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Sleep. 1996 Apr;19(3 Suppl):S7-15.

Epidemiological study on insomnia in the general population.

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Centre de Recherche de l'Institut Philippe Pinel de Montréal, Québec, Canada.


This study was conducted with a representative sample of the French population of 5,622 subjects of 15 years old or more. The telephone interviews were performed with EVAL, an expert system specialized for the evaluation of sleep disorders. From this sample, 20.1% of persons said that they were unsatisfied with their sleep or taking medication for sleeping difficulties or anxiety with sleeping difficulties (UQS). A low family income, being a woman, being over 65 years of age, being retired and being separated, divorced or widowed are significantly associated with the presence of UQS. A sleep onset period over 15 minutes, a short night's sleep and regular nighttime awakenings are also associated with UQS. Medical consultations during the past 6 months and physical illnesses are more frequent among the UQS group. The consumption of sleep-enhancing medication and medication to reduce anxiety is important: in the past, 16% of subjects had taken a sleep-enhancing medication and 16.2% a medication to reduce anxiety. At the time of the survey 9.9% of the population were using sleep-enhancing medication and 6.7% were using medication for anxiety. For most, hypnotic consumption was long-term: 81.6% had been using it for more than 6 months.

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