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The complex nature of insomnia and its relationship with organic and mental disorders render diagnosis problematic for epidemiologists and physicians.
A representative UK sample (non-institutionalised, > 14 years old) was interviewed by telephone (n=4972; 79.6% participation rate) with the Sleep-EVAL system. Subjects fell into three groups according to presence of insomnia symptom (s) and/or sleep dissatisfaction.
Insomnia symptoms occurred in 36.2% of subjects. Most of these (75.9%), however, reported no sleep dissatisfaction. In comparison, those also with sleep dissatisfaction had higher prevalence of sleep and mental disorders and longer duration of insomnia symptoms, and were more likely to take sleep-promoting medication, dread bedtime, and complain of light sleep, poor night-time sleep and daytime sleepiness.
Insomnia sufferers differ as to whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with sleep. Although insomnia symptoms are common in the general population, sleep disturbances among sleep-dissatisfied individuals are more severe. Sleep dissatisfaction seems a better indicator of sleep pathology than insomnia symptoms.
Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations are common in narcolepsy. However, the prevalence of these phenomena in the general population is uncertain.
A representative community sample of 4972 people in the UK, aged 15–100, was interviewed by telephone (79.6% of those contacted). Interviews were performed by lay interviewers using a computerised system that guided the interviewer through the interview process.
Thirty-seven per cent of the sample reported experiencing hypnagogic hallucinations and 12.5% reported hypnopompic hallucinations. Both types of hallucinations were significantly more common among subjects with symptoms of insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness or mental disorders. According to this study, the prevalence of narcolepsy in the UK is 0.04%.
Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations were much more common than expected, with a prevalence that far exceeds that which can be explained by the association with narcolepsy. Hypnopompic hallucinations may be a better indicator of narcolepsy than hypnagogic hallucinations in subjects reporting excessive daytime sleepiness.
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