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14 May 2008 PR 08/61

Availability of drug-free treatment could help Britain’s two million insomnia sufferers perform better at work and at home

A unique study of insomnia by Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre has found that chronic insomnia has a negative impact on both social and occupational performance.

Conducted by Professor Kevin Morgan and Beverley David, the study compared, over a nine-month period, people with insomnia and good sleepers on a range of social, occupational and psychological measures.

The study found that, when compared to good sleepers, people with insomnia have consistently higher levels of daytime anxiety and fatigue, a more negative mood, and an average 10% reduction in occupational performance.

Despite poor sleep and morning tiredness, people with insomnia were as able as good sleepers to get up for work and arrive on time. However, once at work, their ability to perform efficiently, and their overall job satisfaction was consistently impaired.

Speaking about the study, Professor Morgan said: “Overall, these results show that for many people, insomnia is neither a transient nor a trivial experience. Rather, insomnia is a major public health issue with serious personal and occupational consequences.

“With over 5% of the UK adult population suffering with insomnia the results show that effective treatment programmes for chronically disturbed sleep could help more than two million Britons perform better both at work and at home. Britain lags behind the rest of the world in developing a health strategy for insomnia, with sleeping tablets – which frequently become a problem – still the only solution offered to many.”

Professor Morgan believes that the effective treatment of insomnia must include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a psychological treatment that involves educating sufferers on how to change their behaviour and control their thoughts in order to promote better sleeping patterns. However CBT for the treatment of insomnia remains unavailable for most NHS patients.

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  1. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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