A study reported in The American Journal of Medicine has shown an association between persistent insomnia and risk of all-cause, and cardiopulmonary mortality.
It has been reported that insomnia affects up to 20% of adults, with persistent insomnia affecting approximately 10% of the population. A recent study has assessed the association between insomnia and mortality risk in a study group of 1409 participants derived from the Tucson Epidemiological Study of Airway Obstructive Disease (TESAOD), Tucson, Arizona, US. The definition of insomnia used in this study was ‘the presence of any of the following symptoms – persistent symptoms of trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early in the morning – accompanied by at least one symptom of impaired daytime function (concern about not getting enough sleep or daytime sleepiness).’ The study group consisted of participants with both intermittent (18%) and persistent (9%) insomnia.
The study found that the rate of both persistent and intermittent insomnia was higher among females than males. There were no differences noted in age and physical activity between those who suffered with insomnia and those who did not.
The study also reported that, when compared with participants who did not suffer from insomnia, participants with persistent insomnia had a greater risk of all-cause mortality, which was not seen in participants who suffered with intermittent insomnia. The results did not change when the researchers took into consideration participants’ BMI, smoking status, or physical activity.
When the researchers analyzed the results for cause-specific mortality, persistent insomnia was associated with heart disease and cardiopulmonary mortality, while there were no associations found between insomnia and cancer mortality.
Parthasarathy, S, Vasquez, MM, Halonen, M, Bootzin, R, Quan, SF, Martinez, FD, Guerra, S. “Persistent Insomnia is Associated with Mortality Risk” The American Journal of Medicine Volume 128, Issue 3, March 2015, Pages 268–275.e2
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Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD