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How Many People Have Insomnia? 48 Insomnia Statistics (2022)

by Dale Cudmore | Updated: Mar 10, 2022

It doesn’t get as much publicity as it should, but sleep issues like insomnia are some of the most common and dangerous that most people face.

Poor sleep affects daily energy levels, as well as both mental and physical health over the long term.

Let’s explore some facts about insomnia to get a clear picture of how prevalent it is and what effects it has.

Top 8 Insomnia Statistics - (Editor’s Choice)

  • About 15% of people in most countries have chronic insomnia
  • Approximately 27.3% of U.S. adults experience some insomnia symptoms during the year
  • Up to 75% of the elderly people experience insomnia symptoms
  • Only about 25% of insomniacs see and tell a doctor about their sleep trouble
  • Approximately 50% of veterans meet clinical significance for insomnia
  • Depression is heavily linked to insomnia, with up to 90% of depression patients developing insomnia
  • In 2020, insufficient sleep accounted for $299 billion to $433 billion in economic losses in the U.S.
  • About 72% of people with sudden sleep trouble will recover naturally. The rest will have recurring problems and possibly develop chronic insomnia.

Prevalence of Insomnia Statistics

How Many People Have Insomnia?

It’s estimated that 15-33% of adults have some degree of insomnia, depending on the location and specific demographic.

One study found that 27.3% of adults in the United States reported insomnia in a 12 month period.

From 15.6% to 17.1% of Canadians experienced insomnia symptoms over a 10-year period, while Australian surveys have shown that 13% to 33% of adults regularly have trouble sleeping.

Finally, a study of the general population of China found a pooled prevalence of insomnia of approximately 15%.

How Common is Insomnia in the Elderly and Young?

In general, young people have fewer sleep problems. It’s estimated that up to 75% of older adults experience symptoms of insomnia.

However, a study of young children found approximately 20% of children experience some level of insomnia symptoms.

How Many People With Insomnia Seek Treatment?

Many people don’t think it’s worth seeing a doctor over sleep issues, as they are unaware of the effects it has on their health.

Only about 25% of insomniacs seek treatment by telling their practitioner about their sleep issues. In addition, only about 5% end up discussing a solution for their insomnia.

How Well Do Physicians Diagnose Insomnia?

While part of the blame for untreated insomnia lies on people not seeking help, many physicians also do not prioritize sleep problems when assessing patients.

An Australian primary care survey found that 83% of doctors do not proactively assess insomnia, and rely on patients bringing up the issue themselves if they have sleep problems.

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Causes and Risks of Insomnia Statistics

Do War Veterans Have a Higher Risk of Insomnia?

There’s a link between PTSD and insomnia, so it shouldn’t be surprising that veterans are one of the most vulnerable populations to insomnia.

Research indicates that approximately 90% of veterans report sleep trouble, and 50% meet clinical criteria for insomnia.

How Has COVID-19 Affected Insomnia?

COVID-19 has affected either the mental or physical health of most people.

Data suggests that during the COVID pandemic, rates of clinical insomnia increased about 37%.

It was also found that just under 40% of nurses experienced moderate insomnia during the pandemic, and an additional 5% of nurses had severe insomnia.

Does Depression Lead to Insomnia?

Mood disorders are known to affect sleep quality.

Research has shown that up to 90% of people with depression will develop sleep problems, including insomnia.

Women Are More Likely to Develop Insomnia Than Men

For a variety of reasons, women are approximately 2 times more likely to develop insomnia than men.

However, as noted in research, women are more likely to seek treatment for health issues, so the gap likely isn’t as large.

Men are more likely to develop insomnia as a result of alcohol or drug use, versus experiencing more stress or responding to hormonal changes for women.

Are Students At a Higher Risk of Insomnia?

University students are known to have high levels of stress and poor sleep hygiene habits. A systematic review of studies on university students has shown that about 18.5% of university students develop insomnia.

Does Obesity Lead to Obesity?

Not all risk factors of insomnia are in our control, but obesity is.

