The lack of chronic sleep can have serious physical and psychological consequences, which are unfortunately not enough French consciousness. Investigation.
"When I do not sleep, the next day, I have no strength in my arms and legs, I lose my memory, I have a lot of headache, burning eyes, nausea and terrible stomach aches". Marie-Bénédicte Adda, 51, has been an insomniac for 26 years. She struggles to fall asleep, wakes up several times a night and very early in the morning, to the point of rarely accumulate 5 hours of consecutive sleep.
"While I slept very well, my sleepless nights began when my first daughter was born, without me ever explaining why," the school teacher recalls very precisely. Will follow three serious depressions. Professionally, the first pushes her to resign from her position as a sales executive, the third to work part time, following her reconversion. "When you do not sleep at all three nights in a row, dealing with a class is extremely difficult, it's really the cancer of my life," she says.
Coronary heart disease and stroke
Like Marie-Bénédicte, 73% of French people say they wake up at least once a night, and 36% say they suffer from at least one sleep disorder (insomnia, apnea, restless leg syndrome ...). Of these, only 18% are on treatment. Researchers from the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center (Greece), however, have just established that the duration of an ideal night should be between six and eight hours of sleep. Small sleepers (less than 6 hours) have an 11% increased risk of developing or dying from coronary heart disease and stroke.
Another cohort of 3,974 adults, presented by Madrid's Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC), also showed that people who slept less than six hours a night or woke up several times during their sleep developed more sleep. asymptomatic atherosclerosis. Middle-aged men sleeping less than five hours a night also double their risk of serious cardiovascular disease, according to the Swedish University of Gothenburg.
"People do not make their sleep a priority"
Chronic sleep deprivation has also been associated with weight gain, obesity, the contraction of infections, the development of breast and prostate cancers (hormone-dependent), hypertension or depression. "For the last fifteen years, the heavy physical and psychological consequences of lack of sleep have now been proven, the problem is that this message has not been passed on to the general public. priority, while it should be an incompressible time of everyday life, "said Dr. Sylvie Royant-Parola, president of Réseau Morphée, a psychiatrist and sleep specialist. "When you do not sleep well for a long time, and you do not understand why, you have to consult," she insists.
Then remains to find the right treatment, which is far from obvious. Sport, diet, drugs, hypnosis, acupuncture, behavioral and cognitive therapies, relaxation, meditation ... "I have almost tried everything," says Françoise Rousseau, German teacher and secretary of the France Insomnie patient association (1). "It works for a while, sometimes for years, and then it stops working, so we look for other alternatives, the goal is mainly to limit medication intake, which is bad and bad for long-term health" .
Altered quality of judgment and drowsiness
At 61, she knows, like her colleague, to date very precisely her first insomnia. "I was 17 and a half, I did not sleep the day before my baccalaureate, and never again since then, but I was a good student, I could not get any of my competitions, I had insomnia all nights for months, despite the medications, which diminished my intellectual faculties. "
Since then, the difficult days have been many, combining bad mood, impaired quality of judgment and drowsiness, especially in the afternoon. After a bad night, you can not make an important decision or drive more than three hours without stopping to sleep. "The immediate risk is indeed accidentology, at work or on the road," confirms Dr. Sylvie Royant-Parola, before identifying stress as the main cause of chronic sleep deprivation in France. What to think about the origin of this biological imbalance, which mainly affects the 30 - 45 years.
1) France Insomnie is a national non-profit organization instituted in March 2016, on the initiative of insomniac patients and sleep specialists. Its purpose is to federate natural or legal persons around sleep disorders related to insomnia and to promote the recognition of insomnia and its management.