Objectives: To describe the prevalence and risk factors for primary care consultations for insomnia and/or snoring/sleep apnea.
Methods: Retrospective cross-sectional, population-based postal survey of 10,000 people randomly selected from the New South Wales electoral roll; 3300 responded (35.6%). Direct contact with a random subset from the non-responders (n=100) was also undertaken with a response rate of 49%.
Results: The population weighted prevalence for having insomnia was 33.0%, with 11.1% visiting a doctor. The weighted prevalence for reporting a visit to the doctor for snoring/sleep apnea was 6.2%, while 2.9% reported having visited a doctor for both disorders. The percentages of males and females consulting their doctor for either sleep disorder were similar. Independent risk factors for insomnia visits were: being older, daytime sleepiness, short sleep durations, and reduced enthusiasm. Self-medication for insomnia symptoms was common. Independent risk factors for snoring/sleep apnea visits were: being older, daytime sleepiness, short sleep durations, and reduced enthusiasm.
Conclusions: The risk factors for seeking medical help for self-suspected insomnia or snoring/sleep apnea were similar. The reported excess proportion of men being diagnosed in sleep apnea clinics appears to be related to a differential referral by clinicians. We recommend that clinicians discuss both insomnia and snoring/sleep apnea because these disorders are commonly found in patients presented with either condition.