Medical and socio-professional impact of insomnia

Author(s): Léger D, Guilleminault C, Bader G, Lévy E, Paillard M


Study objectives:Insomnia, a highly prevalent disorder with direct and indirect economic and professional consequences, affects daytime functioning, behavior, and quality of life. Several studies have shown that insomnia affects the workforce and is associated with an increased risk of accidents. Insomnia may also play a role in other disorders. Our study attempted to evaluate the socio-professional correlates of insomnia by comparing a group of insomniacs to a group of good sleepers.

Design:With a questionnaire focused on the socio-professional and medical consequences of insomnia, we surveyed a group of severe insomniacs and a group of good sleepers. Persons with psychiatric disorders according to the DSM-IV minimum criteria for anxiety and depression were eliminated from each group. After screening, 240 insomniacs and 391 good sleepers remained and were then compared.

Measurements and results:Compared to good sleepers, severe insomniacs reported more medical problems, had more physician-office visits, were hospitalized twice as often, and used more medication. Severe insomniacs had a higher rate of absenteeism, missing work twice as often as did good sleepers. They also had more problems at work (including decreased concentration, difficulty performing duties, and more work-related accidents).

Conclusions:Our study showed that insomnia has socio-professional consequences and is correlated with lower medical status.

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