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Why Is Insomnia On The Rise?

2014 words - 9 pages

Over the last few decades insomnia has been on a dramatic increase, especially in the UK. This is an issue as it causes damage to ones biological state resulting in a negative change of the economical, personal and social state of the sufferer [1]. Therefore, this issue report will identify and discuss treatments and causes for the reason behind an increase in the number of insomniacs in the UK (graph one).

Insomnia is described as a chronic condition in which one finds difficulty in getting to sleep and/or staying asleep [2] and occurs when the responsibilities of the thalamus are not fulfilled (the part of the brain which controls sleep) [7].
Sleep is also controlled by the pineal gland (located behind the thalamus)which is activated when it gets dark by the SCN (supra-chiasmatic nucleus) and begins to produce melatonin constantly over the next 12 hours making the body less alert and so we begin to feel sleepy. People with insomnia have impaired pineal glands and so they do not feel sleepy during the night, but during the day [15].
Sleeplessness is experienced by many people if they are going through a stressful event, are at discomfort, are worried or ill.[2] If worries such as being unemployed, widowed or separated are persistent, then one may develop chronic insomnia [1]. Otherwise, insomnia is developed as a result of a psychological or physical disorder [2]. Insomnia is a greater issue for women and the likelihood of developing it usually increases with age [1].For example the findings from a study done by Arch Intern et al. into risk factors associated with insomnia showed that the odds ratio of females developing insomnia was 1.5 and for older people the odds ratio was 1.3 [9], hence supporting the idea of the prevalence of insomnia increasing with age and being more common in women. Symptoms of insomnia includes waking up frequently when sleeping, finding it difficult to get back to sleep when waking, day time fatigue and a lack of concentration during the day [3].
The economy experiences a great burden as a result of insomniacs. This is because the cost of the medical treatment used to help sufferers sleep is very high, also when insomniacs lose concentration during the day they begin to experience major or minor accidents which leads to a greater cost when medical help is needed. This is supported by research findings which showed that 20% of the accidents that occur in the UK are results of sleeplessness [4]. Also if the sufferer is deprived of sleep during the night they will begin to sleep during the day. This will lead to an increase in the number of days off work and so they will not be earning as much as they need to, leading to unemployment, obesity and mortality [4] as more time is spent being inactive in bed. Depression is one of the main personal issue (and indirectly economical issue) that arises from insomnia [4]. This is because the well being of the sufferer is disturbed which causes a great emotional impact on...

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