SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • aging;
  • hypnotic;
  • insomnia;
  • population;
  • prevalence;
  • primary health care;
  • questionnaire

Abstract Based on a population survey on insomnia among 3600 adult Japanese women living in urban areas, the prevalence of use of medically prescribed hypnotics is determined. The prevalence of use of medically prescribed hypnotics increases with an increase in age (<1.0% for those aged 49 or younger, while 14.3% for those aged 70 or older), in agreement with the results reported in many Western nations. The current sleep disturbance is mild in nearly half of these hypnotics users. More than one-third of the hypnotic users are receiving health care not for sleep problems but for depression, anxiety, or other reasons. More than one-third of the hypnotic users are found to be receiving hypnotics from non-psychiatrists. The percentage of this group is particularly high among those aged 60 or over, probably reflecting the fact that they are often consulting physicians for physical reasons. On the other hand, more than 80% of insomniacs are suggested to be untreated. Future public health research should focus on the quality of life and health care behaviors of untreated insomniacs and hypnotic users, especially among the elderly people, in order to assess the need for primary health care to prevent accidents, mortality, and psychiatric disorders related to sleep problems.