It afflicts 100 million Americans and causes 38,000 deaths each year, including 1,500 on the road. It costs the U.S. a whopping $70 billion worth of productivity. Sixty-four percent of teens suffer from it. It hits hardest between ages 30 and 40. Fifty percent of seniors suffer from it. Treatments range from mouth guards to herbal teas to medication.
I am talking about insomnia. America can’t get to sleep. To fight back, Americans consume 30 tons of sleeping pills, aspirin, and tranquilizers every day! Thomas Edison lived off 15-minute naps. But Albert Einstein averaged 11 hours of sleep each night. In 1910 we slept an average of nine hours; now we are down to seven.
It’s funny. We are the only creatures who struggle with sleep. Dogs doze, bears hibernate, and my cat sleeps 23 hours a day. So what makes us (people) different? We worry. We worry a lot. Psychologists say that 90 percent of what we worry about never even happens. But we worry anyway.
I’m reminded of a Carpenter who lived 2,000 years ago. He said, “Give me your burdens. Do not worry.” The dog, bear, and cat get it. What about you? To each of us St. Peter offers great advice. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).