Insomnia Extends Beyond the Bedroom: Survey Finds That Trouble Sleeping Can Lead to Rocky Relationships

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 3:30 AM HST

New Data from Annual Wake Up America Survey Announced to Enhance Understanding of the Far-Reaching Implications of Insomnia and the Urgent Need to Change the Conversation about how to Deal with It

  • Conducted under the leadership of The Alliance for Sleep, results emphasize the need for better dialogue and education surrounding insomnia
  • 53% of people with trouble sleeping report that their insomnia is an added relationship stressor

RADNOR, Pa., Nov. 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alliance for Sleep today announced thought-provoking new data from its annual Wake Up America survey. The new data focuses on people with trouble sleeping (PWTS) and their partners, shining a light on sleeplessness at home and beyond. Conducted online by The Harris Poll, this U.S. survey was created on behalf of and under the leadership of The Alliance for Sleep, an organization comprised of some of the nation's leading sleep medicine experts, and supported by Idorsia Pharmaceuticals U.S. In addition to highlighting the impact of insomnia on PWTS and their partners, the survey also delves into the dialogue with primary care physicians (PCPs) and sleep experts to explore the complexities of seeking treatment. The results reinforce the need of continued education around the toll of insomnia, improved dialogue at home and in the doctor's office, and accurate, accessible sleep resources for PWTS.

Idorsia (PRNewsfoto/Idorsia Pharmaceuticals U.S.)
Idorsia (PRNewsfoto/Idorsia Pharmaceuticals U.S.)(PRNewswire)

Impact on the Partner & Relationship
Survey results reveal the pervasive impact of insomnia, extending beyond PWTS to their partners and home life. Nearly one in four PWTS say they are constantly arguing with their partner about their insomnia,a with 41% of PWTS stating they in general argue more with their partner due to their insomnia.1 Additionally, over half of PWTS report that insomnia is an added stressor to their relationship, with 41% reporting it causes their partner to 'pick up the slack' for the household.a Also, 31% of PWTS have stated they've slept in separate bed or room from their significant other.

Information Overload
PWTS often receive information and tips to improve their insomnia from non-medical experts like friends, family and the internet/social media. PWTS have tried a myriad of suggestions ranging from blackout curtains to white noise to meditation. However, none of these options when used alone are American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommended insomnia treatment options, and this overload of suggestions can prevent PWTS from finding an effective treatment.

Myths & Misconceptions
Further obstructing PWTS on their treatment journeys are pervasive myths about treatment for insomnia. Melatonin and sleep hygiene alone are not AASM recommended treatments for insomnia. 2,3 However, approximately 70% of PWTS, partners and PCPs mistakenly believe melatonin is a treatment for insomnia and more than two thirds believe sleep hygiene is a treatment for insomnia as well.b

"Practicing good sleep hygiene is helpful for anyone trying to improve their sleep, but for someone experiencing insomnia, sleep hygiene habits on their own are not often sufficient. Further, while melatonin may be helpful for treating circadian rhythm disorders, it is also not a solution for insomnia," said Ruth Benca, MD, PhD, co-chair of The Alliance for Sleep.

Stigma Around Treatment: The Insomnia Conversation Gap
Survey results demonstrate the persistence of stigma and disconnect between PWTS and health care providers (HCPs). Nearly half of PWTS who are currently taking or have taken a prescription sleep medication believe there is stigma with both having (45%) and treating (46%) insomnia. This stigma surrounding the treatment of insomnia then prevents many from seeking treatment or medication (45%) or talking to their healthcare provider (30%). When a PWTS does see a provider, only 36% of PWTS report they are asked about their sleep during routine visits, yet 67% of PCPs say they do address sleep and sleep habits, revealing a critical communication gap between PWTS and HCPs.c

"The stigma around treating insomnia and the perceived gap in dialogue between PWTS and HCPs create additional barriers, making the journey for improved sleep even more difficult. These findings point to a need for more education and engaged dialogue around insomnia," said Patricia Torr, President and General Manager of Idorsia U.S.

