The Staggering Costs of Insomnia: A Call for More Research (Huffington Post)

May 16, 2013 by sa4fa@virginia.edu

Insomnia is costing us billions of dollars every year — and not just for those of us who are staying up at night. In the mid-1990s, the treatment of insomnia was estimated at $10.9 billion annually, reduced productivity was $41 billion annually, and, conservatively speaking, fatigue-related car accidents was $1.75 billion annually. These staggering amounts have only increased since that time. A more recent analysis indicates that on an individual basis, the annual per-person costs are more than 10 times greater for adults with insomnia versus good sleepers. While these costs are obviously hard to fully comprehend and appreciate, one thing is clear: Insomnia is expensive — and we all pay in one way or another.

Given the exorbitant expense, it is not clear why more is not being done to address insomnia. The pharmaceutical industry has poured fortunes into developing medications as treatment. And, to be sure, medications can be a useful aid in the short-term. But for most, when the medications stop, the relief stops. Others refuse to take sleep meds, or have other medical reasons for avoiding them.

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