When you are up in the middle of the night, flipping through the channels, it is easy to imagine that you are the only one in the world suffering through another sleepless night. But millions of Americans have trouble getting the sleep they need and one of the celebrities gracing your late night television screen might be struggling the same as you. It turns out, celebrities are just like the rest of us and they wrestle with the same sleep issues and disorders that we do.
So who is spending their nights flipping through the channels with you?
- George Clooney, Oscar winner and Sexiest Man Alive has trouble falling asleep without the TV. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleeping with the light of the TV can disrupt the signals that let us get the sleep we need.
- Rihanna, pop-star and singing sensation, has reported having trouble sleeping through Twitter, which ironically, may be part of the problem. The NSF’s 2011 Sleep in America poll 90% of us are using some kind of technology in the hours leading up to bedtime which can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Our cell phones also wake us up a lot, which is another reason technology and the bedroom are a bad combination.
- Lady Gaga, music maven and pop-culture phenomenon reports not sleeping for days at a time because her mind is always going. This kind of sleep deprivation can be very dangerous as research has shown that being awake for only 24 hours straight causes impairment similar to that of a legally drunk blood alcohol level.
- David Ortiz, designated hitter and Big Papi to Red Sox Nation, had difficulties sleeping due to the stress caused by a significant slump in 2009. Stress is often a contributing factor to insomnia according to the NSF.
- Actress and oscar-winner Sandra Bullock experienced something that is common amongst new mothers when she adopted her son Louis, new parent sleep deprivation. Accumulating a significant sleep deficit is dangerous for your health and for those around you as being overtired impairs both judgment and decision making.
- Renee Zellweger, actress and box office bombshell, sometimes struggles with sleep while on location or while traveling to keep up with her hectic schedule. For celebrities who are bouncing between time zones and extreme schedules, it can be easy to get out of sync with the body’s natural rhythm. You can combat this by establishing and following a good bedtime routine.
- Jimmy Kimmel, comedian and late-night talk show host, has a sleep disorder called Narcolepsy which means his brain has difficulties with moderating his sleep-wake cycle. People with this condition have trouble remaining awake when they are supposed to and can fall asleep while doing everyday activities like driving or talking to another person.
- Thomas Edison, inventor and father of the light bulb is said to have slept as little as four hours a night, compensating with frequent catnaps throughout the day. Although this cycle may have resulted in cumulative sleep durations that were closer to the recommended amount for adults, most experts recommend skipping naps in order to preserve your ability to sleep. The NSF recommends skipping them all together, especially in the afternoon and evening.
It doesn’t matter whether you are famous or not, failing to get the sleep you need can have serious life-threatening consequences. Researchers have established a link between lack of sleep and obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk for certain cancers. If you are struggling to get the sleep you need to safeguard your health, talk to your doctor, practice good sleep hygiene, and make sure you aren’t doing anything to sabotage a good night’s sleep.