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If you can't sleep and you're looking up interesting facts about insomnia, you might be an insomniac. The good news is, you're not alone. Insomnia is much more common than people think. In fact, our list of 22 interesting facts about insomnia starts with the average number of adults who experience episodes of chronic sleep disturbances, and you may be surprised.
Our top facts about insomnia are more than just staggering sleep statistics. We've hit the virtual books to search for some of the most interesting and fun facts about insomnia that we could find, and we found a lot. Get ready to learn more about insomnia than you ever thought was possible, including historic dictionary entries, Shakespearean plays, as well as what famous painter was best known for being an insomniac!
Even if you are having trouble sleeping regularly, there's a good chance you're not an insomniac. Most likely, you're one of the average 33% of adults who will experience bouts of chronic insomnia at some point in their lifetime.
There are many definitions of insomnia, depending on where you're looking. They're all very similar and mean the same thing. A more concrete definition of insomnia was published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine. Experts say clinical insomnia is a sleep disorder that fits the following criteria:
- Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or nonrestorative sleep.
- This difficulty is present despite adequate opportunity and circumstance to sleep.
- This impairment in sleep is associated with daytime impairment or distress.
- This sleep difficulty occurs at least 3 times per week and has been a problem for at least 1 month.
Coming to us again from AASA, 10% of adults in the U.S. are reported to suffer from chronic insomnia. That's one out of every ten people! Chronic insomnia is when a person experiences trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for a minimum of three nights every week, for a period of three months or more.
The CDC tracks sleep deprivation statistics in the United States. The Southeastern U.S. and states along the Appalachian Mountains have the highest percentages of sleep deprivation. If you're having trouble sleeping, consider moving to one of the states with the lowest sleep deprivation rates. This includes Minnesota, South Dakota, Colorado, and other Great Plains states.
National polls indicate 95% of adults say they have experienced episodes of insomnia at some point in their lifetime. This includes the different types of insomnia classifications, as well as variations between acute and minor patches of insomnia, all the way to cases of chronic and severe episodes of insomnia. That means pretty much all of us are going to experience symptoms of insomnia at some point in our lives, whether we like it or not.
Insomnia is classified as either primary or secondary. Primary insomnia is where your insomnia is not linked to any other root cause. Secondary insomnia is when insomnia is caused by another medical condition, like fibromyalgia or depression. Many sufferers of insomnia are likely to be experiencing disturbances in sleep because of other underlying health conditions. This is why it's important to talk to a doctor or sleep expert if you feel like your insomnia is a chronic issue.
Acute insomnia is the opposite of chronic insomnia. Insomnia is considered acute if it only lasts for one night, and it happens less than three weeks in a row. This is the kind of insomnia that most Americans will experience at some point in their life. It might happen from a stressful day at work or anything else that causes you to not sleep for a night or two. As long as your sleep routines go back to normal fairly quickly, then you're most likely experiencing acute insomnia.
These days there are official days for everything and insomnia is no different. Sleep Insomnia Day is recognized on the first Monday after the switch to daylight savings time. In the U.S. this usually takes place on the second Sunday in March. The day was started in 2014, by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It serves as a day to raise awareness and education for insomnia and healthy sleep habits, like eating the right foods and using natural methods to encourage sleep like meditation, yoga, or sound therapy.
There are several negative side effects of insomnia, including reducing how well you work. Research in this area has determined that insomnia causes poor work performance that results in an average loss of $63 billion every year. That's a whole lot of dough out the window all because people are getting the right amount of sleep.
Those who have difficultly falling asleep are 2 times more likely to die in motor vehicle crashes. Falling asleep behind the wheel contributes to about 34% of motor vehicle deaths. That makes insomnia a potentially fatal condition to be living with and another reason to try finding ways to improve your sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep can help keep you, and others, safe behind the wheel.
People with several symptoms of insomnia are 2.8 times more likely to die from a fatal injury. People only experiencing one symptom of insomnia are 1.5 times more likely to die from a fatal injury. 8% of all unintentional fatal injuries are linked to falling asleep.
The word insomnia found its way into the dictionary in 1623. Insomnia was defined as "want of sleep". It is derived from the Latin word in meaning "not", and somnus, meaning "sleep".
Records of insomnia have been reported in cats and dogs. It's more common in older pets, and pets with anxiety or depression issues. Usually, you'll notice signs that indicate your pet is having trouble sleeping. It's recommended that you see your veterinarian if you think your pet might be having trouble sleeping.
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri has actually created fruit flies that have insomnia in order to study the condition. Research on these insomniac fruit flies is intended to better understand how it affects humans.
Insomnia is scattered all throughout history and Shakespearean plays include mentions of the sleep condition. Shakespeare would often give characteristics of insomnia to characters who had troubled minds.
Many famous artists, including Vincent Van Gogh, were sufferers of insomnia. In 1889, Van Gogh wrote a letter to his brother Theodore which mentioned, “I fight this insomnia by a very, very strong dose of camphor in my pillow and mattress, and if ever you can’t sleep, I recommend this to you.” Van Gogh was referring to using early methods of aromatherapy for sleep.
We already know alcohol can cause sleep disturbances, which is why it's not recommended for getting quality sleep. Experts tell us that frequent binge drinking is linked to causing symptoms of insomnia in adults. Binge drinking increases the odds of insomnia symptoms by 84%.
Research shows that cigarette smoking can cause insomnia symptoms, even after you quit smoking. You're more likely to experience symptoms of insomnia if you started smoking cigarettes at a younger age and if you smoked cigarettes for multiple decades.
A study published in Sleep Medical Clinics evaluated the relationship between working night shift hours and how it affected sleep patterns. It was concluded that night shift workers experience several negative effects on sleep and are more likely to experience insomnia.
A group of psychiatric researchers in the UK found a correlation between insomnia and hallucinations. Those who experience chronic insomnia are more likely to hallucinate as a result of lack of sleep. In severe cases, insomnia may contribute to psychotic episodes.
Sleep experts at Harvard reveal many links between chronic insomnia and general well-being. One of particular to note is that people who suffer from chronic insomnia are at an increased risk for developing mood disorders like anxiety and depression