Insomnia Major Contributor To Fatal Falls and Motor Vehicle Accidents

Lars Laugsand, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow Department of Public Health Norwegian University of Science in Technology Trondheim, Norway. MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lars Laugsand, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow

Department of Public Health
Norwegian University of Science in Technology
Trondheim, Norway.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Laugsand: Very few prospective studies have assessed the association of insomnia symptoms and risk for injuries.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Laugsand: We found that increasing number of insomnia symptoms was strongly associated with higher risk for both overall unintentional fatal injuries and fatal motor-vehicle injuries in a dose-dependent manner. Those who reported to suffer from all major insomnia symptoms were at considerably higher risk than those who had no symptoms or only a few symptoms. Among the different insomnia symptoms, difficulties falling asleep appeared to have the strongest and most robust association with fatal injuries.

Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results?

Dr. Laugsand: Our results suggested that a large proportion of unintentional fatal injuries and fatal motor vehicle injuries could have been prevented in the absence of insomnia. The proportion of unintentional fatal injuries that could have been prevented in the absence of difficulties falling asleep, difficulties maintaining sleep, and having a feeling of non-restorative sleep were 8%, 9%, and 8%, respectively. Similarly, for fatal motor vehicle injuries, the estimates were 34%, 11%, and 10%.

Medical Research: What is the importance of this report?

Dr. Laugsand: Our results suggest that insomnia is a major contributor to fatal injuries in general as well as fatal motor-vehicle injuries. It is important to emphasize that insomnia is an easily recognizable and potentially manageable condition for many patients. Treatment options include adherence to simple recommendations concerning sleep habits, often referred to as sleep hygiene, and several non-pharmacological and pharmacological therapies, with the potential to produce reliable and durable changes among persons who suffer from chronic insomnia. Thus, increasing public health awareness about insomnia and identifying and treating persons with insomnia may be important in preventing unintentional fatal injuries.

Citation:

Insomnia Symptoms and Risk for Unintentional Fatal Injuries – The HUNT Study,

Lars Erik Laugsand, Linn B. Strand, Lars J. Vatten, Imre Janszky, Johan Håkon Bjørngaard. Insomnia Symptoms and Risk for Unintentional Fatal Injuries—The HUNT Study. SLEEP, 2014; DOI: 10.5665/sleep.4170