As the recognition of sleep as a key part of good health continues, so do studies of disordered sleep. Snoring, disrupted circadian rhythms, and insomnia are receiving much-needed attention from the scientific community. Insomnia can be particularly harmful.
How Many Insomnia Sufferers?
In a recent article in Medical Xpress, Johannes Angerer from the Medical University of Vienna discusses the results of a 2017 Austrian national sleep survey. The survey revealed that approximately 8% of respondents suffered from chronic insomnia.
The standards of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD-3) were applied to the responses of over 1,000 individuals. These are relatively strict standards used by researchers and sleep laboratories.
When the standards were expanded to include a broader definition of insomnia symptoms, the number shot up another 8.9%. Angerer notes that 8% is comparable to chronic insomnia numbers for other European countries.
Seeking Help for Insomnia
The survey also revealed that of the 8% of people with chronic insomnia, only 53% sought help for their sleepless nights. For the additional 8.9% with chronic insomnia symptoms that number plummeted to a mere 23%.
All of these survey respondents had reported that their daytime functioning was affected somewhat, much, or very much by their insomnia.
Without treatment, survey respondents experienced an array of negative effects resulting from lack of sleep. Excessive daytime sleepiness and impacts on concentration, memory, and mood were all reported.
The study authors point out a need for increased screening for insomnia and other sleep problems among the general public. Sleep physicians and general practitioners who screen for insomnia can refer patients for earlier treatment.
Another remedy recommended by the researchers was greater education about insomnia. Increased screening and educating patients about the availability of treatment could positively affect the lives of nearly 17% of Austria’s adult population.