Sleep habits, insomnia, and daytime sleepiness in a large and healthy community-based sample of New Zealanders

Bradley R. Wilsmore, Ronald R. Grunstein, Marlene Fransen, Mark Woodward, Robyn Norton, Shanthi Ameratunga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: To determine the relationship between sleep complaints, primary insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, and lifestyle factors in a large community-based sample. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Blood donor sites in New Zealand. Patients or Participants: 22,389 individuals aged 16-84 years volunteering to donate blood. Interventions: N/A. Measurements: A comprehensive self-administered questionnaire including personal demographics and validated questions assessing sleep disorders (snoring, apnea), sleep complaints (sleep quantity, sleep dissatisfaction), insomnia symptoms, excessive daytime sleepiness, mood, and lifestyle factors such as work patterns, smoking, alcohol, and illicit substance use. Additionally, direct measurements of height and weight were obtained. Results: One in three participants report < 7-8 h sleep, 5 or more nights per week, and 60% would like more sleep. Almost half the participants (45%) report suffering the symptoms of insomnia at least once per week, with one in 5 meeting more stringent criteria for primary insomnia. Excessive daytime sleepiness (evident in 9% of this large, predominantly healthy sample) was associated with insomnia (odds ratio [OR] 1.75, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.50 to 2.05), depression (OR 2.01, CI 1.74 to 2.32), and sleep disordered breathing (OR 1.92, CI 1.59 to 2.32). Long work hours, alcohol dependence, and rotating work shifts also increase the risk of daytime sleepiness. Conclusions: Even in this relatively young, healthy, nonclinical sample, sleep complaints and primary insomnia with subsequent excess daytime sleepiness were common. There were clear associations between many personal and lifestyle factors - such as depression, long work hours, alcohol dependence, and rotating shift work - and sleep problems or excessive daytime sleepiness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-566
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 15 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep
  • Sleepiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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