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Stressed out and not sleeping

Over at Well, blogger Tara Parker-Pope made reference to the president's recent comments about the economy's impact on all of us.

During last night's speech, President Obama stated the obvious: Many of us are stressed out about the economy.

"You don't need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis, because you live it every day," he told us. "It's the worry you wake up with and the source of sleepless nights."

The passage reminded me of a recent talk I had with Allison Siebern, PhD, with the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic, who told me she's seen a definite rise in sleep concerns among her patients since last fall. Many of them, she said, have cited the economy and their personal financial problems as a source of angst.

Well-known stress expert David Spiegel, MD, echoed Siebern during a brief talk today. He doesn't have formal statistics, he told me, but he's certain there has been an increase in anxiety and depression since the economy worsened. Perhaps of greater concern is that some therapists are seeing a decrease in their patient volume: many people, either because they've lost their job and/or their health insurance, can't afford to get help.

Spiegel talked more about this topic during a Stanford 1:2:1 podcast taped last Nov.

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