Insomnia can involve:
- difficulty falling asleep
- stay asleep
- get up too early
It tires you out and prevents you from functioning well during the day. Insomnia can be the cause or the result of other health problems, and it can affect anyone.
Insomnia is a common problem. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) reports that when it comes to insomnia in adults:
- 30-35% have brief symptoms of insomnia
- 15-20% have short-term insomnia lasting less than 3 months
- 10 percent have chronic insomnia disorder, which occurs at least 3 times a week for at least 3 months
- Age. You are more likely to experience insomnia as you get older.
- Family and genetic history. Certain genes can affect sleep patterns.
- Environment. Shift work, night work, and jet lag can affect the sleep-wake cycle as well as nighttime noise or light and uncomfortably high or low temperatures.
- Stress. Worry increases the risk of insomnia. Worrying about not getting enough sleep can make it worse.
- Sex. More women than men suffer from insomnia, possibly due to hormonal changes. Pregnancy and menopause can also play a role.
Other lifestyle factors that increase the risk of insomnia include:
- Change your sleep routine often.
- Being interrupted during sleep.
- Take long naps during the day.
- Not getting enough exercise.
- Consumption of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or certain drugs.
- Using electronic devices too close to bedtime.
In 2019, an AASM investigation found that one of the main culprits of sleep restriction was frenzied TV watching. Of the 2,003 adults who responded to the survey:
- 88% lost sleep to watch multiple episodes of a TV series or stream
- 72% of adults aged 18 to 34 and 35% of those aged 35 and over have lost sleep while playing video games
- 66% lost sleep because of reading
- 60% lacked sleep to watch sports
Sleep disturbances can occur in response to major stressful events, such as natural disasters and violence or war.
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a global crisis that appears to have affected our sleep. A
In 2020, an observational study found that post-9/11 veterans are particularly vulnerable to insomnia, with 57.2 percent screening positive for insomnia disorder.
There is also a two-way relationship between sleep disturbances and depression. On
Lack of sleep, even in the short term, can negatively affect:
- work or school performance
- memory, concentration and decision making
- chronic pain
- decreased immune response
- heart problems
- arterial hypertension
- mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
- metabolic syndrome, diabetes
- overweight, obesity
- pregnancy complications
- substance use disorders
- A person who sleeps on average less than 6 hours per night has a 13% higher risk of death.
- A person who sleeps between 6 and 7 hours a night has a 7 percent higher risk of death.
These statistics include all causes of death, including car accidents, strokes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
A recent study of 487,200 people in China looked at the risk of insomnia over a period of about 10 years. Participants were on average 51 years old at the start of the study and had no history of stroke or heart disease.
Those with three common insomnia symptoms (difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking up too early, or difficulty concentrating during the day) were 18% more likely to develop a stroke, heart attack, and diseases similar to those who had no symptoms of insomnia.
- $ 299 billion to $ 434 billion in 2020
- From 330 to 467 billion dollars in 2030
- benzodiazepine receptor agonists, such as:
- non-benzodiazepine receptor agonists, comprising:
- eszopiclone (Lunesta)
- zaleplon (Sonata)
- zolpidem (Ambien)
- melatonin receptor agonists, like ramelteon (Rozerem)
- histamine receptor agonists, like doxepin (Silenor)
- orexin receptor agonists, including suvorexant (Belsomra) and lemborexant (Dayvigo)
Other drugs, such as antidepressants, are sometimes prescribed off-label for the treatment of insomnia.
This means that a doctor prescribes a drug for a use that is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because he deems it to be medically appropriate for his patient. And some antihistamines and over-the-counter supplements, like melatonin, are used as sleeping pills.
Prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills and supplements can cause side effects and interact with other medications. Most are for short term use.
Always consult your doctor before taking them.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a
Other therapies for insomnia are:
- talk therapy
- relaxation or meditation
- sleep education
- sleep restriction therapy
- stimuli control therapy
- light therapy
Certain healthy habits can make it easier to fall asleep and maintain sleep. These include:
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning, if possible.
- Keep the bedroom cool, quiet, and free from artificial light sources, such as electronic devices.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco in the evening and do not eat large meals in the hours before bed.
- Exercise regularly during the day, but not within 5-6 hours of bedtime.
- Avoid afternoon naps.
- Take an hour before bed to relax and unwind.
If you’ve had symptoms of insomnia for 2 weeks and can’t get back on track, consider making an appointment with a primary care doctor.
Insomnia can be both a symptom and a cause of various serious health problems. Depending on your symptoms and the physical exam, your doctor may refer you to a specialist to help you get the treatment that’s right for you.