Insomnia Costs More than Just Lost Sleep

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Insomnia Costs More than Just Lost SleepAbout 10% of all adults around the world suffer from insomnia. They have trouble falling asleep, wake up frequently at night, and still feel tired when the morning comes. A new study documents the toll of insomnia on society itself, beyond the obvious personal issues.

Sleep apnea, a more severe problem, affects four to five percent of all adults. Sleep apnea actually makes you stop breathing for up to 40 seconds several times during the night, and that exerts a big toll on the heart. Waking up dozens of times in the night, due to sleep apnea, prevents you from reaching the necessary deep sleep in which your body repairs itself and prepares for the next day.

It can affect your work. A recent study estimated that losses from insomnia alone amount to more than $63.0 billion in the U.S. alone each year. One-third was due to people not going to work, and the rest was losses due to weak productivity while at work.

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In Australia, researchers found that two percent of the country’s gross domestic product is lost because of insomnia-related sick leaves.

And, insomnia can endanger your safety. Sleep disorders have a major impact on traffic accidents and work accidents. Insomnia has been proven to be a major cause of accidents on American roads.

It can also lead to the overuse of medications. Insomnia leads people to reach for help in the pharmacy, but drug use can cause problems. Several studies show that sedatives can cause users to feel less rested during the daytime. While sleep medication might work temporarily, researchers found the effects waned after six weeks. People who use sedatives may never reach the deep sleep they desperately need.

Sleep disorder sufferers are often major health care users. People, looking for an answer, may overuse alternative medicines, often drink too much alcohol (to help them fall asleep) and see chiropractors, physiotherapists, psychologists, and other doctors more often.

The researchers call for insomnia treatment to be more accessible. It’s a problem that too many of us suffer in silence while others are busy snoring away.

Sources for Today’s Articles:
Insomnia Costs More than Just Lost Sleep
“Sleep problems cost billions,” The University of Bergen, October 26, 2012.