A New Year Addresses a Timeless Problem As 2016 gives way to a new year, millions of people suffering from the widespread problem of insomnia may benefit from learning about some fascinating statistics concerning sleeplessness. The National Sleep Foundation defines insomnia as a medical condition involving difficulty falling or remaining asleep.(1) Today it proves far more widespread than many people realize.
Individuals afflicted with the problem sometimes experience impaired energy, fatigue, emotional and mental instability and generally low performance levels. Consider some of the most surprising facts relating to this condition reported during 2016:
1. Insomnia Currently Poses a Public Health Issue in The USA.
In the United States, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention linked insomnia to accidents and mistakes on the job and along the road. Some 50 to 70 million adults display some form of sleeping disorder, with men reporting a higher rate of insomnia than women according to some studies.(2)
2. One Out of Every Three People Doesn’t Obtain Enough Sleep!
In February, 2016, the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention published a press release notifying the public fully one out of every three adults in the United States reported obtaining less than the recommended seven hours of nightly sleep on a regular basis. The government agency reviewed data collected during a collaborative telephone survey of American adults by the CDC and state health departments undertaken a few years earlier: the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor System. Insomnia proved widespread, with a shocking 35% of adults indicating they suffered from too little sleep.(3)
3. Seniors Report Suffering Disproportionately From Insomnia.
During the course of a given year, up to 40% of the adult population in the United States reports experiencing insomnia, with 60% of the people reporting insomnia suffering from some type of chronic health disorder. Over half of Americans aged 65 or older reported sleeping less than seven hours a night.(4)
4. March Tenth: Insomnia Awareness Day
To publicize the widespread problem of insomnia, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine decided to declare March 10th “Insomnia Awareness Day”. The organization reports fully 10% of the U.S. population suffers from chronic insomnia, defined as sleeplessness occurring at least three times every week during the course of a consecutive three month period. This fatigue-creating condition can cause some significant health symptoms, including poor memory and an inability to focus. It may contribute to higher accident rates and a lower overall quality of life.(5)
5. Insomnia Sometimes Runs In Families
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a tendency towards insomnia may run in certain families. Some 35% of Americans suffering from sleeplessness report a family history of this condition. Since insomnia often coincides with other health problems, this finding may suggest a genetic predisposition for certain types of sleeplessness. For example, researchers recently discovered some 90% of depressed individuals also suffered from insomnia.(6)
6. Light Therapy May Prove Helpful
Despite a variety of possible causes for insomnia, today researchers have concluded that many victims of this condition benefit from obtaining some form of light therapy.(7) Specially designed light therapy boxes may assist patients who use this technology under the direction of a physician. These medical instruments help expose patients to a light source mimicking natural light conditions, perhaps assisting them in adjusting their bodies to circadian rhythms more effectively. Certain types of insomnia respond much better to this treatment than others, and a minority of patients sometimes experience unwelcome side-effects which may include dry skin, eye irritation, headache or even nausea.(8)
Summary: a Useful Field of Research
The current research publicized during 2016 may hold value for people around the world who suffer from frequent sleeplessness. Although the statistics relating to this topic derive largely from self-reporting surveys, the figures do demonstrate a close relationship between a chronic lack of sleep and public health concerns. By working to improve the ability of more people to obtain at least seven hours of sleep every night, public health agencies may eventually reduce accident rates, mistakes on the job and individual suffering. Light therapy may hold promise for large numbers of insomnia sufferers; however, this type of treatment won’t assist every patient. The study of insomnia remains an ongoing challenge in 2017!