Health Impacts of Insomnia and Preventive Strategies

Ben Y. F. FONG and Alex H. Y. LAU

2018, Issue 6, Working Paper Series No. 9

Abstract: Sleep is a naturally recurring state that is significant and crucial factor for physical development and mental health. However, it is often neglected by many people, especially in developed countries. Many people, adults and children, are affected by sleeping disorder and the problem of sleeplessness has become a common complaint. The attributing factors of sleeplessness include environment, drugs, beverages and alcohol, smoking, stress, anxiety, biorhythm, chronic diseases and lifestyle behaviours. Insomnia affects both physical or mental health. Weight gain, depression, mood disorder, chronic diseases, injuries and even death are the consequences. Leaving treatment by cognitive behavioural therapy and medications aside, prevention is the preferred action. Stress management, attention and improvement to the environment, avoidance of alcohol, smoking and certain food and beverages like caffeine containing drinks, management of chronic conditions, and the appropriate and sensible use of electronic screen devices are key preventive measures, that helps to promote quality sleep and thus avoiding insomnia.

Keywords: Insomnia, Sleep Duration, Sleep Deprivation, Sleep Disorder, Sleep Hygiene, Chronic Conditions, Stress, Primary Prevention

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