Additional findings from the Wake Up America survey further reinforce the need for more productive conversations in the doctor's office and at home, as well as accurate information and resources on sleep and insomnia for patients to initiate conversations with their doctor:

  • Immense toll of insomnia on relationships, leaving the partner frustrated and the PWTS not feeling understood:
  • Disconnect between PWTS and PCPs on what to discuss during doctor visits, which complicates the journey for treatment
    • 97% of PCPs report asking at least sometimes
    • 57% of PWTS say they were asked
    • 94% of PCPs report asking at least sometimes
    • 69% of PWTS say they were asked
  • Stigma surrounding the treatment of insomnia prevents PWTS from taking the condition seriously and seeking prescription treatment

To complement this new data from the annual Wake Up America survey, Harris Poll conducted a series of qualitative in-depth interviews (IDIs) among PWTS and their partners, discussing the impact of insomnia. The interviews exemplify the frustration and burden of insomnia, not only on the PWTS, but on their partner as well:

"We try not to yell, but when both of us have a bad night's sleep and then it turns into a bad day, it winds up being taken out on the kids. If they are asking an innocent question and all of a sudden we just let off with a snappy answer and it just filters. It just cycles down" – Richard P., survey respondent, PWTS

"If he had a really bad sleeping night, he doesn't want to do as much as he normally would or he's not going to be as tolerant maybe of circumstances. So I've learned to kind of go without him sometimes" – Chelsea B., survey respondent, partner

Stay up-to-date on the Wake Up America: Sleeplessness at Home and Beyond survey by visiting, where you can also find last year's survey results, and the "Roadmap for Change," which outlines additional areas of focus from The Alliance for Sleep based on last year's Wake Up America: The Night and Day Impact of Insomnia survey results.

Notes to the editor

About the Wake Up America Survey: Sleeplessness at Home and Beyond
The 2022 Wake Up America Survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Idorsia from August – September 2022 among 301 Primary Care Providers (PCPs) and 301 Sleep Specialists specializing in Neurology, Psychiatry, or Pulmonary diseases who practice in the US and are duly licensed, 1,098 U.S. adults age 18+ diagnosed with insomnia or experience trouble sleeping, not diagnosed with substance abuse or sleep apnea, and, if they have a partner, that partner is age 18+ and not diagnosed with sleep apnea or substance abuse (i.e., PWTS), and 1,005 U.S. adults age 18+ not diagnosed with substance abuse or sleep apnea, who have a partner age 18+ diagnosed with insomnia or experience trouble sleeping and not diagnosed with substance abuse or sleep apnea (i.e., partners). Results for each audience were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

To complement new data from the annual Wake Up America survey – a quantitative survey of (independent samples of) PWTS, partners, and HCPs – Harris Poll conducted a series of qualitative in-depth interviews (IDIs) among pairs, or couples, of PWTS and their partner. A total of 20 individual in-depth interviews were conducted among 10 pairs of PWTS and their partner. Interviews were conducted separately, administered via webcam and approximately 60 minutes in length.

About The Alliance for Sleep
The Alliance for Sleep is sponsored by Idorsia U.S. and is a multidisciplinary committee built to promote education, awareness, and research on sleep and sleep disorders. Its mission is to advance research, elevate the standard of care, and improve the health and quality of life of those experiencing insomnia and other sleep disorders. Members of The Alliance for Sleep are paid consultants for Idorsia Pharmaceuticals U.S. Inc.

About Insomnia
Insomnia is defined as a combination of difficulty obtaining sufficient sleep and dissatisfaction with sleep combined with a significant negative impact on daytime functioning. Chronic insomnia is defined as difficulty initiating and/or maintaining sleep on at least three nights per week for at least three months, despite adequate opportunity to sleep. 4

Insomnia is a condition of overactive brain activity during sleep, and studies have shown that areas of the brain associated with wakefulness remain more active during sleep in patients with insomnia.

