Exercise, nutrition, and smoking are the primary modifiable risk factors for a host of health conditions; sleep and increasingly common sleep disorders are often overlooked. The most common type of sleep-disordered breathing– obstructive sleep apnea – affects nearly 30 million adults within the United States and results in oxidative stress as well as inflammation. While previous studies have linked sleep disorders to a multitude of health complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression, recent research suggests sleep-disordered breathing may cause age acceleration.
In an era of continuous over-stimulation and high stress, a good night’s sleep is becoming increasingly hard to come by. More and more individuals are developing sleep apnea, chronic insomnia, and other sleep disorders, creating a “sleep market” — worth $28.6 billion in 2017 — focused on curing sleepless Americans. Over-the-counter and non-prescription drugs are on the rise, while sedatives such as Ambien and Lunesta remain as the most commonly prescribed drugs for insomnia.
As the side effects of sleep medications can be debilitating, insomniacs are increasingly turning to more natural solutions. A new, drug-free approach to targeting insomnia and other anxiety-related sleep disorders has been growing in popularity over the past two years. Weighted blankets, or gravity blankets, are being marketed as the latest solution for insomnia, nighttime anxiety, and stress. Filled with plastic beads or pellets, these blankets tend to range in weight from 3 to 20 pounds and are meant to mimic a comforting hug, lulling users to sleep naturally.
According to the CDC, between 836,000 and 2.5 million people live with chronic fatigue syndrome, yet many do not receive an official diagnosis or adequate treatment due to the ill-defined nature of the condition.