Prevalence and consequences of insomnia in New Zealand: disparities between Maori and non-Maori

Aust N Z J Public Health. 2005 Feb;29(1):22-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842x.2005.tb00743.x.


Objective: To investigate the prevalence of self-reported insomnia symptoms among Maori (Indigenous people) and non-Maori adults in the general population of New Zealand. To explore the consequences for health and quality of life experienced by those who report common insomnia complaints and sleeping problems.

Methods: In 2001, a two-page questionnaire was mailed to a stratified random sample of 4,000 adults aged 20-59 years nationwide. Participants were selected from the New Zealand electoral roll. The sample design aimed for equal numbers of Maori and non-Maori participants, men and women, and participants in each decade of age (72.5% response rate).

Results: Population prevalence estimates indicate that self-reported insomnia symptoms and sleeping problems are higher among Maori than non-Maori. Multiple logistic regression analyses showed that self-reported insomnia symptoms and/or sleeping problems are significantly associated with reporting poor or fair health and quality of life outcomes.

Conclusions: Approximately one-quarter of adults in New Zealand may suffer from a chronic sleep problem, highlighting insomnia as a major public health issue in New Zealand.

Implications: Significant differences in the prevalence of insomnia symptoms and current sleeping problems with respect to ethnicity have implications in the purchase and development of treatment services, with greater need for these services among Maori than non-Maori.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander / statistics & numerical data*
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / ethnology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*