A new study out of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson, led by Dr. Sairam Parthasarathy and published in The American Journal of Medicine, indicates that persistent insomnia can result in higher inflammation and mortality rates.
The subjects studied who had suffered persistent insomnia for eight or more years had a 58% higher risk for mortality than those who suffer intermittent insomnia, even after factors like age, sex, smoking, physical activity, and hypnotics were accounted for. They also excluded sedative use or lack of opportunity for sleep (which is sleep deprivation rather than insomnia) as factors.
This data comes from a longitudinal study that commenced in 1972 and lasted for 38 years. The group conducted follow-up surveys and collected blood and serum samples from the 1,409 participants and tracked mortality data. The study found that the higher mortality was most often the result of cardiovascular issues, and that those who suffered from persistent insomnia (about 10% of adults in the United States) have a higher level of C-reactive protein (CRP) in their serum, which is in and of itself a risk factor for mortality. But even after the increased CRP level was taken out as a factor, those who suffered persistent insomnia still had a 36% higher risk for mortality.
This study indicates that chronic insomnia can be quite detrimental to overall health and can significantly shorten lifespan. If you have persistent problems falling asleep or staying asleep, seek treatment. It could save your life.