A cross-sectional study of insomnia and hypnotic use was performed in a sample of the French population. The quota method was used to select the sample of 1,003 subjects, with less than 3% substitution. Subjects were 15 years old and older and were representative of the French population based on gender, age, marital status and living environment. Subjects were asked questions relevant to the complaint of insomnia and hypnotic use and filled out questionnaires measuring anxiety and depression. The complaint of insomnia is common, even in the 15-24-year-old group. Overall, more women than men were afflicted. The largest group of insomniac subjects, and the group who most often used hypnotics "frequently and chronically", were women 45 years and older. Men presented a sharp increase in hypnotic use after 65 years of age. Ten percent of the entire sample used hypnotics, 8% for more than 6 months and 6.17% on a chronic and frequent basis. Retired and unemployed elderly were also chronic and frequent hypnotic users: aging and social isolation correlate with chronic and frequent hypnotic usage. Higher scores on anxiety and depression scales correlate with more frequent complaints of nocturnal sleep disturbances. Young individuals are a significant complainer group but use hypnotics rarely. A rural environment was associated, overall, with fewer insomnia complaints, but environment had much less impact on complaints and hypnotic use in the elderly than in other age groups. One may question whether, in the French population, hypnotic prescription and intake are not responses to a social rather than a medical problem.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991GP00900003
View details for PubMedID 1759090