Had insomnia for 25 years and over 25 for over 11

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had insomnia for 2–5 years, and over 25% for over 11 years (Figure 4) Nearly 95% of respondents with insomnia reported low energy levels in their daily lives, considerably more than twice the percentage for good sleepers (just over 40%). This has a range of mental and physical health implications, particularly with regard to an individual’s ability to take regular exercise, which in itself is an effective way of reducing stress, anxiety and depression. The impact of insomnia on energy levels indicated by the survey therefore has the potential to create a vicious cycle of deteriorating health: insomnia decreases an individual’s capacity for exercise, negatively affecting their mental wellbeing, in turn worsening their insomnia. The survey data indicated that over 75% of people with insomnia experienced poor concentration, and nearly 70% reported difficulties in ‘getting things done’. In both instances, this is approximately three times more than the percentage for good sleepers. This inability to concentrate and carry out tasks shows how the implications of poor sleep can affect wider society, for instance, in terms of impairing productivity in the workplace. Overall, the data from the survey has demonstrated the extent to which sleep influences people’s everyday lives, both in terms of physical and mental health. Factors adversely affected by insomnia, such as exercise, can create vicious cycles where the impact of insomnia worsens an individual’s capacity to tackle the problem. As such, the data illustrate the complexity of tackling sleep problems. Effective methods of breaking this cycle are detailed in Part III of this report.
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35 34 Oversleeping Although it is nowhere near as commonly reported as insomnia, sleeping too much may also cause problems. Oversleeping has been linked to physical health problems such as diabetes 46 and cardiovascular disease 47 . Oversleeping can occur in some people who suffer from depression, roughly 15–40% of whom oversleep 48 . Hypersomnia and narcolepsy There are also some conditions such as hypersomnia and narcolepsy in which a person suffers from extreme sleepiness during the day. Sufferers of hypersomnia may complain that they do not feel fully awake until several hours after getting up. People who suffer from narcolepsy may suffer from extreme sleepiness, often at inappropriate times in the form of sudden sleep attacks. Cataplexy is also common in people with narcolepsy. This is defined by a sudden loss of muscle tone, which can often leave the sufferer paralysed for a short term. Both hypersomnia and narcolepsy are rare (estimated at 0.3% of the general population for hypersomnia and 0.045% for narcolepsy 49 ); however, they can have severe consequences for a person’s daily life. They could be misconstrued as insomnia due to the extreme tiredness, but they are very different and should be treated as such.
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