So what happens if we find ourselves struggling with insomnia?
Dr Ron spoke with Dr Anup Desai, to help shed light on the possible health consequences of insomnia and her top tips to support better sleep and reduce insomnia.
Dr Anup Desai shares his insights below...
Chronic insomnia is of clinical impotence. It is defined as difficulty falling asleep or difficulty maintaining sleep. You are considered to be struggling to fall asleep if it takes you longer than fifteen minutes to half an hour to fall asleep.
Difficulty maintaining sleep is when you struggle to maintain sleep, meaning you wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to go back to sleep.
Early morning waking can also be a form of insomnia. You might go to bed at ten o'clock and sleep well, but wake up at four in the morning and not be able to go back to sleep.
In order for chronic insomnia to be diagnosed, it must occur several times per week, over a period of one to three months.
Chronic insomnia is more common in the elderly. Dr Desai estimates insomnia affects ten to twenty percent of people globally.
Many people restrict their sleep during the week and try to catch up by sleeping in over the weekend. Research studies have shown when people restrict their sleep to just five hours per night for a week their performance deteriorates.
Even if you sleep for a few extra hours on Saturday and Sunday, it is not sufficient to make up for the seven to ten hours you lost during the week. This means your performance will not bounce back to baseline levels by the time you reach Monday.
The habit of catching up on sleep on weekends may actually cause more harm than good.
It shifts your sleep rhythm to later in the day. You create a delayed sleep phase because you go to bed later and wake up later the next day. This makes it even harder to wake up early on Monday when you need to get to work.
Recent research is pointing to untreated sleep disorders as a possible cause for dementia. It is early days and a lot more research needs to be done, but it holds a lot of promise.