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Do you have trouble sleeping?

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Insomnia can occur on its own or with another medical ailment such as pain or a psychiatric disorder like depression (iStock).

If you spend your nights tossing and turning -- and your days fighting off fatigue -- you may be among thousands suffering from untreated insomnia.

A new report highlights just how common it is to be among the sleepless, a population at higher risk of anxiety, depression and heart failure.

About a quarter of adults have sleeping problems and an estimated six to 10 per cent have an insomnia disorder, according to a paper by Laval University's Charles Morin and Ruth Benca from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The researchers identified several common traits displayed by people with insomnia:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • A lack of restorative sleep.
  • Daytime symptoms such as fatigue, trouble concentrating, and mood disturbances.
The authors said more needs to be done to diagnose and treat sleep problems early on.

But some of the most commonly prescribed drugs such as antidepressants and antihistamines have yet to be approved for treating insomnia, and there's little evidence about which drugs work best, they noted.

Cognitive behavioural therapy, however, is increasingly accessible outside clinical settings through telephone consultations, group therapy and on the internet.

"There is an urgent need for more public education about sleep and broader dissemination of evidence-based therapies for insomnia," Morin and Benca concluded in their paper, which appeared in Friday's Lancet.

Have you experienced trouble sleeping or insomnia? Has sleeplessness had a serious impact on your life? Let us know the details in the comments section or email us your story at

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: Health

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