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Alternative Health


Insomnia is a persistent condition: Study

Reported March 11, 2009

Quebec, March 11 - A new study claims that about three-fourth of insomniacs report experiencing insomnia for at least one year and almost half of the insomniacs experience the condition for about three years.

The report carrying study findings were published in March 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research supported the study.

Insomnia is characterized by sleeping disorder causing a constant difficulty in falling asleep. Insomniacs experience functional disorders while awake. They complain inability to close their eyes and relax their mind.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 64 million Americans suffer from insomnia annually and the disorder is 1.4 times more common in women than in men (a 2007 report suggested).

“Approximately 30 percent of adults report symptoms of insomnia and 6 percent to 10 percent meet diagnostic criteria for an insomnia disorder,” stated study authors in the report.

Factors like being female, increasing age, having anxiety or depressiondefine and experiencing pain from medical conditions are more likely to trigger insomnia.

The consequences of the disorder include higher health care costs, work absenteeism, disability and higher risk of hypertension and depression.



Charles M. Morin, Ph.D., of University Laval and Centre de recherche Université Laval—Robert Giffard, Québec, Canada, and colleagues studied insomnia by analyzing insomnia persistence, remission and relapse of the disorder in 388 adults (with average age 44.8) over a period of three years.

At the start of the study, individuals with insomnia experienced the symptoms at least three nights per week for at least one month. The study researchers found that “74 percent out of total study participants reported insomnia for at least one year and 46 percent reported insomnia persisting over the entire three-year study.”

It was noted that individuals with insomnia syndrome had elevated persistence rate compared with the group that experienced insomnia symptoms.

“Individuals with subsyndromal insomnia [insomnia symptoms] at baseline were three times more likely to remit than worsen to syndrome status, although persistence was the most frequent course in that group as well,” researchers said.

After a year, 38.4 percent- out of total 269 individuals with baseline symptoms of insomnia- turned into good sleepers, 48.7 percent still had insomnia symptoms and 12.9 percent had insomnia syndrome. The results were almost similar for second and third year.

The results indicated that insomnia is more or less a persistent disorder.

The study provides a significant insight into insomnia- its persistence, remission and relapse. The study would help researchers better understand insomnia and direct development of effective public health prevention and intervention programs so as to combat the serious disorder, researchers concluded.