Characteristics of insomnia in the United States: results of the 1991 National Sleep Foundation Survey. I

Sleep. 1999 May 1:22 Suppl 2:S347-53.


The National Sleep Foundation in conjunction with the Gallup Organization conducted telephone interviews with a sample of Americans (N = 1000) to examine the prevalence and nature of difficulty with sleep. Consistent with other national studies, about one-third of Americans reported some type of sleep problem. Approximately one in four reported occasional insomnia while 9% reported that their sleep difficulty occurred on a regular nightly basis. The problem most frequently reported by insomniacs was waking up in the morning feeling drowsy or tired, followed by waking up in the middle of the night, difficulty going back to sleep after waking up and difficulty falling asleep initially. Importantly, insomniacs rarely visited a physician to discuss their sleep problem and four out of ten insomniacs self-medicated with either over-the-counter medications or with alcohol. Two-thirds of the insomniacs reported that they did not have an understanding of available treatments for insomnia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States / epidemiology