The Different Faces of Insomnia
Ingo Fietze, Naima Laharnar, Volker Koellner, Thomas Penzel
Frontiers in Psychiatry
Objectives: The identification of clinically relevant subtypes of insomnia is important. Including a comprehensive literature review, this study also introduces new phenotypical relevant parameters by describing a specific insomnia cohort.Methods: Patients visiting the sleep center and indicating self-reported signs of insomnia were examined by a sleep specialist who confirmed an insomnia diagnosis. A 14-item insomnia questionnaire on symptoms, progression, sleep history and treatment, was part
... of the clinical routine.Results: A cohort of 456 insomnia patients was described (56% women, mean age 52 ± 16 years). They had suffered from symptoms for about 12 ± 11 years before seeing a sleep specialist. About 40–50% mentioned a trigger (most frequently psychological triggers), a history of being bad sleepers to begin with, a family history of sleep problems, and a negative progression of insomnia. Over one third were not able to fall asleep during the day. SMI (sleep maintenance insomnia) symptoms were most frequent, but only prevalence of EMA (early morning awakening) symptoms significantly increased from 40 to 45% over time. Alternative non-medical treatments were effective in fewer than 10% of cases.Conclusion: Our specific cohort displayed a long history of suffering and the sleep specialist is usually not the first point of contact. We aimed to describe specific characteristics of insomnia with a simple questionnaire, containing questions (e.g., ability to fall asleep during the day, effects of non-medical therapy methods, symptom stability) not yet commonly asked and of unknown clinical relevance as yet. We suggest adding them to anamnesis to help differentiate the severity of insomnia and initiate further research, leading to a better understanding of the severity of insomnia and individualized therapy. This study is part of a specific Research Topic introduced by Frontiers on the heterogeneity of insomnia and its comorbidity and will hopefully inspire more research in this area.