Stop Losing Sleep over Insomnia

By Sherwood, Devon A; Rey, Jose A | Drug Topics, July 9, 2007 | Go to article overview

Stop Losing Sleep over Insomnia

Sherwood, Devon A; Rey, Jose A, Drug Topics

Insomnia is one of the most commonly reported medical and psychiatric conditions in the United States. For practitioners capable of dozing off during the constant advertising campaigns of agents for insomnia, several factors should serve as a wake-up call about how important treating insomnia is in the medical community. Numerous studies have emerged indicating links between insomnia and several medical disorders, including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, neurological disease, breathing problems, urinary problems, chronic pain, gastrointestinal problems, and mental disorders.

Insomnia is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth edition, Text Revision, as "difficulty falling asleep, maintaining sleep, early arising, or not feeling rested despite a sufficient opportunity to sleep." Diagnosis of chronic insomnia, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association as well as the National Institutes of Health, requires that these symptoms persist for at least one month and lead to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Recent statistics estimate that more than half (54%) of the U.S. population report symptoms of insomnia a few nights a week and 33% report symptoms every night. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and is linked with an increase in overall mortality.

The following information should serve as a warning to all healthcare providers that the treatment of insomnia needs to become a priority today. Deficits in knowledge about sleep medicine and time constraints are both contributing factors regarding the wariness physicians demonstrate regarding treatment. Studies demonstrate that physicians detect insomnia in less than 50% of patients who have insomnia symptoms. Studies have also shown time spent on counseling patients about the benefits of sleep was less than the time spent discussing diet or exercise. They also found that primary care providers often rate their knowledge regarding insomnia as fair or poor. Both knowledge testing and attitude assessment results coincided with the physician self-assessments.

Consequences of untreated insomnia

Insomnia is correlated with a risk factor for mortality and nursing home placement in the elderly. This is especially problematic knowing that currently 20% to 40% of Americans aged 65 years and older report symptoms of chronic insomnia. In addition to medical issues, studies have linked insomnia in the elderly with statistically higher rates of dependence on sleep medications, self-medication with alcohol, depression, mood disorders, and other psychiatric illnesses. Insomnia is also related to progressive cognitive impairment and decreased social interaction.

In April 2006, the American Heart Association released an epidemiological study in Hypertension regarding an association between short sleep duration and high blood pressure. The study assessed whether short sleep duration would increase the risk for hypertension in 4,810 patients (4,555 men and 255 women, aged 32 to 86 years). Four groups were formed according to duration of sleep in hours (five hours or less, six hours, seven to eight hours, nine hours or more). Among patients aged 32 to 59 years, the increased incidence of hypertension more than doubled in subjects who reported averaging five hours or less of sleep per night. Patients aged 60 to 86 years did not have any association noted regarding sleep and hypertension.

A cross-sectional study reviewed the role of short or poor sleep and the association with glycemic control in 161 African-Americans (42 men, 119 women) with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. It demonstrated that sleep duration and quality of sleep were significant predictors of A1c changes. This study also reviewed 11 epidemiologie studies that examined the association between sleep and diabetes. Nine of the 11 studies demonstrated an increased risk in the incidence of diabetes when sleep deprivation was present, and two of the 11 showed no change. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Stop Losing Sleep over Insomnia


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.