The True Cost of Insomnia

The True Cost of Insomnia

David, a presenter working on a radio station in Uganda in East Africa says he gets less than four hours of sleep everyday. According to him, he has way too many bills to pay, for him to be ‘wasting’ away precious time sleeping when he can work two jobs. Sadly, however, there are times when David actually wants to get some sleep especially over the weekend but he just can’t; his body won’t let him. David is one of the millions of people around the world who often want to get some sleep but have often failed. This sleeping disorder is what, in medical terms, is known as ‘insomnia’. It is a symptom which can accompany several sleep, medical and psychiatric disorders, characterized by continuous difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep even though the opportunity to sleep presented itself.

Insomnia, one of the most common medical complaints, has numerous causes including use of psychoactive drugs or stimulants, pain, hormonal shifts, parasomnia, mental disorders, disturbances of the circadian rhythm, neurological disorders, abuse of over-the counter prescription or sleep aids, certain routines of physical exercise, poor sleep hygiene plus a host of other causes. Typically, there are 3 types of insomnia likely to affect an individual; Transient insomnia which lasts from days to weeks, Acute insomnia which lasts between 3 weeks to 6 months and Chronic Insomnia which lasts for years.

Failure to get enough sleep is likely to have detrimental effects on an individual. There are countless disadvantages of insomnia without having to state the obvious; lack of rest. A survey of 1.1 million residents in America conducted by the American Cancer Society concluded that people who slept for fewer than 6 hours had higher mortality rates than those who slept longer.

Sleep is supposed to account for one-third of a normal human being’s life. If well observed, it will ensure enough rest for the body and mind and will enable an individual to operate at ‘full capacity’. However inadequate rest will usually make you awaken feeling un-refreshed, which takes a toll on your ability to function during the day. Insomnia can negatively affect not only your energy level and mood, but also your health, work performance and quality of life.

One might have difficulty falling asleep, wake up often during the night and have trouble going back to sleep, wake up too early in the morning or just feel tired upon waking up; whatever the symptom, it is clear that insomnia is not a simple sleeping disorder but a huge burden to the over worked and over strained human body which otherwise needs all the rest it can get.