Home » Sleep » Chronic insomnia’s heavy toll on individuals and society

Robert Moore

General Manager UK, Idorsia Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd 

A good night’s sleep is key to optimal functioning throughout the day. But what are the consequences of persistent trouble sleeping to individuals — and society as a whole? 

Sleep is an essential pillar for good physical and mental health to ensure optimal functioning throughout the day.1 While some of us may occasionally experience disturbed sleep, continued trouble sleeping can have substantial consequences.   

Burden of chronic insomnia  

Chronic insomnia is a persistent medical condition that impacts a person’s ability to fall or stay asleep for at least three nights a week, for at least three months.2,3 However, the condition doesn’t only affect the nights. A key symptom of chronic insomnia is its negative impact on day-to-day functioning.2,3 

In a recent UK survey of 155 adults living with chronic insomnia, over 80% of respondents reported their condition affected their ability to sustain a healthy level of physical activity, feel in a good mood in the daytime and maintain stress levels.4  

The survey also unveiled a clear presence of stigma, with 81% of respondents agreeing they don’t think people around them understand the impact of the condition on their daily life. 

Uncovering the wider consequences 

The impact of chronic insomnia extends beyond the individual; it has a broader societal and economic burden, which has not been widely explored, until recently.5  

On World Sleep Day, 17th March, RAND Europe published first-of-its-kind research which revealed the indirect and hidden costs of chronic insomnia across 16 countries.5 The report, funded by Idorsia Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Switzerland, found that chronic insomnia costs the UK economy up to an estimated £34 billion per year due to productivity loss in the workplace.5  

Marco Hafner, study co-author and RAND Europe research advisor comments: “This new research lays bare the significant personal and economic impacts that the inadequate management of sleep conditions such as chronic insomnia disorder is having in the UK. Our findings point to the need for more timely diagnosis and management of insomnia to improve outcomes for patients and deliver better economic outcomes for the UK.”  

The considerable impact of chronic insomnia on individuals and society is clear. It’s time to think differently about the condition. On March 1st, Idorsia UK launched a website for healthcare professionals offering educational content and resources around chronic insomnia. Visit rethinkinsomnia.co.uk to find out more.  

Job code: UK-DSA-00022
Date of preparation: March 2023

[1] Chattu, V, et al. Healthcare. 2019;7(1):1.
[2] The International Classification of Sleep Disorders (3rd ed.; ICSD-3; American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2014).
[3] The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, (2013).
[4] Data on file, Idorsia UK Ltd.
[5] Hafner M, et al. The Societal and Economic Burden of Insomnia in Adults: An International Study. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2023.

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