Anguish of Sleepless Nights; Insomnia Affects Up to 10pc of Australian Population

Article excerpt

Byline: Candida Baker candy.baker@northernstar.com.au

FOR Jeni Caffin, director of the Byron Bay Writers Festival, insomnia is nothing new.

"I've always been an insomniac," she said. "I've taught myself to survive on a few hours sleep a night. I can be cheerfully awake during sleeping hours, but unfortunately that means I would rather be asleep during waking hours."

Ms Caffin, whose insomnia is in full swing with the imminent arrival of the Writers Festival, has a bag full of insomnia tricks.

"Usually I just get up and do something, but if I'm really trying to go back to sleep I count sheep, think of all the terrible things I've ever said, remember the frocks I used to wear when I was a child," she laughs. "Nothing works very well to be honest, but it doesn't bother me too much."

However, Ms Caffin is in a minority. According to insomnia expert, US-based Professor Dan Buysse, most people find it an extremely debilitating condition.

Up to 10 per cent of the Australian population suffers from insomnia, Prof Buysse, of the University of Pittsburgh, said. …