U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

Function Navigation

Bookmark and Share

Sleep Disorders

In 2005-2008, 7.4 percent of adults reported that they had ever been told by a health professional that they had a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders can take many forms and have serious health effects in addition to their effects on productivity and quality of life.1 Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by a person’s inability to fall or stay asleep, while narcolepsy is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, or “sleep attacks,” and sudden muscle weakness. Some sleep disorders affect an individual during sleep. Sleep apnea, which is sometimes confused with snoring, is marked by gasping or snorting and can momentarily disrupt an individual’s sleep cycle or constrict the airway.

Overall, sleep disorders are slightly more common among men than women (8.0 versus 6.8 percent, respectively), and vary with age among both sexes. Among women, 45- to 64-year-olds were more likely than women of other age groups to have been told by a health professional that they had a sleep disorder (9.3 percent). Women aged 65 years and older were also more likely than those aged 18-24 years to have had a sleep disorder (6.4 versus 4.9 percent, respectively). Among men, those aged 45-64 and 65 years and older were more likely than younger men to have had a sleep disorder (10.9 and 10.5 percent, respectively).

Sleep disorders among women also vary by poverty status. Women with household incomes below 100 percent of poverty are more likely than women with higher incomes to have reported a sleep disorder (10.1 percent). Women with incomes of 100-199 percent of poverty were also more likely than women with incomes of 300 percent or more to have ever been told by a health professional that they had a sleep disorder (7.2 versus 5.3 percent, respectively).


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Sleep and Sleep Disorders. June 2010. [online] http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/index.htm, accessed 7/13/10.

 

Back to Top