Insomnia Fact Sheet

  1. Chronic insomnia is a disorder with biological, environmental, psychological, and behavioral components.
  2. Over a third of all Americans report having occasional insomnia, and at least 10 percent, or 30 million, experience some form of persistent insomnia.
  3. Insomnia is more common among women than men (3:2), among older adults than young people, and among the economically disadvantaged than the well-to-do.
  4. About 40 percent of the people with chronic insomnia also have mood disorders or other psychiatric conditions. (Ford & Kamerow, JAMA, 1989)
  5. People with chronic insomnia are at increased risk for developing these medical conditions: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, chronic pain, and gastrological, neurologic, urinary, and breathing problems.
  6. The genetic component in chronic insomnia is fairly strong. People who have a first-degree relative with insomnia are seven times more likely than people without such family members to develop chronic insomnia themselves. (Dauvilliers, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 2005) A large study of twins in Washington State puts the heritability of insomnia at 57 percent. (Watson, Sleep, 2006)
  7. About 25 to 40 percent of the people who experience transient insomnia develop a more persistent form of the disorder later on. (Morin, Archives of Internal Medicine, 2009; Ellis, Sleep Medicine Reviews, 2012)
  8. Chronic insomnia has a negative impact on quality of life. Compared to good sleepers, poor sleepers report higher levels of fatigue, more depression and emotional volatility, and impaired ability to concentrate, think, and learn.
  9. Chronic insomnia has a substantial impact in the workplace. Healthcare costs for workers with moderate to severe insomnia are 75 percent higher than for workers who do not experience insomnia. Lost productivity costs for workers with moderate to severe insomnia are 72 percent higher than for workers without insomnia. (Sarsour, Sleep, 2011)
  10. About 40 percent of people with persistent insomnia turn at some time to alcohol and/or OTC sleep aids for relief. (Ancoli-Israel and Roth, Sleep, 1999) About 8.6 million Americans now use prescription sleeping pills. (CDC Report, Aug. 2013)

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