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Open Access Research article

Insomnia and its correlates in a representative sample of the Greek population

Thomas Paparrigopoulos1*, Chara Tzavara2, Christos Theleritis1, Constantin Psarros1, Constantin Soldatos1 and Yiannis Tountas2

Author Affiliations

1 University of Athens Medical School, 1st Department of Psychiatry, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece

2 University of Athens Medical School, Center for Health Services Research, Athens, Greece

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:531  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-531

Published: 3 September 2010

Abstract

Background

Insomnia is a major public health concern affecting about 10% of the general population in its chronic form. Furthermore, epidemiological surveys demonstrate that poor sleep and sleep dissatisfaction are even more frequent problems (10-48%) in the community. This is the first report on the prevalence of insomnia in Greece, a southeastern European country which differs in several socio-cultural and climatic aspects from the rest of European Community members. Data obtained from a national household survey (n = 1005) were used to assess the relationship between insomnia symptoms and a variety of sociodemographic variables, life habits, and health-related factors.

Methods

A self-administered questionnaire with questions pertaining to general health and related issues was given to the participants. The Short Form-36 (Mental Health subscale), the Athens Insomnia Scale (AIS) as a measure of insomnia-related symptoms, and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) were also used for the assessment.

Results

The prevalence of insomnia in the total sample was 25.3% (n = 254); insomnia was more frequent in women than men (30.7% vs. 19.5%) and increased with age. Multiple regression analysis revealed a significant association of insomnia with low socio-economical status and educational level, physical inactivity, existence of a chronic physical or mental disease and increased number of hospitalizations in the previous year.

Conclusions

The present study confirms most findings reported from other developed countries around the world regarding the high prevalence of insomnia problems in the general population and their association with several sociodemographic and health-related predisposing factors. These results further indicate the need for more active interventions on the part of physicians who should suspect and specifically ask about such symptoms.