Does Insomnia Have a Negative Affect on an Individual’s Health? Daina Whitehead, 0807887
University of Guelph
Dr. M. Gloria Gonzales-Morales
Surveys were sent out to 2600 people that are apparently suffering from some form of insomnia. The surveys asked how many hours the participant slept as well as a series of health related questions regarding their mental and physical state. The answers were assessed to see if there was any sort of relationship between insomnia and health issues. There was reasonable proof that insomnia was negatively correlated with physical health, but there was no substantial proof that sleep deprivation is related to mental illness.
Does Insomnia Have a Negative Affect on an Individual’s Health? “I've always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.” (Benioff, 2008).
Roughly 15% of the population suffers from insomnia, which is a sleep disorder that causes the individual to have frequent awakenings throughout the night or have difficulties falling asleep (Merrigan et al, 2013). Many studies have been conducted in the past to see if insomnia has an impact on a person’s health. The health of an individual has many dynamics, including their mental and physical wellbeing. A person needs sleep in order to for their body to function properly. Seeing as sleep is so vital to one’s survival, one would think that doctors pay close attention to whether or not their patient is suffering from insomnia. Unfortunately this is not the case, and insomnia is often over looked when a diagnosis is being determined (Morin and Benca, 2012). The body literally cannot survive without sleep. The average person can stay awake for eleven days before their body will begin to shut down and they will ultimately die. There have been cases in the past where individuals suffering from extreme insomnia experience organ failure as a result of lack of sleep. Less extreme cases of sleep deprivation may cause the individual to have joint and muscle pain, headaches, and nausea (Morin and Benca, 2012). Anybody that has ever had a restless night can tell you that the next day they are not feeling 100%. Now imagine having numerous consecutive sleepless nights. Putting that into perspective, it is understandable why their body might not function properly. Many past studies have been conducted to see if insomnia has an effect on one’s mental state. Most studies have found that there is a fairly strong correlation between insomnia and mental illnesses. Researchers in the past have found that those that have more severe insomnia often have bipolar disorder and anxiety issues. For those whose cases are not as serious may experience fatigue, mood swings, and have difficulties remaining attentive (Morin and Benca, 2012). Some people believe that insomnia may be what is causing mental disorders, while others think that it is the mental conditions that are bringing on the insomnia. For instance, if a person is experiencing anxiety and sleep deprivation, it is difficult to tell if they are anxious because they are unable to sleep, or if their anxiety is causing their insomnia. Inability to sleep is also associated with other mental illnesses such as depression and stress. Unfortunately, because insomnia is so often overlooked, the root of their problem may be ignored. If a patient is being treated for anxiety that has been brought on by the insomnia, doctors will often only treat the anxiety, ignoring the cause of the problem. Often, if insomnia goes untreated, it can result in more serious conditions and require medical assistance (Robotham, 2011).
Previous research shows that insomnia is often associated with an individual health. A variety of studies...
References: Merrigan, J., Buysse, D., Bird, J., & Livingston, E. (2013, February 20). Insomnia. The Journal of the American Medical Association. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from http://jama.jamanetwork.com.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/article.aspx?articleid=1653524
Morin, C., & Benca, R. (2012, April 21). Chronic Insomnia. The Lancet. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from http://www.sciencedirect.com.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/science/article/pii/S0140673611607502
Roborham, D. (n.d.). Sleep as a public health concern: insomnia and mental health. ProQuest . Retrieved October 9, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/docview/915054341?accountid=11233
Benioff, D. (2008). City of thieves: a novel. New York, N.Y.: Viking.
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