to extreme heat or extreme cold, confinement in small coffin-like boxes, and repeated slapping. Several detainees have endured medically unnecessary rectal rehydration, rectal fluid resuscitation, and rectal feeding. In addition to brutalizing detainees, there are threats to their families; such as threats to harm children, threats to sexually abuse or to cut the throat of detainees’ mothers, and so on.

    As Sarah’s article references, insufficient sleep affects the brain and cognitive function, adversely. Can a released detainee return to society as a ‘normal’ human being? In particular, someone found Not Guilty of all charges put forward by the US-government; which has happened, several times.

    Also in 2014, the report issued by the US-Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was published which focused on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, between 2001 and 2014. According to the report, among the ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ used in this programme was sleep deprivation: ‘sleep deprivation involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours (usually, standing or in stress positions), at times with their hands shackled above their heads. At least five detainees experienced disturbing hallucinations during prolonged sleep deprivation, and, in at least two of those cases, the CIA agents continued the sleep deprivation.’

    Chelsea Manning, the former US-Army soldier who was convicted by court-martial in 2013 of violations of The Espionage Act and other offences, after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly three-quarters of a million classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents, underwent sleep deprivation. US-President Obama commuted her sentence, and she was released on May 17, 2017.

    Her lawyer, David Coombs, a former military attorney, stated that Chelsea Manning was not allowed to sleep between 5 a.m. (7 a.m. on weekends) and 8 p.m., and was made to stand or sit up if she tried to do so, in her solitary confinement cell (6 × 12 ft [1.8 x 3.6 m] with no window, containing a bed, toilet and sink). She was required to remain visible at all times; including at night. She exclaimed that she regarded it as pre-trial punishment.

    On one occasion, she was ordered to strip naked in her cell at night and sleep without clothing. On the following morning, she stood naked for inspection. Following her lawyer’s protest and media attention, she was issued a sleeping garment.

    The detention conditions prompted national and international concern: Juan E. Mendez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, told The Guardian newspaper that the US-government’s treatment of Chelsea Manning was ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading’. In 2011, 295 academics (most of them North American legal scholars) signed a letter arguing that the treatment was a violation of the US-Constitution. The Pentagon transferred Chelsea Manning to the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility (a new medium-security facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas), where she was placed in an 80-square-foot cell with a window and a normal mattress, able to mix with other pre-trial detainees and keep personal objects in her cell.

    Though she was sentenced to be dishonorably discharged upon release during her court-martial, she has been returned to active unpaid ‘excess leave’ status, while her appeals are pending; a status which entitles her to military medical care. This is significant, because US-President Donald Trump is incapacitating medical care for US-veterans; which will affect what type of medicines and treatment will be made available to a veteran suffering insomnia or sleep deprivation.

    Chelsea Manning may decide to access alternative medicine and seek solace and recovery in Nature (e.g. staying with friends in the countryside)… Her task is to return to the biological rhythm and stability she had before the sleep deprivation technique was introduced into her life.


  2. Thank you, Sarah, for this very educational article !

    I am in total agreement with your article, as insomnia is mainly caused by stress in addition to other factors such as the overuse of social media !

    In the U.S. , we are, on average, overworked and stressed on a constant basis, which triggers a pattern of insomnia ! As you said in your article, it is difficult to totally get rid of stress. It devolves upon us to try to reduce the stress by dint of meditation, or by joining yoga classes for example !

    Equally as important is your other point, Sarah, about reducing the use of social media, as it is directly related to insomnia ! We never used to rely so heavily on social media and on all those pieces of electronics ! In a way, it’s as if we have become totally dependent on them !

    We need to take a step back in an effort to regain our inner peace ! We need to turn off this technology, be it for just a few hours a day so that it wouldn’t invade our inner peace at all times !

    What an informative article, Sarah ! Thank you for presenting the facts to us, the readers, in a reader’s digest format !


  3. Thank you, dear Sarah, for such an informative article. Stress is life banging on our heads. There is no running away from it. We can turn each anxiety, each fear and each concern into supplication. Look at it as another reason to submit to God and worship Him. God listens and already knows what is in our hearts, but He wants us to ask Him for what we want. For God says: “But whosoever turns away from My message, verily for them is a life of hardship”. We must never become fatalistic. We must take action. We must work to alleviate the hardships we, our families, and our communities face. While we need to carry out our duty to the best of our abilities, always remember that we don’t control the outcome of events. Once we have done our duty, let us leave the results to God. For He is the best planner. Seek help through patience and prayers. It is the recommendation of God. How many are the creatures that carry not their own sustenance? It is God Who feeds them and you, for He hears and knows all things. It’s easy to get caught up in our own stress and anxiety. However, if we remember that our life is short and temporary, and that the everlasting life is in the Hereafter, this will put our worries in perspective. God bless you dear Sarah, and God bless you all.


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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !