Over one-third of people in the UK could suffer from acute
insomnia every year.


This is according to sleep experts at Northumbria University who
have been looking into the prevalence of the condition, which is
defined as sleep difficulties lasting three months or less.


Dr Jason Ellis, director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep
Research, analysed the bedtime routines of a sample group from both
the UK and US consisting of people who traditionally have normal bed rest and others with acute
insomnia.


From this, it was determined that between 31.2 per cent and 36.6
per cent of the UK sample were in a position to develop acute
insomnia within one year, while 21.43 per cent could transition to
chronic insomnia.


From the US sample, it was discovered that almost nine per cent
suffered an episode of acute insomnia during the study
period.


It is hoped the investigation - called 'The natural history of
insomnia: Focus on prevalence and incidence of acute insomnia' -
can be used to develop more effective treatments and provide
insights into how the problem develops.


The research may also make it easier for authorities to determine
when it is time to take action to control the condition before it
develops into chronic insomnia.


It is already known that chronic insomnia leads to an increased
risk of developing major depression and so researchers are keen to
find out more about the transition from acute to chronic.


Dr Ellis said: "This study provides the first prevalence and
incidence data for acute insomnia. The results demonstrate that
acute insomnia is highly prevalent and is a first step towards a
systematic investigation of its natural history.


"The information our research has provided gives us a first
indication of the scale and scope of the problem."


He added the next stage of the process is exploring the factors
that cause people to transition from acute to chronic insomnia. The
research is being published online in the Journal of Psychiatric
Research and was part-funded by the Economic and Social Research
Council.


Posted by Elizabeth MewesADNFCR-1744-ID-801439639-ADNFCR