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Original Research

Insomnia and Impaired Quality of Life in the United States

Mark Olfson, MD, MPH; Melanie Wall, PhD; Shang-Min Liu, MS; Charles M. Morin, PhD; and Carlos Blanco, MD, PhD

Published: September 11, 2018

Article Abstract

Objective: This analysis characterizes the individual-level and population-level burden of insomnia in relation to other medical conditions and describes the comorbidity of insomnia with other medical conditions, including the dependence of these comorbidities on pain, life events, and mental disorders.

Methods: Information from 34,712 adults in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III (2012-2013) was analyzed. Quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) were measured with the SF-6D, a 6-dimensional health state classification derived from the Short-Form-12, version 2.

Results: In the last 12 months, 27.3% of adults reported insomnia. The US annual loss of QALYs associated with insomnia (5.6 million; 95% CI, 5.33-5.86 million) was significantly larger than that associated with any of the other 18 medical conditions assessed, including arthritis (4.94 million; 95% CI, 4.62-5.26 million), depression (4.02 million; 95% CI, 3.87-4.17 million), and hypertension (3.63 million; 95% CI, 3.32-3.93 million). After control for demographic factors, all conditions examined from obesity (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.25) to mania (aOR = 5.04) were associated with an increased risk of insomnia. Further controlling for pain, stressful life events, and mental disorders decreased the odds of the co-occurrence of insomnia with these conditions. The decrease in insomnia comorbidity associated with pain was greatest for fibromyalgia (31.8%) and arthritis (20.1%); the decrease in insomnia comorbidity associated with life events was greatest for mania (13.4%) and drug use disorders (11.2%); and the decrease in insomnia comorbidity associated with mental disorders was greatest for peptic ulcer disease (11.2%) and liver diseases (11.1%).

Conclusions: Insomnia is prevalent and associated with substantial population-level burden in self-assessed health. The co-occurrence of insomnia with common medical conditions is differentially related to pain and to a lesser extent to stressful life events and mental disorders.

Volume: 79

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