Entourage Cast Member Offers Hope

TV star Debi Mazar talks about sleep deprivation and how relaxation can restore balance in one’s life.

From the WebMD Archives

You've spoken publicly about your struggles with insomnia. When did your problems start?

As an actress in my 20s. After my role in Goodfellas and 10 years past that, I was working nonstop. I was jumping from one set to the next. A lot of times we shot at night. I had to be awake at night and a little bit in the day. It became jarring and difficult to do without sleep.

You obviously felt pretty strongly about that, since you decided to be one of the people heading up the "Sleepless Moms" campaign (www.sleeplessmoms.com, sponsored by Takeda Pharmaceuticals) to help the sleep-challenged and those with insomnia.

I was trying to make people aware there's something you can do about it, where you don't have to take a sedative.

Did any other factors contribute to your inability to sleep during this period of your life?

For women in their mid to late 20s and 30s, you start looking for love and start asking, "Am I going to find the right guy?" and "Will I be a mother?" You wonder if it's ever going to happen. Those kinds of thoughts kept me awake.

Why is there such an epidemic of women having problems sleeping?

The world has changed. Women are pretty much expected to work as much as men do, and the mother is sort of the CEO of the house. And the world moves very, very fast, so people are checking their emails at midnight. It's not like the old days, when you could just settle down with a good book and chat with your husband.

Were there physical consequences of your insomnia?

When I don't sleep, I tend to get sick.

What did you eventually do?

I sought a health care professional. My doctor prescribed me sedatives, which really helped me when I was shooting films at night. But I don't like the feeling of being groggy the next day. Now, as a parent, sedatives are not an option for me anymore.

Is there a trickle-down effect when moms are sleep deprived?