Insomnia

Insomnia is defined as difficulty initiating, or maintaining sleep at least 3 nights per week, in addition to complaints of sleep-related daytime impairment. It is the most common sleep disorder, affecting up to 10% of adults. Sufficient and restful sleep is a human necessity. The average adult needs slightly more than 8 hours of sleep a day. But only 35% of American adults consistently get this amount of rest.

People with insomnia tend to experience one or more of the following sleep disturbances:

Insomnia may stem from a disruption of the body's circadian rhythm, an internal clock that governs the timing of hormone production, sleep, body temperature, and other functions. While occasional restless nights are normal, prolonged insomnia can interfere with daytime function, concentration, and memory. Insomnia increases the risk of substance abuse, motor vehicle accidents, headaches, and depression. Recent surveys indicate that 50% of people suffer from sleep difficulties, and 20 to 36% of them struggle with such difficulties for at least 1 year. Other studies show that 1 person out of 3 in the United States has insomnia, but only 20% tell their health care providers about it.

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Review Date: 2/4/2016  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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