Dr. Alessandra Segre – Psychologist – Psychotherapist – Columbus Clinic Center

If New York has always been known and appreciated for being “the city that never sleeps“, it was recently discovered that, unfortunately, Milan could be defined as “the city that cannot sleep“.

At least, this is the case according to data released a couple of months ago following research conducted by New Line, a company that collaborates with pharmacies in performing market analysis and that carried out a survey for Corriere della Sera on the consumption of drugs taken for the purpose of falling asleep.

The data are very eloquent and in some ways alarming: one adult in ten living in the capital of Lombardy appears to suffer from insomnia in the light of the fact that 11% of the population over 18 years old take drugs to sleep and that about 100 packs of pills (or drops) are sold per minute, for a total of over six thousand packs sold every day in the city.

Furthermore, it should not be overlooked that these are drugs that are not reimbursable, except for serious disorders.

These data provide a photograph of a city in which performance demands are generally extremely exacting, in the workplace as well as in the family and society, which generates a state of generalized anxiety that inevitably has repercussions on the ability to fall asleep and the quality of sleep .

So, if lifestyle has a significant impact on sleep, it can be said that stress and anxiety are undoubtedly among the primary causes of insomnia.

The term “insomnia” applies to various different problems, such as difficulty in falling asleep, waking up several times during the night or very early in the morning without being able to go back to sleep, and having restless, disturbed sleep. Insomnia has the features of an extremely subjective disorder, given that the feeling of not having sufficient rest from sleep, either because the period of sleep is too short or because it lacks adequate restorative capacity, is subjective. Moreover, restlessness, a state of continuous tension, having the head full of things to do and problems to be solved, and a sense of urgency are all very common.

Consequently, sleeping poorly or badly can have considerable repercussions on the quality of life during the day, on a person’s mood, work performance, attention and concentration and on the ability to react to stress, thus generating a state of recurrent malaise that in some ways is self-perpetuating through the sleep deprivation or disturbance.

This generalized state of malaise, if protracted in time, can create problems from both physical and psychological points of view: therefore, when addressing the problem of insomnia, in some cases it would be desirable to go beyond the management or reduction of the symptom, intended just as the sleeplessness per se, and consider contacting a specialist to deal with this manifestation within a broader picture of a stress or anxiety disorder.