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Sleep Med. 2008 Dec;9(8):857-64. Epub 2007 Nov 5.

Predictors of primary medical care consultation for sleep disorders.

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  • 1Sleep & Circadian Research Group, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.



To describe the prevalence and risk factors for primary care consultations for insomnia and/or snoring/sleep apnea.


Retrospective cross-sectional, population-based postal survey of 10,000 people randomly selected from the New South Wales electoral roll; 3300 responded (35.6%). Direct contact with a random subset from the non-responders (n=100) was also undertaken with a response rate of 49%.


The population weighted prevalence for having insomnia was 33.0%, with 11.1% visiting a doctor. The weighted prevalence for reporting a visit to the doctor for snoring/sleep apnea was 6.2%, while 2.9% reported having visited a doctor for both disorders. The percentages of males and females consulting their doctor for either sleep disorder were similar. Independent risk factors for insomnia visits were: being older, daytime sleepiness, short sleep durations, and reduced enthusiasm. Self-medication for insomnia symptoms was common. Independent risk factors for snoring/sleep apnea visits were: being older, daytime sleepiness, short sleep durations, and reduced enthusiasm.


The risk factors for seeking medical help for self-suspected insomnia or snoring/sleep apnea were similar. The reported excess proportion of men being diagnosed in sleep apnea clinics appears to be related to a differential referral by clinicians. We recommend that clinicians discuss both insomnia and snoring/sleep apnea because these disorders are commonly found in patients presented with either condition.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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