Dr Daniel Greer on Prevalence, Impact of Chronic Insomnia

Daniel Greer, PharmD, BCPP, clinical assistant professor, Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, discusses the incidence and long-term implications of chronic insomnia.

Affecting 40% of adults, symptoms of insomnia can also have extensive long-term impacts on younger populations in regards to academic performance and lifetime earnings, said Daniel Greer, PharmD, BCPP, clinical assistant professor, Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy.


Transcript

Can you discuss the prevalence and impact of chronic insomnia?

The prevalence of chronic insomnia is hard to pinpoint, because so many people have symptoms of insomnia and so many people self-treat, whether it be with OTC products, meditation, yoga, apps, or other relaxation techniques.

So, when you look at the data on how many people have symptoms of insomnia, the numbers are really high–like 40% of adults report that they have symptoms of insomnia. But when you look at the formal diagnosis of insomnia, these numbers are much lower. So, between 10% to 20% of adults end up with a formal diagnosis of insomnia.

The impact of insomnia is huge as well. So, if you have insomnia when you're young, that's connected to lower test scores. One trial that I was looking at showed that there's a 25% variance in test scores that's associated with how much that student's sleeping.

This has long term implications as well, because another study I was looking at from the University of Miami showed that for every one point change in your high school GPA, that's associated with earnings of 12% to 14% in your career. So, if you have insomnia when you're young, you have a higher likelihood to do worse in school, and then that may lead to less career opportunities as you grow up.