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J Sleep Res. 2018 Dec 4:e12790. doi: 10.1111/jsr.12790. [Epub ahead of print]

Sleep patterns and insomnia in young adults: A national survey of Norwegian university students.

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Department of Health Promotion, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Bergen, Norway.
Department of Research & Innovation, Helse Fonna HF, Haugesund, Norway.
Department of Mental Health, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
Department of Research and Development, St Olavs University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway.
Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, California.
Central Clinical School, Brain and Mind Centre, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Department of Psychosocial Science, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.
Norwegian Competence Center for Sleep Disorders, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.
Vestre Viken HF, Drammen, Norway.
The Student Welfare Association of Oslo and Akershus (SiO), Oslo, Norway.


The aim of this study was to describe sleep patterns and rate of insomnia according to diagnostic criteria in college and university students, as well as to examine potential changes in sleep problems from 2010 to 2018. Data stemmed from a national student health survey from 2018 for higher education in Norway (the SHoT study), which invited all 162,512 fulltime students in Norway. A total of 50,054 students (69.1% women) aged 18-35 years were included, yielding a response rate of 30.8%. Sleep parameters, reported separately for weekdays and weekends, included calculations of bedtime, rise time, sleep duration, sleep-onset latency, wake after sleep onset, sleep need and sleep deficit. Insomnia was defined according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edn) criteria. For the trend analysis, we used one item measuring difficulties initiating and/or maintaining sleep, over three time points (2010, 2014 and 2018). The results from 2018 showed large weekday-weekend differences across most sleep parameters. Both male and female students obtained a mean sleep duration in the lower end of the normal range on weekdays (7:24 hr), but met their own sleep need and sleep recommendations at weekends (8:25 hr). The overall prevalence of insomnia was 34.2% in women and 22.2% in men. There was a substantial increase in sleep problems from 2010 (22.6%) to 2018 (30.5%), which was especially pronounced in women. We conclude that sleep problems are both prevalent and increasing among students. This warrants attention as a public health problem in this population.


epidemiology; sleep disturbance; student; trend


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