About Insomnia

Insomnia is a common and distressing problem and includes difficulty in falling asleep, getting back to sleep or waking too early.  Most adults have experienced insomnia at one time or another in their lives. An estimated 30 to 50% of the general population are affected by insomnia, and 10% have chronic insomnia.  In a recent Australian study it was found that almost 20% of the people were chronically sleep restricted and 12% were chronically sleepy.  The author of the study states that “this prevalence of chronic sleep restriction is likely to have a significant influence on public health in Australia.”1

1. D. Bartlett et al, Sleep health New South Wales: chronic sleep restriction and daytime sleepiness, Internal Medicine Journal 38 (2008) 24-31

Certain groups of people are at higher risk of developing insomnia:

  • Insomnia is more common in women especially women in menopause
  • Insomnia increases with increasing age
  • Shift workers frequently suffer from insomnia

Some medical conditions may cause insomnia and include:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Conditions that cause chronic pain such as arthritis
  • Pregnancy

Some commonly used products are associated with insomnia and include:

  • Cough and cold preparations
  • Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine
  • Alcohol


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