Does insomnia kill?

Sleep. 2005 Aug 1;28(8):965-71. doi: 10.1093/sleep/28.8.965.


Study objectives: We investigated the prevalence and hazard ratios for insomnia complaints in a large cohort of middle-aged men and women.

Design: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study is a prospective study of cardiovascular disease. Using multivariate regression analysis, we predicted the likelihood of endorsing the insomnia complaints by age, sex, alcohol intake, smoking, diabetes, heart disease, menopausal status, use of hypnotics, hypertension, depressive symptoms, education level, body mass index, respiratory symptoms, and pulmonary function status. We predicted the hazard ratios (HR) of death at 6.3 +/- 1.1 year by endorsement of insomnia complaints and by hypnotic use controlling for covariates.

Setting: North American communities.

Participants: 13563 participants aged 45 to 69 years at baseline

Interventions: None.

Measurements and results: The prevalence of insomnia complaints in this cohort was 23%. Predictors of insomnia complaints were female sex (odds ratio [OR] 0.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.45-0.70 for men), annual family income below 50,000 dollars (OR 1.23, CI 1.09-1.40), age 40 to 49 years (OR 1.29, CI 1.11-1.50), depressive symptoms (OR 5.05, CI 4.60-5.55), heart disease (OR 1.89, CI 1.67-2.14), severe airflow obstruction (OR 1.61, CI 1.17-2.22), pulmonary symptoms (OR 1.71, CI 1.5-1.95), and restrictive lung disease (OR 1.27, CI 1.10-1.47). After controlling for covariates, insomnia complaints were not associated with an increased risk for death (OR 1.01, CI 0.85-1.21), nor was the use of hypnotics (OR 1.38, CI 0.90-2.13).

Conclusions: In this cohort, the prevalence of insomnia complaints was 23%. After controlling for confounders, neither insomnia complaints nor hypnotic use predicted increased mortality over 6.3 years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Demography
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Menopause / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / mortality*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Smoking / epidemiology