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Sociodemographic and socioeconomic differences in sleep duration and insomnia-related symptoms in Finnish adults

Tea Lallukka12*, Laura Sares-Jäske3, Erkki Kronholm3, Katri Sääksjärvi3, Annamari Lundqvist3, Timo Partonen3, Ossi Rahkonen1 and Paul Knekt3

Author Affiliations

1 Hjelt Institute, Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

2 Centre for Research on Ageing and Gender (CRAG), Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK

3 National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki and Turku, Finland

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:565  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-565

Published: 28 July 2012



Poor sleep tends to be patterned by sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors. The aim of this study was to examine the associations of sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors with sleep duration and insomnia-related symptoms across life course.


We used cross-sectional Health 2000 Survey (2000–2001) among a total of 5,578 adult Finns, aged 30–79 years, representative of adult Finnish population. Data about sociodemographic and socioeconomic circumstances, insomnia-related symptoms over the previous month as well as average sleep duration were collected by questionnaires. Multinomial logistic regression models were adjusted first for gender and age, second for sociodemographic factors, third additionally for socioeconomic factors, and fourth for all covariates and self-perceived health simultaneously.


On average 70% of Finnish adults slept 7–8 hours a day. Frequent insomnia-related symptoms were more prevalent among women (14%) than men (10%). Not being married, not having children, having low education, low income, being unemployed, and being a disability retiree were associated with frequent insomnia-related symptoms. Similar factors were associated with short and long sleep duration. However, childhood socioeconomic position was mostly unrelated to sleep in adulthood except parental education had some associations with short sleep duration.


Disadvantaged socioeconomic position in adulthood, in particular income and employment status, is associated with poorer sleep. When promoting optimal sleep duration and better sleep quality, families with low incomes, unemployed people, and disability retirees should be targeted.

Marital status; Parental status; Education; Employment status; Household income; Residential area; Insomnia-related symptoms; Sleep duration; Life course; Self-perceived health