Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Amazingly, one in three people will suffer from it during their lifetime.
Below are 7 facts you probably didn’t know about insomnia.
1. Women are two times more likely to have insomnia than men, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Experts speculate that the reason may have to do with female hormones. Sleepless nights and daytime sleepiness have been linked to hormonal changes in a woman’s life, including pregnancy, menopause, and the menstrual cycle.
2. Lack of sleep can lead to death, if you find it difficult to fall asleep you might just be suffering from Fatal Familial Insomnia, a rare genetic disease that prevents a person from falling asleep, eventually leading to death. The average survival span for patients diagnosed with FFI after the onset of symptoms is eighteen months. This very rare disease has been found in just twenty-nine families worldwide, affecting a total of seventy-eight people, and the first recorded case was an Italian man, who died in Venice in 1765.
3. Randy Gardner is the holder of the scientifically documented record for the longest period a human has intentionally gone without sleep without using stimulants of any kind. In 1964, Gardner, a sixteen-year-old high school student in San Diego, California, stayed awake for 264.4 hours (eleven days, twenty-four minutes). After fourteen hours of sleep he claimed he had fully recovered.
4. Contrary to popular belief, insomnia is not defined by the sleep you lose during the night but by the tiredness, headaches, drowsiness, and irritability it causes the sufferer the next day.
5. An estimated 150 million people in the developing world are affected by insomnia. Researchers did a sleep analysis of pan-African and Asian countries, and found that 16.6 percent of the population reported insomnia or other sleep disturbances. In the U.S. and Canada, researchers say 20 percent of the adult population suffers from insomnia.
6. Symptoms related to insomnia are common among individuals that work night shifts or rotating shifts. Night shift work, while some people prefer it, is an unnatural human cycle. Studies have shown that this type of work over the long-term or in cycles can significantly disrupt your natural Circadian cycle. Interruptions in the Circadian cycle affects the physiological balance of your body and can vastly shift sleep patterns and inspire symptoms of insomnia and/or sleep deprivation.
7. Anyone can have insomnia, not just individuals who deal with nervousness or depression. Short bouts of insomnia can be brought on due to changes in life, such as an illness or injury, a death or major change in the family, job changes, medication changes, and other life issues.