Good quality sleep is intrinsically important in sustaining physical functioning and psychiatric well-being. Insomnia is a condition of poor quality sleep or insufficient sleep.
People with chronic insomnia can be identified by having any of the following symptoms for a prolonged period of time (1):
Difficulty falling asleep
Awakening often during the night
Having difficulty getting back to sleep
Awakening too early
The prevalence of insomnia varies from 16 to 21% according to various definitions used in research studies, population characteristics, and across various countries (2).
According to a national survey by the National Sleep Foundation in the US, approximately 9% of adult respondents have symptoms of chronic insomnia or sleep disturbance (3). A more recent survey revealed that over 50% of older adults aged 55 – 84 years had sleep complaints such as trouble falling asleep or waking up repeatedly during the night (4).
Other studies report that insomnia is significantly associated with diminished cognitive function including decreased psychomotor function and delayed response time (4–6). People suffering from insomnia are at increased risk for accidents, psychiatric disorders, increased health care utilization and reduced quality of life.
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