Insomnia is a common sleep problem that affects an estimated 8-15% of the world’s population.
Here are a few facts that you might not have known about it:
We sleep a lot less than we think
In one recent study, 18% of people report sleeping less than 5 hours a night. This leads many people to feel fatigued and drained throughout the day.
Sleep medication is used frequently
An estimated 25% of those affected by insomnia have taken sleep medication in the past 12 months to aid sleep. Up to 7% of the population take sleep medication on a regular basis.
Insomnia is directly linked to anxiety and depression
People suffering from anxiety or depressive disorders frequently experience insomnia. Mental health issues can affect our ability to relax, which is a key component to induce and maintain sleep. A lack of sleep can also trigger anxiety and depressive symptoms over time.
Insomnia increases with age
About 10% of people experience insomnia at the age of 15-24, this number doubles to 20% at age 75. Many believe that biological changes such as a shift in circadian rhythms are responsible for this change.
Coping skills are linked to insomnia
Those who report having a stressful life or having poor problem solving skills have a much higher rate of insomnia. It is quite clear that our ability to cope with life’s challenges is related to our ability to rest well.
Weight is a major factor
Overweight/obese people have a higher rate of insomnia than people of normal weight. Carrying excessive weight can trigger issues such a sleep apnoea which can severely affect sleep quality. Incidentally, sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain.
Alcohol affects sleep quality
Many people drink alcohol as a means to induce sleep. The fact is, alcohol might get you to sleep, but the quality of sleep tends to be very poor. Sleep maintenance insomnia is very common with those who drink at night. Those who consume more than 2 drinks a day are 15% more likely to report sleep problems.
Medications can have an effect on sleep
About 10-20% of those who take a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) will experience sleep disturbances. ADHD medications boost alertness and can also lead to insomnia. These medications have been demonstrated to reduce the amount of REM sleep we get. Many believe that REM sleep is responsible for important functions such as memory and immune system balance.
Good quality sleep is key to overall health and well-being. It affects our mood, focus and general well being. So it pays to strive towards quality rest every night.