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What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, resulting in unrefreshing or non-restorative sleep. Because different people need different amounts of sleep it can be difficult to know what is right for you as maybe you find it impossible to get the 8 hours which we hear so much about. Many people spend eight or more hours in bed but find they take a long time to drop off or wake regularly during the night which leaves them feeling feel drowsy and fatigued during the day.

Although insomnia is the most common sleep complaint, it can often be related to other concerns such as anxiety or stress and can therefore be a symptom of another problem.   The triggers of insomnia and poor sleep differs from person to person, for some its only an issue when they are stressed and for others they have no idea what started the poor sleep.

The good news is that most cases of insomnia can be cured with changes you can make on your own—without relying on over-the-counter sleeping pills.


Insomnia Statistics

The latest insomnia statistics may surprise you as when you are lying staring thee ceiling night after night, you've got plenty of company. 

General Insomnia Statistics

  • People today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago.
  • More than 30% of the population suffers from insomnia.
  • One in three people suffer from some form of insomnia during their lifetime.
  • More than half of Brits lose sleep due to stress and/or anxiety.
  • Between 40% and 60% of people over the age of 60 suffer from insomnia.
  • Women are up to twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men.
  • Approximately 35% of insomniacs have a family history of insomnia.
  • 90% of people who suffer from depression also experience insomnia.
  • Approximately 10 million people in the U.K. use prescription sleep aids.
  • People who suffer from sleep deprivation are 27% more likely to become overweight or obese. There is also a link between weight gain and sleep apnea.
  • A National Sleep Foundation Poll shows that 60% of people have driven while feeling sleepy (and 37% admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel) in the past year.
  • A recent Consumer Reports survey showed the top reason couples gave for avoiding sex was "too tired or need sleep."



Financial Implications of Insomnia

The data surrounding insomnia aren't confined to the relationship between insomnia and health. This sleep disorder costs government and industry billions of dollars a year.

  • The effect of sleep deprivation on productivity and health costs the UK economy over £40 billion a year. 
  • Employers spend approximately £3,200 more on health care costs on employees with sleep problems than for those who sleep well.
  • If those who slept under 6 hours per night increased their sleep to 6-7 hours this alone could add £24 billion to the UK economy.

These sobering statistics underscore the importance of enhancing sleep disorder awareness and why individuals need to seek immediate treatment for the health and the well-being of others.

Sources: National Sleep Foundation, Better Sleep Council, Gallup Polls, Institute of Medicine, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, US Surgeon General's Office