- Home |
- Study Hall |
- Faculty Lounge |
- Sleep Report Card |
- Debunking Sleep Myths |
- Sleeping Smart Myths and Facts
Helene A. Emsellem, MD, medical director, The Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders, Chevy Chase, Maryland and National Sleep Foundation volunteer
Insomnia and Speaking to Your Healthcare Provider About Your Sleep Problems
"Hello, I'm Doctor Helene Emsellem, and the Director of the Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders. I'm a member of the Sleeping Smart faculty, and I just want to thank you for taking the time today to learn about sleeping smart."
1. What is Insomnia?
"Insomnia is a problem that affects our ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and in some people, they may fall asleep fine, sleep through the first portion of the night and not be able to sleep the final few hours of the night, waking up tired. Although each of us has often experienced an occasional problem with insomnia when we are in a stressful situation, when we're talking about insomnia today, we're discussing chronic problems that may be present for a week, six weeks, several months or sometimes years. Ten to 15 percent of the population has chronic problems with insomnia, that's 30 million people. There are a lot of people out there and if you have a problem with insomnia, you shouldn't feel uncomfortable discussing it and talking about it, and trying to find a solution."
2. How do you know if you have insomnia?
"You may be wondering, how do you know if you really have insomnia, is this a real problem that requires attention? If you feel that you're getting an insufficient amount of sleep and it's happening on a regular basis, then we consider that to be insomnia. If you're having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep - some individuals may fall asleep fine but wake up between two and five in the morning and not be able to sleep the final portion of the night. Any of these patterns may be considered insomnia. If it happens to you once or twice a month, then that may be part of the complexities of our lives. But if this is a problem that you're dealing with night after night, and if you're getting up tired in the morning, then this warrants your attention."
3. How does a lack of restful sleep negatively impact an individual?
"Insomnia can also be a chronic problem where week after week one has difficulty getting enough sleep, and this can have a major negative impact on how we function during the day; and how our mood is, how well we can think and how clearly we think at work, how efficiently we do our job."
"The National Sleep Foundation's 2008 Sleep In America poll, polled individuals about sleepiness and 25 percent of the people said that insufficient sleep and sleepiness interfered with activities of daily living."
4. When should a sleep-sufferer speak to their Healthcare Provider?
"If you're having a problem with your sleep and it's happening more than once or twice a month, a couple of times a week, or it's been going on for more than a week, it really may be time to call and make an appointment to see your healthcare provider to discuss the problem and try to work on it before it gets worse."
5. What should a sleep-sufferer tell their Healthcare Provider?
"Insomnia is a treatable problem that we can manage. When patients come to see me about their insomnia, first thing I need to know is, what's the pattern of sleep disruption that you're having. Once we look at the pattern, we can look at what behavioral interventions we can put in place to make a difference."
"Thank you for taking the time to learn about Sleeping Smart today."
Copyright Notice: All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of the National Sleep Foundation. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. Links to Web sites other than those owned by the National Sleep Foundation are offered as a service to readers and the foundation is not responsible for their content. Click here to request permission.
Advertisement Notice: The National Sleep Foundation neither control nor endorse the advertisements, items or Websites featured in the advertisers links on our Web pages.