Insomnia Facts and Statistics: What You Need to Know

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. It involves difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. These sleep disturbances negatively affect the amount and quality of sleep you need to function properly the next day.

Roughly one-third of adults experience occasional insomnia at some point in their lifetime. It's estimated that 1 in 10 people will develop chronic (or long-lasting) insomnia.

This article highlights important facts and statistics you should know about insomnia. 

A woman sits at the foot of her bed, awake, as her partner sleeps in the background.

Adene Sanchez / Getty Images

Insomnia Overview

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. It interferes with normal daytime functioning.

The two main categories of insomnia are:

  • Acute (or short-term) insomnia typically lasts for a few days, weeks, or months. It's caused by stress, injury, jet lag, life events, and schedule changes. Occasional short-term insomnia affects as many as 30% to 50% of adults at some point in their lives.
  • Chronic (or long-term) insomnia lasts at least three days per week for three months or longer. An estimated 10% of the adult population experiences chronic insomnia disorder.

In general, insomnia is considered primary if your sleeplessness isn't linked to a known cause. Secondary insomnia results from a medication side effect, a medical condition, or a substance such as caffeine that is interfering with your sleep.

Experiencing occasional sleeplessness is common and doesn't necessarily mean you have clinical insomnia. Sleep troubles are classified as insomnia when they happen at least three times per week, persist for at least three months, and negatively affect daily functioning.


Insomnia ICD 10 Code

Healthcare professionals use the International Classification of Diseases (ICD 10 code) to categorize medical conditions on patient records and insurance bills. Each medical diagnosis has a different code, which is noted on patient paperwork to ensure that you’re receiving the proper care for your condition and being charged correctly for medical services.

For insomnia, the ICD 10 code will vary a bit based on the exact type of insomnia you’re diagnosed with. For example, primary insomnia is coded as F51.01, while insomnia due to a medical condition is under code G47.01. Whether your insomnia is caused by alcohol use, inadequate sleep hygiene, or another factor will dictate the ICD 10 code your healthcare provider uses.

How Common Is Insomnia?

Insomnia affects millions of Americans. It's estimated that roughly:

  • One in 3 adults has experienced brief insomnia symptoms, which resolve after a short period.
  • One in 5 adults has a short-term insomnia disorder, which lasts three months or less.
  • One in 10 adults has a chronic insomnia disorder, which happens at least three times per week for three months or more.

Insomnia is commonly found in older adults, women, and people experiencing mental health issues.

Insomnia and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Not surprisingly, collective external stressors like the COVID-19 pandemic can affect sleep. In one global study, almost 37% of participants reported having insomnia symptoms, while more than 17% likely met the criteria for a clinical insomnia diagnosis. These rates were much higher in women and people in certain countries, including the United States.

Insomnia by Ethnicity

While sleep disorders like insomnia affect people of all ethnic backgrounds, studies have found that sleep disturbances take a disproportionate toll on people of color. This is likely due to systemic socioeconomic factors contributing to health inequities historically experienced by marginalized communities.

More research is needed to better understand the impact sleep disorders have on people of color.

Available research suggests that Black and Latinx individuals are more likely to report sleeping issues than White individuals. These insomnia-related symptoms include sleeping for shorter periods and getting lower-quality sleep, among other sleep disturbances.

Insomnia by Age and Gender

Anyone can get insomnia, though this sleep disorder seems more common in women, older adults, and specific subsets of younger age groups. According to research:

  • As many as 3 out of 4 adults 65 and older have insomnia symptoms. This is either due to factors like aging-related changes in the body's internal biological clock (circadian rhythm) or having another medical condition.
  • At least 1 in 4 women report having insomnia symptoms, compared to 1 in 5 men. Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause may be common culprits.
  • Roughly 1 in 5 children have insomnia symptoms, with preteen girls reporting the highest prevalence. Shifting hormonal patterns during the preadolescence and puberty stages probably play a role.

The Cost of Insomnia

Because insomnia affects daytime functioning, it takes a toll on workplace productivity and performance. Researchers estimate the overall burden of insomnia on the U.S. workforce costs roughly $63 billion.

Causes of Insomnia and Risk Factors

There are a variety of factors that make it more likely for a person to develop insomnia, including:

  • Older age
  • Female sex
  • Medical, psychiatric, or sleep disorders
  • Environment or occupation (like shift work)
  • Family history
  • Stress
  • Lifestyle habits (like naps, caffeine, or bedtime TV use)
  • Socioeconomic status

The cause of insomnia can also be unknown in some cases.

Summary

Insomnia—defined as trouble getting to sleep and/or staying asleep—occasionally affects at least one-third of the population. Roughly 1 in 10 adults will experience chronic insomnia, meaning the sleep disturbances are long-term. Insomnia is more common in older adults, women, and people experiencing mental health issues. Other contributing factors for insomnia include stress, shift work, medication or substance use, and certain medical or mental health conditions.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Cristina Mutchler
Cristina Mutchler is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of experience in national media, specializing in health and wellness content.