Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study Finds Chronic Insomnia have a Threefold Increased Risk of Death

If you experience chronic insomnia, researchers with the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study have found that individuals with this sleep disorder have a threefold greater mortality risk than people without insomnia.

The results of the study will be presented on June 7, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas at the 24th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

According to the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health, about 30 to 40 percent of adults report symptoms of insomnia within a given year. From 10 to 15 percent of adults say they have chronic insomnia. Chronic insomnia is defined as an inability to fall asleep and/or remain asleep at least three nights a week for one month or longer

A new study has disclosed that people suffering from chronic insomnia have an increased risk of death.

Laurel Finn, a biostatistician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, stated, "The most surprising result was the increased high risk for mortality among individuals with chronic insomnia versus those without insomnia."

"The other important finding was the non-differentiation between subtypes of insomnia with respect to mortality risk," Finn added.

Dying for a good night's sleep? That may be truer than you think. New research suggests chronic insomnia may increase the risk of an earlier death by threefold.

Researchers who followed more than 2,000 residents of Wisconsin for up to 19 years found the risk of death was three times higher among those who reported symptoms of chronic insomnia versus those without insomnia.

The study involved 2,242 Wisconsin State employees — median age 45 — who completed three mailed surveys, in 1989, 1994 and 2000. About half of the subjects were also seen in a sleep lab. All were asked to report how often they experienced difficulty falling asleep, problems getting back to sleep, awakening repeatedly, or waking too early.

Insomnia isn't just an annoyance, it seems. People who were chronically unable to get a good night's sleep were three times more likely to die of all causes than well-rested folks, a long-term study shows.
And while the research is still teasing out what the insomniacs died from, the findings so far suggest that the sleep-deprived and doctors shouldn't ignore the problem, researchers said.

“Insomnia is often considered as a nuisance,” said Laurel Finn, a biostatistician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lead author of the study. “People don't really take it as a serious medical condition. They won't go seek treatment. They won't talk to their doctor. And doctor's offices often won't thoroughly examine what are the root causes.”