have been shown to be abnormally active during sleep in individuals with primary insomnia and secondary insomnias related to depression (Nofzinger et al., 2004a, 2005). Abnormal activity in neocortical structures that control executive function and are responsible for modulating behavior related to basic arousal and emotions has been observed in individuals with insomnias associated with depression (Nofzinger et al., 2004a, 2005).

The two main risk factors of insomnia are older age and female gender (Edinger and Means, 2005). One large, population-based study found that insomnia was nearly twice as common in women than men, although reporting bias cannot be ruled out as a contributing factor (Ford and Kamerow, 1989). The reason behind the apparent higher prevalence in women is not understood. Other risk factors for insomnia include family history of insomnia (Dauvilliers et al., 2005), stressful life styles, medical and psychiatric disorders, and shift work (Edinger and Means, 2005). Although adolescent age is not viewed a risk factor, insomnia has rarely been studied in this age group.


Insomnia is treatable with a variety of behavioral and pharmacological therapies, which may be used alone or in combination. While the therapies currently available to treat insomnia may provide benefit, the 2005 NIH State of the Science Conference on the Manifestations and Management of Chronic Insomnia concluded that more research and randomized clinical trials are needed to further verify their efficacy, particularly for long-term illness management and prevention of complications like depression (NIH, 2005). Behavioral therapies appear as effective as pharmacological therapies (Smith et al., 2002), and they may have more enduring effects after cessation (McClusky et al., 1991; Hauri, 1997). Behavioral therapies, according to a task force review of 48 clinical trials, benefit about 70 to 80 percent of patients for at least 6 months after completion of treatment (Morin et al., 1999; Morin, 2005). The therapies are of several main types (Table 3-2). The major problem with current behavioral therapies is not their efficacy; rather it is lack of clinician awareness of their efficacy and lack of providers sufficiently trained and skilled in their use. Other problems are their cost and patient adherence (Benca, 2005a). A specific strategy to improve an individual’s sleep quality is by promoting proper sleep hygiene (Kleitman, 1987; Harvey, 2000).

The most efficacious pharmacological therapies for insomnia are hypnotic agents of two general types, benzodiazepine or nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics (Nowell et al., 1997). Nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics are advantageous because they generally have shorter half-lives, thus producing fewer impairments the next day, but the trade-off is that they may not be as effective at

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