Raising Awareness on Insomnia, Asking Patients About Their Sleep: Eric Olson, MD

Fact checked by" Marco Meglio

In honor of Insomnia Awareness Night, the president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine board of directors talked about increasing awareness of the sleep disorder for the clinical and patient community. [WATCH TIME: 6 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 6 minutes

"Insomnia awareness is of huge importance, because there's a large unmet need for patients to be able to share and address their insomnia concerns."

Patients with insomnia have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or regularly waking up earlier than desired even if they allow enough time in bed for sleep. Symptoms of this sleep disorder include daytime fatigue or sleepiness, feeling dissatisfied with sleep, having trouble concentrating, feeling depressed, anxious or irritable; and having low motivation or low energy. Research shows that chronic insomnia can be detrimental to a patient’s physical, mental and emotional health, negatively impacting their overall wellness and daily functioning. Moreover, it can lead to an increase in risk for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, motor vehicle accidents, Alzheimer disease and type 2 diabetes.1

The most known effective treatment for chronic insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), which combines behavioral strategies. CBT-I recommendations are personalized to accommodate for each patient’s individual needs and symptoms. While 6 to 8 sessions are typical, some patients may improve quicker in time.

According to a new online survey, 12% out of 2006 adult patients in the United States reported that they have been diagnosed with chronic insomnia between May 16 and May 24, 2024. Commissioned by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the margin of error for the overall sample was ±2% points with a confidence level of 95%.1

In honor of Insomnia Awareness Night, held June 20 by the AASM and the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, Eric Olson, MD, the division chair for pulmonary and critical care medicine at Mayo Clinic, sat down with NeurologyLive® in an interview to discuss the main reasons for the underreporting of insomnia among patients and clinicians. Olson, who also serves as the president for the AASM board of directors, spoke about how behavioral and pharmacological treatments for insomnia differ, and when are each typically recommended. Furthermore, he talked about the steps that are being taken by the AASM to increase awareness and improve insomnia treatment resources.

1. Survey shows 12% of Americans have been diagnosed with chronic insomnia. News Release. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Published June 17, 2024. Accessed June 22, 2024. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2024/06/17/2899727/0/en/Survey-shows-12-of-Americans-have-been-diagnosed-with-chronic-insomnia.html
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