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The Link Between Insomnia and Your Overall Health

September 11, 2018
Tired of being tired? Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the United States. Chronic insomnia can affect both your physical and mental health. However, healthy habits before bed can improve your rest. This infographic looks at the effects of chronic insomnia and suggests 7 tips to getting a good night's sleep.

Infographic Script


Everyone has trouble falling asleep occasionally. But if you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep easily on most nights, you might have chronic insomnia. The National Sleep Foundation defines chronic insomnia as difficulty falling asleep at least three nights per week, for at least three months in a row.

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the United States, affecting about 40 million adults each year. Insomnia can lead to health problems, but there’s hope for getting your sleep back on track.

Chronic Insomnia and Mental Performance

Harvard Medical School reports that numerous studies have linked chronic insomnia to:

  • Impaired decision-making skills
  • Mood difficulties
  • Reduced ability to learn and recall information
  • Increased risk of serious accidents and injury

Drowsy driving causes more than 20 percent of all motor vehicle crashes.

Nearly 40 percent of people reported falling asleep unintentionally during the day, at least once in the preceding month.

Almost 5 percent reported nodding off while driving at least once in the preceding month.

Physical Effects of Chronic Insomnia

Hundreds of studies have found that not getting enough sleep can contribute to serious health issues, including:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Life expectancy

7 Tips for Putting Chronic Insomnia to Bed

  1. Stick to a schedule. Following a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends, helps regulate the body’s clock.
  2. Time your exercise, to help you sleep. Daily exercise helps nighttime sleep, but should be finish at least three hours before bedtime.
  3. Eat and drink wisely. Stay well-hydrated, but don’t drink so much that you’ll have to wake up for a bathroom trip. And remember that heavy, greasy or spicy meals close to bedtime can interfere with sleep.
  4. Relax before bed. Taking a bath or reading helps some prepare for sleep.
  5. Put down your phone. Cut back on screen time in the hour before you turn the lights out to avoid overstimulation.
  6. Refine your room. Keep your bedroom cool and quiet, and make sure you are able to darken it completely.
  7. Talk to your doctor. If insomnia persists, let your physician know. Ruling out underlying sleep interfering physical conditions like sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a first step to helping you get a good night’s sleep.