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7 Strange Facts About InsomniaMore than one-quarter of people in the U.S. report occasionally not getting enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, the clinical definition of insomnia, as explained in the psychiatric textbook the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), includes feeling impaired during the daytime or stressed by the condition. The DSM also says that in true insomnia, the symptoms persist for at least a month, and do not occur along with another sleep disorder, mental disorder, medical condition or substance use.
By this definition, about 6 percent of people have insomnia, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Losing sleep has negative effects on health. A 2010 review by University of Rochester researchers found that people who persistently get less sleep are more likely to be in traffic accidents, have higher rates of missed work days, are less satisfied with their jobs and are more likely to get easily irritated.
Here are seven strange facts that help explain why people can't fall asleep.
Insomnia can be hereditarySlide 2 of 15
Insomnia can be hereditarySleep problems could run in families. In a 2007 study published in the journal Sleep, researchers found that out of 953 adults who said they were people good sleepers, had insomnia symptoms or suffered from insomnia, about 35 percent of those with insomnia had a family history of insomnia. According to a 2008 study, teens with parents who have insomnia have an increased risk for using prescribed sleeping pills, and having mental problems.
Researchers looked at nearly 800 teens and found that, compared with teens whose parents had no insomnia problems, those with insomnia parents were more than twice more likely to report insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and pill use.
These teens were also more likely to develop depression, anxiety, and possibly consider suicide.Slide 3 of 15
Pets and bugs can also suffer from insomniaSlide 4 of 15
Pets and bugs can also suffer from insomniaOther animals, such as bugs, can't exactly complain of having insomnia, but some studies suggest animals suffer from sleep disorders just like humans.
In one study, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis bred insomniac flies, which only get a small fraction of the sleep of normal flies, and found they resembled people with insomnia in several ways.
After generations of breeding, researchers produced flies that spent only an hour a day asleep less than 10 percent of the 12 hours of sleep normal flies get.
These insomniac flies lost their balance more often, were slower learners and gained more fat all resembling symptoms that also occur in sleep-deprived humans.Slide 5 of 15
Social jet lag can be a dragSlide 6 of 15
Social jet lag can be a dragIf you're having trouble waking up on Monday morning, you could have "social jet lag," a habit of following a different sleep schedule on weekdays versus the weekend.
A recent study showed that people with different weekday and weekend sleep schedules were three more times likely to be overweight. Previous research has also linked increased weight with sleep deprivation and irregular sleep schedules.
Even an hour difference in the time you get up or go to bed can affect your sleep, said Colleen Carney, a sleep psychologist at Ryerson University in Canada.
We're like toddlers who need a consistent schedule, Carney said.Slide 7 of 15
Sleeping pills are still popular, despite their failure to cure insomniaSlide 8 of 15