The recognition of sleep disorders is important because in the long term, they are associated with numerous deleterious health outcomes. Despite the high prevalence of sleep disorders, they are widely under-diagnosed at general practice level.
This study aims to investigate the association between demographic and morbidity factors, and self-reported sleep disturbance symptoms.
A quantitative cross-sectional study design was used. The data collection tool was an anonymous questionnaire consisting of 22 sleep symptoms categorised into four subscales: 1. Insomnia, 2. Daytime Distress, 3. Sleep Disorder, 4. Psychological Distress. Participants were adults ae<yen>18 years of age attending their general practitioner.
A total of 281 questionnaires were analysed (70.3% response rate). Participants with a diagnosis of depression and those who experienced low mood 'very frequently' had significantly higher median scores on all four subscales. Those with a body mass index (BMI) > 30 kg/m(2) had a higher median score on subscale 3, compared to those with lower BMIs. Smokers had higher median scores on subscales 1-3 compared to non-smokers. Participants > 65 years of age had lower median scores on all subscales compared to younger participants. Married participants had lower median scores on subscales 1-3 compared to unmarried participants. A total of 37% reported that they would be willing to participate in an overnight sleep study, and 5.3% had been formally diagnosed with a sleep disorder.
A number of factors are significantly associated with sleep disturbance, particularly depression, low mood, elevated BMI and smoking. General practitioners should consider these factors to increase recognition of patients who would benefit from sleep disorder investigation.