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by Anureet Gill, M.A.

If you or someone you know experiences difficulties initiating, sustaining, or obtaining a sufficient amount of sleep that is satisfying despite opportunities for sleep it is a health condition called insomnia (Edinger et al., 2004). For sleep disturbance to be categorized as insomnia, the sleep disturbance has to occur at least 3 nights per week for at least 3 months (Edinger & Carney, 2008). 


You are not alone if you or someone you know is experiencing insomnia. Approximately 1 in 3 individuals experience a condition called insomnia at least once in their life and 10 to 15 individuals out of 100 suffer from chronic insomnia (Edinger & Carney, 2008). You may be experiencing medical concerns, mental health concerns, and substance use concerns as these are risk factors that lead to the development of insomnia (Edinger & Carney, 2008). Spontaneous emergence of insomnia is uncommon: in fact, only 1-2% of individuals experience spontaneous insomnia (Edinger & Carney, 2008). However, individuals are at risk of experiencing across their lifespan (Edinger & Carney, 2008).  


Experiencing insomnia is likely to result in impairment in functioning (Edinger & Carney, 2008). Individuals with insomnia report an increase in healthcare costs and utilize healthcare more often (Ozminkowski, Wang, & Walsh, 2007). In addition, insomnia can reduce productivity at work and school and approximately 2.5 disability days per month are associated with insomnia (Brassington, King, & Bliwise, 2000; Ozminkowski, Wang, & Walsh, 2007). Experiencing insomnia can put one at risk of developing further mental health concerns, for example, depression, anxiety, and substance use (primarily alcohol use; Livingston, Blizard, & Mann, 1993).


The good news is that insomnia is treatable. Results are seen within 2-3 weeks of commencing treatment and long-term improvement is observed (Edinger & Carney, 2008). Treatment for insomnia is quicker than other mental health concerns and can take as short as 4 sessions (Edinger & Carney, 2008). 


In treatment expect to learn skills and strategies that facilitate good sleep habits and eliminate sleep habits that contribute to insomnia (Edinger & Carney, 2008). Treatment will not only involve didactic learning, but also include the assignment of activities to be done outside of session that provide real-life relief. These activities will build effective habits and decrease the noise in one’s head. All the while, one will be required to keep a sleep log to track progress and see the results on paper.  


After reading this, if you believe you or someone you know is experiencing insomnia, please do not hesitate to reach out to Interaction Dynamics. At Interaction Dynamics, we can work to help you or someone you know increase the quality and quantity of your/ their sleep. 



Brassington, G. S., King, A. C., et al. (2000). Sleep problems as a risk factor for falls in a sample of community-dwelling adults aged 64–99 years. J Am Geriatr Soc. 48: 1234–1240.


Edinger, J. D., Bonnet, M., et al. (2004). Derivation of research diagnostic criteria for insomnia: Report on an American Academy of Sleep Medicine work group. Sleep 27: 1567–1596.


Edinger, J. D., & Carney, C. E. (2014). Overcoming insomnia: A cognitive-behavioral therapy approach, therapist guide. Oxford University Press.

Livingston, G., Blizard, B., et al. (1993). Does sleep disturbance predict depression in elderly people? A study in inner London. British Journal of General Practice 43: 445–448.


Ozminkowski, R., Wang, S., et al. (2007). The direct and indirect costs of untreated insomnia in adults in the United States. Sleep 30(3): 263–273.


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