Insomnia Doesn’t Shorten Longevity

Written by Jim Folk
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated March 27, 2021

Insomnia Doesn’t Shorten Longevity

Not sleeping well? Sleep regularly disrupted? Insomnia?

Don’t worry. Contrary to popular opinion, insomnia doesn’t shorten lifespan, new research finds.

Furthermore, the research found that cognitive therapy, within a CBTi framework (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia), is an effective treatment for insomnia. That’s because many problems with sleep are caused by chronic stress and worry.

Therefore, addressing those factors can restore good sleep. We explain this in more detail in Chapter 21 (our Sleep chapter) in the Recovery Support area of our website. This finding confirms earlier research about the effectiveness of CBTi for sleep problems.

Unfortunately, the use of hypnotics (sleep medications) didn’t fare as well. This meta-analysis also found that hypnotics increased the risk of early death. The good news is that there is effective treatment for insomnia using natural, nonmedication means (CBTi), which can eliminate the increased risk of mortality due to the use of hypnotics.

You can read the abstract of this research below:

Insomnia and mortality: a meta-analysis

The purpose of the research was to evaluate the strength of evidence for a relationship between risk of mortality and frequent and ongoing insomnia using a meta-analytic strategy.

Seventeen studies, including a total of 36,938,981 individuals followed up for a mean of 11.6 years, reporting the investigation of the association between mortality and frequent (≥3 nights/week), ongoing (≥1 month) insomnia were identified.

There was no difference in the odds of mortality for those individuals with symptoms of insomnia when compared to those without symptoms (OR= 1.06, 95%CI=0.61-1.84, p=.84). This finding was echoed in the assessment of the rate of mortality in those with and without symptoms of insomnia using the outcomes of multivariate models, with the most complete adjustment for potential confounders, as reported by the individual studies included in this meta-analysis (HR= 1.07, 95%CI=.96-.1.19, p=.22). Additional analyses revealed a tendency for an increased risk of mortality associated with hypnotic use.

The current evidence reinforces the use of cognitive therapy, within a CBTi framework, as a frontline non-pharmacological treatment for insomnia to reassure patients their longevity will not be impacted as a consequence of suffering from insomnia.


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The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

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References

Lovato, Nicole, et al. Insomnia and mortality: a meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews. November 11, 2018. https://www.smrv-journal.com/article/S1087-0792(18)30074-1/fulltext