National Sleep Foundation

Chapter 2: Insomnia


Partial or total lack of sleep, disturbed sleep, and/or poor quality sleep can dramatically change an individual’s thinking and behavior and negatively impact his or her physical, mental, and emotional health.

Common daytime consequences of insomnia include: fatigue, lack of energy, daytime sleepiness, impaired concentration and/or memory, social or vocational dysfunction, and disturbances in mood and/or motivation.

Insomnia has several significant direct and indirect effects on one’s health that can increase functional impairment; decrease quality of life; 1, 2  increase psychological and psychiatric problems; reduce cognitive and psychomotor functioning;3 increase absenteeism from work and/or school;4,5 decreased job performance; 6 and increase use of health care services. 7, 8

Insomnia has also been associated with several chronic health problems including heart disease,9 hypertension, endocrine dysfunction,10 and musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis.11 12, 13, 14  In healthy human volunteers, even one night of total sleep deprivation can decrease cognitive functioning,16, 17  impair memory,18, 19   reduce endocrine and metabolic functioning,  and cause cardiovascular dysfunction.21


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  15. Belenky G, Wesenstein NJ, Thorne DR, et al. Patterns of performance degradation and restoration during sleep restriction and subsequent recovery: A sleep dose-response study. J Sleep Res. 2003;12:1-12.
  16. Vgontzas AN, Papanicolaou DA, Bixler EO, et al. Circadian interleukin-6 secretion and quantity and depth of sleep. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999;84:2603-2607.
  17. Heuer H, Kohlisch O, Klein W. The effects of total sleep deprivation on the generation of random sequences of key-presses, numbers and nouns. Q J Exp Psychol A. 2005;58:275-307.
  18. Nilsson JP, Soderstrom M, Karlsson AU, et al. Less effective executive functioning after one night's sleep deprivation. J Sleep Res. 2005;14:1-6.
  19. Copinschi G. Metabolic and endocrine effects of sleep deprivation. Essent Psychopharmacol. 2005;6:341-347
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