Pulling Back the
Curtains on Insomnia

Emmy® Award-winning actress, Christina Applegate, opens up about her personal struggle with insomnia.

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), most adults should get around seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Many people are able to fall and stay asleep without any trouble, but for the 23.7 million adult Americans that have symptoms consistent with the diagnosis of insomnia, sleep is an ongoing issue.

Insomnia can be frustrating, but sufferers aren't alone. That's why Merck has teamed up with Christina Applegate on Why So Awake, to share her personal insomnia story and help others learn more about what might be keeping them awake.

An insomnia sufferer for most of her adult life, Christina knows all too well how hard it can be to struggle with sleep.

"As an actress, wife and mother of an active 6-year-old, I have to push through the day, even if I'm very tired and haven't slept well," said Applegate. "But sometimes it's hard to feel excited for the day when I don't get enough sleep. It makes me worry about what my family thinks when I'm tired all the time."

Christina had talked to her doctor in the past, but only recently learned more about the science behind sleep.


Insomnia can be a challenging condition, but there are many sleep habits, also known as sleep hygiene, that may help to improve your sleep.

Ignore the clock

Not only can the light be disruptive to your sleep, but watching the clock can increase stress, and make it harder for you to fall asleep. Instead, turn the face away from you.

Get up and leave the bedroom

Lying awake in bed can adversely affect the association between your bedroom and sleep. Instead, try getting out of bed and doing a quiet activity, such as reading in another room. When you start to feel sleepy, you can try going back to bed.

Power down your devices

The blue light given off by electronic devices can block the production of melatonin, a hormone your brain produces to help you fall and stay asleep. Plan to power down your devices at least an hour before bed.

Exercise during the day

Studies have found long-term exercise can help adults with insomnia fall asleep faster and stay asleep a bit longer. Just be sure not to work out too close to bedtime, as this can have the opposite effect.


Why So Awake offers tools and resources to help insomnia sufferers learn more about what might be happening in their brains when trying to sleep. If you struggle with insomnia, like Christina, follow the link below and find out more about what might be keeping you awake.