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Insomnia: prevalence, consequences and effective treatment

Insomnia is a very common disorder that has significant long-term health consequences. Australian population surveys have shown that 13%–33% of the adult population have regular difficulty either getting to sleep or staying asleep.1,2 Insomnia can occur as a primary disorder or, more commonly, it can be comorbid with other physical or mental disorders. Around 50% of patients with depression have comorbid insomnia, and depression and sleep disturbance are, respectively, the first and third most common psychological reasons for patient encounters in general practice.3 Insomnia doubles the risk of future development of depression, and insomnia symptoms together with shortened sleep are associated with hypertension.4,5

Insomnia is defined in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) as difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep or having non-restorative sleep despite having adequate opportunity for sleep, together with associated impairment of daytime functioning, with symptoms being…