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Prevalence of Insomnia in Australia

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder with a long-term effect on the health of the afflicted. Surveys indicate than 13% to 33% of the adult population in Australia has insomnia and can be classified as a primary disorder or a comorbid of a mental or physical disorder. Fifty percent of people with depression have insomnia as comorbid. In relation, people with insomnia are doubly at risk for developing depression. Insomnia is also associated with hypertension.



According to the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), insomnia is difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep, experiencing non-restorative sleep in spite of the opportunity to sleep well. These symptoms are present for at least 4 weeks and that the lack of sleep impairs one’s daytime activities and functioning

Acute Insomnia and Chronic Insomnia

Acute insomnia meets the definition set by the DSM-5 but with symptoms manifesting for less than 4 weeks. This type of insomnia is triggered by unexpected occurrences such as sickness, medication, and change in circumstances or stress. When the unexpected event passes, the person’s sleep pattern returns to normal. Treatment for acute insomnia calls for the avoidance or withdrawal of the

Chronic insomnia is the natural consequence of repeated episodes of acute insomnia or occurring comorbidities. A person who lacks sleep for more than 4 weeks thinks and behaves differently. The course of treatment is more on preventing relapse and achieving remission as the sleep disturbance is persistent and constant. A person with chronic insomnia is taught how to manage their symptoms over time.

Assessment and Diagnosis

Assessment and diagnosis of insomnia rely on the person’s sleep history which includes his sleep pattern based on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis. The diagnostician asks questions such as the time it takes to fall asleep, frequency of awakenings, time he gets out of bed, trigger events and circumstances. The diagnostician will also establish is depression, anxiety or stress are exhibited by the patient. Lifestyle factors such as food, drink, nicotine, drugs, weight and exercise also considered.

A person with acute or chronic insomnia may exhibit poor memory, irritability, mood swings, and lack of energy and general feeling of dissatisfaction. Comorbidities of insomnia are chronic medical conditions, anxiety, and other sleep disorders. Any comorbid condition of insomnia affects the sleep disorder itself and vice-versa. Insomnia may also result to absenteeism and accidents.

Treatment of Insomnia

There are two types of treatment for insomnia: non-pharmacological and pharmacological. Under non-pharmacological treatment are Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness technique and bright light exposure.

CBT is comprised of five main components of stimulus control, sleep consolidation, relaxation techniques, cognitive therapy and sleep hygiene education.

Mindfulness technique focuses on promoting sleep by reducing physiological and cognitive stimuli. Generally, CBT and mindfulness are combined for greater efficacy.

Bright light technique synchronizes the person’s circadian rhythm to put it in the right perspective.

Pharmacological treatment of insomnia includes medications such as melatonin and its variants, benzodiazepine-receptor agonist, antihistamines, antipsychotics and antidepressants.

Do you have insomnia? Are you constantly sleepy and tired when you wake up in the morning?

See a qualified doctor for diagnosis. It is possible that you have a sleep disorder that is causing you restless nights and daytime sleepiness.

Call us at  1300 750 006  

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Saturdays 9am - 1pm (Bundoora, Wantirna & Port Melbourne)



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