Reading practice test 8 INSOMNIA – THE ENEMY OF SLEEP


It is not unusual to have sleep troubles from time to time. But, if you feel you do not get enough
sleep or satisfying sleep, you may have insomnia, a sleep disorder. People with insomnia have
one or more of the following: difficulty falling asleep, waking up often during the night and having
trouble going back to sleep, waking up too early in the morning and unrefreshing sleep. Insomnia
is not defined by the number of hours you sleep every night. The amount of sleep a person needs
varies. While most people need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night, some people do well with
less, and some need more.
Insomnia occurs most frequently in people over age 60, in people with a history of depression, and
in women, especially after menopause. Severe emotional trauma can also cause insomnia with
divorced, widowed and separated people being the most likely to suffer from this sleep disorder.
Stress, anxiety, illness and other sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome are the most
common causes of insomnia. An irregular work schedule, jet lag or brain damage from a stroke or
Alzeimer’s disease can also cause insomnia as well as excessive use of alcohol or illicit drugs. It
can also accompany a variety of mental illnesses.
The mechanism that induces sleep is not known. When it becomes dark, the pineal gland in the
brain secretes a hormone called melatonin, which is thought to induce sleep. Exactly why sleep
is necessary for good health and efficient mental functioning is unknown. We do know that sleep
consists of two very different states: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. In
REM sleep, dreams occur, the eyes move under the closed lids and there is an increase in oxygen
consumption, blood flow and neural activity. REM sleep occurs four or five times during a night.
Beginning periods last about ten to fifteen minutes but the periods get longer as the night goes on.
The periods of REM sleep alternate with longer periods of non-REM sleep, when body functions
slow. Non-REM sleep has four stages. During the deepest stages (3 and 4) it is hard to rouse
a sleeper. As the night goes on, the periods of non-REM sleep become progressively lighter.
Sleep in stages 1 and 2 are felt to be restorative as during this time the body repairs itself utilising
a hormone called somatostatin. Lack of stage 4 sleep is believed to be important in chronically
painful conditions such as fibromyalgia.
Healthcare providers diagnose insomnia in several ways. One way is to categorize insomnia by how often it occurs. Another way is to identify the insomnia by what is causing the sleep
deprivation. The two main types of insomnia have been described as Primary Insomnia and
Secondary Insomnia. Primary Insomnia is a chronic condition with little apparent association with
stress or a medical problem. The most common form of primary insomnia is psychophysiological
insomnia. Secondary insomnia is caused by symptoms that accompany a medical condition such
as anxiety, depression or pain.
Improving one’s sleep hygiene helps improve insomnia in all patients. Relaxing during the hour
before you go to sleep and creating a comfortable environment suited for sleep can be helpful.
Older people who wake up earlier than normal or have trouble falling asleep may need less sleep
than they used to. Changing one’s sleep pattern, either by going to bed later or waking up earlier,
can be effective in dealing with insomnia in older people. Therapy also depends on the cause
and severity of the insomnia. Transient and intermittent insomnia may not require any direct
action since these conditions last only a few days at a time. However, if insomnia interferes with
a person’s daily activities, something should be done. Usually the best method of dealing with
insomnia is by attacking the underlying cause. For example, people who are depressed often have
insomnia and looking at this problem may eliminate it.
Not getting enough sleep can make you less productive, irritable and unable to concentrate.
Lack of sleep can make it seem as if you “got up out of the wrong side of the bed.” Early morning
headaches and waking up feeling as if you never went to sleep can result in frustration. Stress
can cause insomnia but insomnia also increases stress. Insomnia can make driving unsafe as
well. Insomnia can result in missed work, which can cause you to become less productive and
miss promotions. It can leave you feeling as if you just can’t get enough done. Insomnia can also
mask serious mental disorders. People with insomnia may think that not getting enough sleep is
their only problem, but the insomnia may actually be one symptom of a larger disorder, such as
depression. Studies show that people with insomnia are four times more likely to be depressed
than people with a healthy sleeping pattern. In addition, lack of sleep can tax the heart and lead to
serious conditions like heart disease. All of these are important problems that can affect every part
of your life.
Establishing certain set routines can help insomniacs get better sleep. Examples of these routines
include: going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, avoiding napping, avoiding
caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and eating heavily late in the day, exercising regularly and making your
bedroom comfortable in terms of the bed, noise and temperature. Insomniacs should also only
use their bedroom for sleep so that their bodies associate the room with sleep. Finally, if you can’t
get to sleep, don’t toss and turn all night. Get up and read or do something that is not overly
stimulating until you feel really sleepy again.Questions 14 – 19
The reading passage on Insomnia has 7 paragraphs (A – G).
From the list of headings below choose the most suitable headings for paragraphs
B – G.
Write the appropriate number (i – xi) in boxes 14 – 19 on your answer sheet.
NB There are more headings than paragraphs, so you will not use them all.

 Example Answer
 Paragraph A iv

 i The Role of Sleep
 ii Insomnia Medication
 iii Habits to Promote a Good Night’s Sleep
 iv What is Insomnia
 v Complications for Insomniacs
 vi Government Action
 vii Available Treatment for Insomnia
 viii The Causes of Insomnia
 ix Therapy Solutions
 x Types of Insomnia
 xi Current Research

14 Paragraph B
15 Paragraph C
16 Paragraph D

17 Paragraph E
18 Paragraph F
19 Paragraph G

Questions 20 – 27
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer of the reading
passage on Insomnia?
In Boxes 20 – 27 write:
YES if the statement agrees with the writer
 NO if the statement doesn’t agree with the writer
 NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

20 Someone who only gets four hours of sleep a night must be suffering from insomnia.

21 Travelling can cause insomnia.

22 REM sleep is felt to be the most important for the body’s rest.

23 Secondary insomnia is far more common than primary insomnia.

24 Sufferers of insomnia can attend specialist sleep clinics.

25 Many people suffering from insomnia don’t realise that they suffer from it.

26 There is no actual correlation linking insomnia and depression.

27 Sleeping during the day can make insomnia worse.

[shc_shortcode class=”shc_mybox”]14. viii 14.
15. i
16. x
17. vii
18. v
19. iii
20. NO
21. YES
22. NO
26. NO
27. YES








INSOMNIA – THE ENEMY OF SLEEP [/shc_shortcode]

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