Sleep disorders in Germany: four million people affected
According to TK projections, around five percent of Germans suffered from sleep disorders in 2010. Around 400,000 TK insured were affected, which is a significant increase compared to the previous year. In 2009 around 250,000, and in 2008 only 210,000, TK insured suffered from sleep problems, the health insurance company reported. With the increase in sleep disorders, the use of sleeping pills has also increased significantly, according to another result of the TK investigation.
Trend towards more sleep disorders and self-medication with sleeping pills As part of its investigation, TK confirmed a trend that had already become apparent in recent years: more and more Germans are suffering from sleep disorders. The growth in the past year has reached a worrying level. The fact that around five percent of Germans now suffer from sleep disorders is viewed with increasing concern by both health insurance companies and medical professionals, because serious health problems are at risk. Chronic lack of sleep and fatigue, for example, lead to a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, depression and anxiety disorders, DAK experts warned last September when the renewed massive increase in sleep disorders was already becoming apparent. The DAK also emphasized that over-the-counter sleeping pills are taken too often in self-therapy and the doctor's visit avoided. This tendency now seems to be confirmed in the current study by the TK, because there was also a significant increase in the use of sleeping pills. In 2010, more than 1.4 million people in Germany used sleeping pills to manage their sleep disorders, with half of the users older than 60 years, said the TK.
Warning of regular use of sleeping pills In view of the drastic increase in the use of sleeping pills, TK warned of the possible negative consequences of regular sleeping pills. TK warned, for example, that there is a risk that the active ingredient will not be completely broken down during the night and that the medication will also work during the day, which means tiredness and a reduction in reactivity. The experts advise that sleep disorders lasting more than a month, occurring at least three times a week and / or having a disruptive effect on the profession, be urgently medically examined. Self-medication with sleeping pills is not advisable, however, because regular intake can have considerable side effects. "It is frightening that almost 60 percent of those affected take medication without the supervision of a doctor," explained Wolfgang Wirkner from the DAK referring to the DAK health report last year.
Stress and lack of exercise Causes of sleep disorders TK cites occupational and private stress, lack of exercise and extreme alcohol, nicotine and caffeine consumption as essential factors for the significant increase in sleep disorders. However, according to the experts, illness, pain or permanent noise can also be the cause of sleep disorders. People who have to work at night (such as shift workers or nurses) are particularly affected. As a rule, seven to nine hours of sleep per night are ideal for adults, although the individual's need for sleep can deviate significantly from these guidelines. Sleep researchers have long been pointing out that adhering to fixed sleep and wake-up times can help prevent sleep disorders, since the biorhythm adjusts to the fixed resting phases. Relaxation exercises such as autogenes before bed are also recommended to prevent sleep disorders. In naturopathy, considerable success has also been achieved with the use of valerian to regulate the rhythm of sleep. However, the experts warn that too much sleep can also have negative effects on the organism and that a significantly increased need for sleep may be a sign of another disease. (fp)
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