Significant insomnia is a common problem with a prevalence of approximately 10%. On this basis, and assuming a US adult population of around 250 million, there are approximately 25 million adults in the US who suffer from insomnia. 5,6

Insomnia as a chronic disorder is different from a brief period of poor sleep, and it can take its toll on both physical and mental health. It can be a persistent condition with a negative impact on daytime functioning. Idorsia's research has shown that poor-quality sleep can affect many aspects of daily life, including the ability to concentrate, mood, and energy levels. 7

The goals of managing insomnia are to improve sleep quality and quantity, as well as daytime functioning. Current recommended treatment of insomnia includes sleep hygiene recommendations, cognitive behavioral therapy, and pharmacotherapy.


a)  PWTS who are married or living with their partner  
     b)  Believe melatonin is a treatment for insomnia (67% PWTS/70% partners/69% PCPs); Believe sleep
          hygiene is a treatment for insomnia (68% PWTS/76% partners/91% PCPs)
     c)  39%  of PWTS report always/often asked during routine visits; 67% PCPs say they always (or almost
          always)/often ask their patients


  1. Data on File. Wake Up America Survey Results. Idorsia. 2022
  2. Sateia M, Buysse D, Krystal A, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline for the Pharmacologic Treatment of Chronic Insomnia in Adults: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline. J Clin Sleep Med. 2017;13(2):307-349.
  3. Schutte-Rodin S, Broch L, Buysse D, et al. Clinical guideline for the evaluation and management of chronic insomnia in adults. J Clin Sleep Med. 2008 Oct 15;4(5):487-504.
  4. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
  5. Bhaskar
  6. Ogunwole S, Rabe M, Roberts A, et al. United States Census Bureau. Population under age 18 declined last decade.
  7. Ustinov Y, Lichstein KL, Wal GS, Taylor DJ, Riedel BW, Bush AJ. Association between report of insomnia and daytime functioning. Sleep Med. 2010 Jan;11(1):65-8. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2009.07.009. Epub 2009 Sep 23.

About Idorsia U.S.
Idorsia U.S., an affiliate of Idorsia, is reaching out for more – we have more ideas, we see more opportunities, and we want to help more patients. To achieve this, we will help develop Idorsia into a leading biopharmaceutical company, with a strong scientific core. With commercial operations based outside of Philadelphia, PA, one of densest communities of life sciences talent in the world, we are helping to realize the company's ambition of bringing innovative medicines from bench to bedside. Our goal is to build a commercial footprint that will deliver Idorsia's deep pipeline of products from its R&D engine to the U.S. market – with the potential to change the lives of many patients. Idorsia was listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ticker symbol: IDIA) in June 2017.

For further information, please contact
U.S. Media:
Christopher Clark
Head, U.S. Communications
Idorsia Pharmaceuticals U.S. Inc., One Radnor Corporate Center, Suite 101, 100 Matsonford Rd, Radnor, PA 19087

Global Investors:
Andrew C. Weiss
Senior Vice President, Head of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Idorsia Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Hegenheimermattweg 91, CH-4123 Allschwil
+41 58 844 10 10

The above information contains certain "forward-looking statements", relating to the company's business, which can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "estimates", "believes", "expects", "may", "are expected to", "will", "will continue", "should", "would be", "seeks", "pending" or "anticipates" or similar expressions, or by discussions of strategy, plans or intentions. Such statements include descriptions of the company's investment and research and development programs and anticipated expenditures in connection therewith, descriptions of new products expected to be introduced by the company and anticipated customer demand for such products and products in the company's existing portfolio. Such statements reflect the current views of the company with respect to future events and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Many factors could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the company to be materially different from any future results, performances or achievements that may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein as anticipated, believed, estimated or expected.

The Alliance for Sleep (PRNewsfoto/Idorsia Pharmaceuticals U.S.)
The Alliance for Sleep (PRNewsfoto/Idorsia Pharmaceuticals U.S.)(PRNewswire)
(PRNewsfoto/Idorsia Pharmaceuticals U.S.)
(PRNewsfoto/Idorsia Pharmaceuticals U.S.)(PRNewswire)

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