Actress Debi Mazar details struggle with chronic insomnia

While many have suffered through an occasional restless night’s sleep, for those with chronic insomnia the struggle seems endless.

Chronic insomnia is a serious medical condition that can cause patients to have difficulty in falling asleep, difficulty in staying asleep, fatigue or low energy, cognitive impairment, mood disturbance, and behavior problems.

However, according to a survey entitled America: Insomnia Nation, only 12 percent of Americans have actually received a diagnosis of chronic insomnia, despite 20 percent believing that they may have it.  The survey was sponsored by Pernix, the maker of prescription sleep medication Silenor. One possible reason for low diagnosis is misconception about how many hours are needed to be considered a good night’s sleep.

“A lot of people in very high powered jobs often feel like, ‘Oh I don’t need a lot of sleep, I want to get up and do my thing,’ and they are proactive and they do it every day and they are proud of it,” actress Debi Mazar, known for her roles in Goodfellas, Entourage and star of the cooking show ‘Extra Virgin,’ told

“The truth of the matter is you need to get a least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Children need even longer. But it’s just so crucial to be able to think, to be able to function, to be able to be present,” Mazar, who has struggled with chronic insomnia for years, said. The actress said she first noticed her symptoms while in her 20s managing a hectic schedule and traveling through different time zones.

“For me as an actress I have to learn dialogue. So I would be dropping lines, getting irritable; I have a temper,” Mazar said.

“I go to bed and I start thinking and I just can’t turn it off. I wake up and I think I want to check my phone but I know not to do that,” Mazar said. She has since made lifestyle adjustments like adding more exercise to her routine, and has cut caffeine and alcohol past a certain hour.

The actress, who lives part time in Italy, has also partnered up with Silenor, a non-addictive prescription sleep aid that works to turn down histamines to help one stay asleep. Mazar encourages those who think they may be suffering from chronic insomnia to go to, where they can learn more about the condition and fill out a questionnaire.

Click here for more from Debi Mazar.