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How Common are Sleep Disturbances; Frequency of Sleeping Problems

Abstract: One third of the adult population have occasional sleeping problems, one tenth have cronic sleeping problems.

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How Common are Sleep Disturbances; Frequency of Sleeping Problems

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Written by: Dr. Müller and Dr. Paterok, University of Münster
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 07 Jan 2009.

How many people suffer from sleep disturbances? What is the frequency of sleeping problems?


Persons suffering from chronic sleep disturbances, often believe that everyone else is having a good night sleep while they are lying awake. Friends, colleagues and partners do not always understand the problem, or start giving helpless tipps such as "You must relax", "Have a glass of wine every night" aso... Many persons choose therefore not to talk about their problems and many doctors do not even know that their patients are suffering from sleep disturbances.

The subjective impression that everyone else sleeps well is not true though. Scientific studies in many western countries show:

  • In the adult population, about one third is suffering from temporar sleep disturbances. About one in ten is suffering from a chronic sleep disorder which is also affecting the persons mood and efficiency daytime.
  • About five percent suffer from excessive sleepiness at daytime (hypersomnia).
  • Sleep disturbances is thereby ranked (apart from headache) as one of the most common psychosomatic disturbances.

This information was taken from the site "" (in german), where it is possible to find more information about causes and how common sleep disturbances are.

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