Background: Little is known about the population prevalence of sleep problems or whether the associations of sleep problems with role impairment are due to comorbid mental disorders.
Methods: The associations of four 12-month sleep problems (difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, early morning awakening, nonrestorative sleep) with role impairment were analyzed in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication controlling 12-month DSM-IV anxiety, mood, impulse-control, and substance disorders. The WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used to assess sleep problems and DSM-IV disorders. The WHO Disability Schedule-II (WHO-DAS) was used to assess role impairment.
Results: Prevalence estimates of the separate sleep problems were in the range 16.4-25.0%, with 36.3% reporting at least one of the four. Mean 12-month duration was 24.4 weeks. All four problems were significantly comorbid with all the 12-month DMS-IV disorders assessed in the survey (median OR: 3.4; 25(th)-75(th) percentile: 2.8-3.9) and significantly related to role impairment. Relationships with role impairment generally remained significant after controlling comorbid mental disorders. Nonrestorative sleep was more strongly and consistently related to role impairment than were the other sleep problems.
Conclusions: The four sleep problems considered here are of public health significance because of their high prevalence and significant associations with role impairment.