Insomnia is a growing problem.
According to the Sleep Management Institute it affects an estimated 30% to 50% of the general population. Of these sufferers 10% have chronic insomnia.
Insomnia is a symptom, not a stand-alone diagnosis or a disease. People with insomnia can have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or awakening too early, or any combination of these and it may be due to inadequate quality or quantity of sleep. Insomnia is not defined by a specific number of hours of sleep that one gets, since individuals vary widely in their sleep needs and practices. Although most of us know what insomnia is and how we feel and perform after one or more sleepless nights, few seek medical advice. Many people remain unaware of the behavioral and medical options available to treat insomnia.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic and is linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical or other occupational errors.
Clinical studies have shown links between insomnia and increased risks of depression, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. In fact, research indicates adults with a history of insomnia are almost 4 times as likely to become depressed. Chronic insomnia can also result in reduced health-related quality of life, decreased job performance, and increased risks of disability.
Insomnia is generally classified based on the duration of the problem. Not everyone agrees on one definition, but generally:
- Transient insomnia- symptoms lasting less than one week
- Short-term insomnia- symptoms between one to three weeks
- Chronic insomnia- symptoms lasting longer than three weeks