Prevalence and comorbidity of sleep conditions in Australian adults: 2016 Sleep Health Foundation national survey

Sarah L. Appleton, Tiffany Gill, Carol J. Lang, Anne W. Taylor, R. Douglas McEvoy, Nigel P. Stocks, David A. González-Chica, Robert J. Adams

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    Objective To determine the prevalence of sleep conditions (obstructive sleep apnea [OSA], insomnia symptoms, simple snoring, and restless legs) and their associated burden of chronic conditions in a community sample. Design Cross-sectional national adult online survey. Setting Community-based sample. Participants Australian adults ≥18 years, N = 1011. Measurements A cross-sectional national online survey assessed diagnosed OSA, OSA symptoms, insomnia symptoms, sleep problems, excessive daytime sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale ≥11), and physician-diagnosed health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, reflux disease, lung disease, depression, anxiety/panic disorder, arthritis). Possible undiagnosed OSA was estimated using self-reported frequent loud snoring and witness apneas. International Criteria for Sleep Disorders-3 criteria identified insomnia symptoms. Logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex, obesity, and smoking determined correlates of sleep disorders. Results Comorbid sleep conditions were common, with 56% of participants demonstrating ≥1 condition. Reporting ≥1 mental health condition (depression and/or anxiety) was independently associated with diagnosed OSA (odds ratio [95% confidence interval {CI}]: 6.6 [3.2-13.6]), undiagnosed OSA (3.2 [1.8-5.8]), simple snoring (2.4 [1.2-4.5]), insomnia symptoms (4.3 [2.5-7.3]), and restless legs (1.9 [1.2-3.1]). Diagnosed OSA was significantly associated with ≥1 cardiometabolic condition (2.9 [1.4-6.0]) and arthritis (3.6 [1.8-7.2]). ESS ≥11 was associated with diagnosed (3.1 [1.4-6.8]) and undiagnosed OSA (6.2 [3.4-11.4]), insomnia symptoms (2.6 [1.4-4.9]), and restless legs (2.3 [1.4-4.0]), and these sleep conditions were also significantly associated with ≥2 diagnosed medical problems. Conclusion Strategies to facilitate the diagnosis and management of often comorbid sleep disorders in primary care are required to reduce the significant sleep-related disparities in cardiometabolic and mental health.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)13-19
    Number of pages7
    JournalSleep Health
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished or Issued - Feb 2018


    • Comorbidity
    • Epidemiology
    • Insomnia
    • Obstructive sleep apnea
    • Snoring

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
    • Behavioral Neuroscience
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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