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J Clin Psychiatry. 1992 Jun;53 Suppl:4-6.

The epidemiology and occurrence of insomnia.

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  • 1Sleep Disorders Center, Stanford University, Calif.


Although the definitions of insomnia have changed over the last decade to include the perceptions of patients and the effects of disturbed sleep on daytime function, no clear measure exists for isolating the scope of the problem within the general population. A 1979 Gallup poll survey showed that 95% of the adult population had experienced insomnia. The current literature maintains consistently that approximately one third of all people have sleep problems in any given year. Of those, only half consider the problem serious enough to seek medical advice. Sleep disorders appear to effect women more often than men, and the complaints increase with age. Younger people tend to have trouble falling asleep, while older people have difficulty maintaining sleep. The many varieties of sleep disorders and the diverse etiologies underlying them make it crucial that the individual sleep problem be understood clearly. An accurate diagnosis should drive treatment.

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