Studies show that obese people are about 39% more likely to develop insomnia than someone who is not obese.

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Effects of Insomnia Statistics

Do Sleep Issues Affect Mortality?

Research shows that sleeping less than an average of 6 hours per night increases mortality risk by 13%, compared to sleeping 7 to 9 hours.

But it turns out that an occasional night of sleep trouble isn’t the end of the world. A meta-analysis found that occasional symptoms of insomnia do not lead to a significant difference in overall mortality.

How Does Insomnia Affect Quality of Life

Quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) is a common metric to measure the impact of conditions or experiments on quality of life.

It’s estimated that the annual loss in the United States is 5.6 million QALYs per year due to insomnia. This is larger than most other common medication conditions, including arthritis (4.94 million) and depression (4.02 million).

What Are the Economic Costs of Poor Sleep and Insomnia?

Research shows that there are significant economic costs of poor sleep. Loss estimates in the U.S. show:

  • 2020 - $299 billion to $433 billion in losses
  • 2030 (Predicted) - $318 to $456 billion in losses

While it varies from country to country, poor sleep costs around 2% of the GDP for most major economies.

A study of the economic burden of Insomnia in Quebec, Canada, found that their total annual cost was $6.6 billion (CAD). This can be broken up into:

  • Insomnia-related productivity losses ($5 billion)
  • Indirect costs from insomnia-related absenteeism ($0.97 billion)
  • Alcohol bought as a sleep aid ($0.4 billion)
  • Over the counter products ($0.02 billion)
  • Health care consultations ($0.19 billion)
  • Transportation for health consultations ($0.037 billion)

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Treatment of Insomnia and Recovery Statistics

How Many People Recover After Developing Sudden Insomnia?

A study found that over the course of a year, 27% of good sleepers experienced sudden insomnia. Of these, 72.4% recovered to their baseline level, while the other 27% either continued to experience intermittent sleep issues or developed chronic insomnia.

Which Insomnia Treatments Are Most Commonly Prescribed?

An online survey of international general health practitioners revealed that the most common prescriptions for insomnia were:

  • Sleep hygiene education (88%)
  • Sleep medication (63%)
  • Relaxation therapy (44%)

The most shocking insight was that 80% of providers mistakenly believed that sleep hygiene was an effective treatment alone, when numerous studies have shown that’s not the case in most cases of sleep problems.

Why Don’t All People With Insomnia Seek Treatment?

We saw earlier that most people with insomnia or other sleep issues do not seek treatment.

Research from the UK reveals part of why that is. Data shows that 52% of people with primary insomnia did not seek treatment because they did not want to take sleeping pills, and thought that was the only potential treatment.

In addition, 35% of patients cited time constraints as a reason not to seek treatment.

How Effective is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia?

Current research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-i) is the most effective treatment for insomnia in the majority of situations.

Studies have shown that 70-80% of insomnia patients that complete CBT-i therapy experience significant improvements in sleep quality.

However, the downside is that up to 40% of patients drop out from CBT-i in clinical practice.

How Often is CBT-i Used?

While CBT-i is being prescribed more often over time for insomnia patients, studies show that less than 10% of insomnia patients in the U.S. are referred to CBT-i.

Why Isn’t CBT Used More Often For Insomnia?

One of the biggest limitations in using CBT-i is the number of qualified therapists. While the number is growing, it was found that there were just about 750 CBT-i specialists worldwide as of 2016. The vast majority (88%) of these were in the USA.

In addition, surveys have found that about 40% of UK physicians report that patients often demand pharmacological treatments (medication) to treat their insomnia, while about 50% of Belgian family physicians find it too difficult to motivate patients for non-pharmacological treatment like CBT.

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Medical Disclaimer: The information on SnoozeUniversity.com is not intended to be a substitute for physician or other qualified care. We simply aim to inform people struggling with sleep issues about the nature of their condition and/or prescribed treatment.


About the authorDale is the founder of Snooze University and a sleep researcher. I overcame my sleep issues and now I'd like to help you do the same by summarizing the latest sleep studies for you.