Background: Insomnia is a common complaint both in the general population and also in physician's offices. However, risk factors for the development of insomnia complaints have not been completely identified.
Methods: To identify population characteristics associated with increased prevalence of insomnia complaints, we surveyed a large general adult population in 1984 through 1985. We evaluated the relationship among current complaints of initiating and maintaining sleep and obesity, snoring, concomitant health problems, socioeconomic status, and documented complaints of difficulty with insomnia 10 to 12 years previously.
Results: The strongest risk factor for complaints of initiating and maintaining sleep was previous complaints of insomnia (odds ratio, 3.5). In addition, female gender (odds ratio, 1.5), advancing age (odds ratio, 1.3), snoring (odds ratio, 1.3), and multiple types of concomitant health problems (odds ratios, 1.1 to 1.7) were all risk factors associated with an increased rate of complaints of initiating and maintaining sleep.
Conclusion: Complaints of insomnia tend to be a persistent or recurrent problem over long periods of time. Female gender, advancing age, and concomitant health problems also are important risk factors.