Interesting facts about insomnia
Insomnia is arguably the most common sleep disorder, affecting most of us at some point in our lives. Yet, for such a common sleep disorder, insomnia is not well understood by most people. Here are some quick and interesting facts about insomnia:
There isn’t one single cause for insomnia. Stress, physical and mental illness, living situations, family history, sleeping conditions, shift work, diet and exercise can all play a part in insomnia.
Insomnia affects women more then men – around 40% of women suffer insomnia at some point, as opposed to 30% of men. This is largely due to the hormone changes women experience throughout their lives.
The human body cannot survive without sleep. People who do not sleep for several days experience hallucinations, blurred vision, slurred speech and paranoia.
People vary in the amount of sleep they need. Adults need around 7-8 hours every night, teenagers around 9, and babies as much as 16. Insomnia is not defined by how many hours sleep you do or do not get, but the problems experienced in Daytime due to lack of sleep – such as drowsiness, inability to concentrate, headaches and irritability.
There are three different classifications of insomnia: transient insomnia (usually a few days of insomnia), short-term insomnia (a couple of weeks of insomnia) and chronic insomnia (three or more weeks on insomnia). People suffering from chronic insomnia might have episodes several times a year.
Babies and young children deprived of sleep growing up because of medical conditions, poor home life, and other factors are more likely to develop chronic insomnia growing up.
Some people experience insomnia as part of bereavement. Taking prescription sleeping pills can actually disrupt the grieving process.
More often than not, insomnia is actually a symptom of some other, underlying medical condition, drug side effect or nutritional deficiency.
Up to 80% of totally blind people experience insomnia. As the brain uses clues from light to tell our body when to sleep, people who are totally blind and cannot perceive light often struggle to regulate their sleep cycles.
Sleeping difficulties most commonly occurs in elderly people, aged 60 and over. At this age, lifestyle changes, lack of exercise, deteriorating health, and increased sensitivity to outside noise and temperature all contribute to sleep problems.
Counting Sheep in order to fall asleep is an “old wives tale”. Scientific studies have shown this to be an ineffective way to support sleep. Try visualising something peaceful instead, like a calm beach.
Human beings spend approximately 1/3 of their whole life sleeping
Naturopathic tip: Supplementing with magnesium is crucial to support improved sleep, magnesium supports the deepest most healing phase of sleep. See our Essential Sleep Nutrients page for more information on how this supplement can support you to get a better nights sleep.