1.8 Million Chronic Insomniacs in Spain

IMAGE - Cottonbro Studios / Unsplash

YOU may have been struggling to sleep over the past weeks with the intense heat that lasts well into the night, but many people in Spain suffer from chronic insomnia. Recent studies show that 1.8 million Spaniards (6.1 per cent) suffer from it, but when is it considered a chronic issue?

What is Chronic Insomnia?

This common sleep disorder can be labelled chronic insomnia if someone finds it difficult to sleep for at least three nights a week over three months. Around one in two people exhibit symptoms of insomnia, and up to 25 per cent have been diagnosed with clinical insomnia, while 15 per cent suffer from chronic insomnia.

In a new study entitled “The social and economic burden of insomnia in adults“, carried out by the non-profit organisation RAND Europe, 27.4 per cent of the population in Spain suffer from insomnia.

The Steep Cost of Insomnia

As well as a significant impact on health, insomnia has a social and economic impact, generating a loss of around €10 billion per year, which is around 0.8 per cent of the GDP, according to the international study.

Rand Europe collaborated with Idorsia to try and find the true economic cost of this disorder by studying data collected from over 16 countries, including Germany, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the United States, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Insomnia’s hidden costs include work absenteeism and lower levels of productivity, with chronic insomnia being linked to around 11–18 days missed at work per year, and around 44–54 days of lost productivity every year. Rand Europe calculates that this results in a loss of up to €185,000 billion of GDP every year across the 16 countries. Intangible losses have been calculated at up to €113 billion.

Though Spain has the lowest number of the 16 countries in the study, coming in under Germany and Austria, the loss of productivity has a steep cost.

Dr. Carmen Bellido Cambrón, the Occupational Risk Prevention Service coordinator at the Hospital de Castellón says that “There is a two-way relationship between sleep and work… if you do not sleep well at night, you will not be productive during the day, and you will be more prone to work absenteeism, you will have up to 88% more probability of accidents at work, reduced productivity and job satisfaction, you may be a source of conflict with your colleagues and, without being aware of it, you may be damaging your physical and mental health.”

Based on the study, researchers have proposed to the governments in the 16 participating countries to introduce campaigns on the importance of sleep and the early detection of the disorder through regular screening. The urges countries to launch protocols for diagnosis and treatment to address this silent yet widespread issue.

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Written by

Lisa Zeffertt

Lisa is British, born in Hong Kong and has lived in many countries including the UK, Hong Kong, Cyprus, and Thailand, Spain has been her home for the past 10 years. After graduating with a BA in English Literature and Art History, she has worked in different sectors, most recently as a ghostwriter and translator for six years Writing is one of her passions, as well as working in both Spanish (fluent) and English.