Survey Shows the Lingering Impact of Insomnia


More than 90% of those surveyed report poor sleep quality impacts the next day negatively.

David Sheehan, MD

David Sheehan, MD

While the impact of sleep and rest is well known, a new survey backs the claim that daily performance is largely dependent on the previous night’s sleep.

During the 2019 World Sleep Congress in Vancouver, officials from Eisai Inc. presented data from the company-sponsored How America Sleeps and Wakes survey conducted by The Harris Poll between February 14 and March 8, 2019, showing the impact of insomnia and other sleep-related problems on an individual’s next day performance, interpersonal relationships, and psychosocial behavior.

The poll included 525 adults in the US who have been diagnosed with insomnia or have experienced difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep for 3 or more nights a week, over a 3-month period.

The survey also included 505 adults in the US who did not have sleep problems, but resided with an adult diagnosed with insomnia or experience difficulties falling or staying asleep for 3 or more nights a week, over a 3-month period.

The pharmaceutical company discovered that 90% of patients agreed that “having a good night’s sleep” equates with “having a good day” the subsequent morning.

They also found that 67% of those surveyed reported feeling of fatigue following a poor-quality sleep, while just 7% reported feeling “ready to start their day.”

Also, 63% of the participants rated “waking up refreshed and ready to start the day” and 64% of those surveyed said “being able to function normally throughout the day” were very important in managing insomnia and other sleep difficulties.

Sleep problems are also a consistent problem for a large portion of the participants and not just a one-night issue.

About 93% of the patients who experience sleepiness or grogginess in the morning said they have these issues 2-3 times a week, with 95% of that subgroup rating them as very or somewhat bothersome.

David Sheehan, MD, a distinguished University Health Professor Emeritus at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, explained how the survey should dictate some primary care changes.

“These findings demonstrate people with insomnia or sleeping difficulties view these conditions as more than just challenges of falling and staying asleep,” Sheehan said in a statement. “As healthcare professionals, we should consider next-day function as we treat patients. Our goal should be to help patients both sleep well and wake ready.”

Insomnia and other sleep problems also have an impact on household cohabitants in a number of different ways.

About 85% of cohabitants agreed that they were more likely to have a good day when the person with the sleeping difficulties has a good night’s sleep, while 53% of cohabitants whose relatives experienced morning sleepiness or grogginess said those difficulties were very or somewhat bothersome for themselves, and 26% of cohabitants reported feeling tired or fatigued when their partner or relative do not have a good night’s sleep.

“We know insomnia or sleeping difficulties can negatively impact the entire household, not just the person who is struggling with sleep,” Phyllis C. Zee, MD, PhD, Chief of sleep medicine in the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University, said in a statement. “The important finding of this survey was the vast majority of cohabitants revealed that they are more likely to have a good day if the person with whom they are living has a good night's sleep.”

Another finding from the survey is that insomnia medication was insufficient on its own, with 70% of patients and 81% of cohabitants agreeing that the medication should help the user both sleep and function then the following day.

According to the investigators, insomnia symptoms affect approximately 30% of the adult population globally. Woman are also 1.4 times more likely to suffer from insomnia than men.

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