A decade's difference: 10-year change in insomnia symptom prevalence in Canada depends on sociodemographics and health status

Sleep Health. 2018 Apr;4(2):160-165. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2018.01.003. Epub 2018 Feb 19.


Introduction: Insomnia is recognized as a public health issue. The objectives of this study were to characterize and compare the prevalence of insomnia symptoms in the Canadian population in 2002 and 2012, and to identify sociodemographic and psychosocial predictors of trouble sleeping.

Methods: Data from adult participants in the Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health cycles 2000-2002 (n = 34,118) and 2011-2012 (n = 23,089) were used. Participants responded to the question "How often do you have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep?", with those who indicated "most of the time" or "all of the time" classified as having insomnia symptoms. Logistic regressions, adjusted for covariates, were used to examine differences between cycles.

Results: The unadjusted prevalence of insomnia symptoms increased from 15.6% to 17.1% between 2002 and 2012, representing an absolute increase of 1.5%. The likelihood of insomnia symptoms was significantly influenced by age, sex, education, physical health, and mental health status. A 3-way year-age-sex interaction was statistically significant such that women aged 40-59 demonstrated approximately 29% increased likelihood of insomnia symptoms from 2002 to 2012. This was reduced to 24% when adjusted for physical and mental health. There were no significant differences for men across age groups.

Conclusion: Over a 10-year period, the prevalence of insomnia symptoms increased in Canada. This trend appears to be driven in part by greater levels of insomnia symptoms among middle-aged women.

Keywords: Canada; Insomnia; Middle age; Sex differences; Sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult