Chronic sleep difficulties in non-depressed young women: A longitudinal population-based investigation

Melinda L. Jackson, Ewa M. Sztendur, Neil T. Diamond, Julie E. Byles, Dorothy Bruck

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives/Background: Young women are at a risk of poor sleep, but the extent to which their sleep difficulties remain chronic is not known. Little is also known about the frequency of seeking health care for sleep and satisfaction with that health care. This longitudinal study investigated these issues over nine years in women who reported sleep difficulties over the preceding 12 months. Patients/Methods: Data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health were analysed (N = 9683). Information on self-reported sleep difficulties, help seeking, and health-care satisfaction was obtained from four surveys collected from 2000 (aged 22-27 years) to 2009. Generalized estimating equations were conducted to calculate odds ratios (OR) for the likelihood of women who reported sleep difficulties in 2000 to report sleep difficulties at subsequent surveys. Results: The prevalence of self-reported sleep difficulties 'often' was consistent at 9.1-10.8%. Women who reported sleep difficulties 'often' in 2000 had a markedly increased risk of continued sleep difficulties 'often' over the subsequent 9 years [2003: OR (95% confidence interval, CI) = 11.07 (8.03-15.27); 2006: 12.19 (8.08-16.88); 2009: 10.70 (7.57-15.12)]. Of women who reported sleep difficulties 'often' in 2000 (N = 981), 45.1% had persistent sleep problems and 21.1% experienced relapse of symptoms. About one-third of women who reported sleep problems 'often' sought help. Conclusion: Self-reported frequent sleep difficulties in non-depressed young women strongly predicted a continuation of this level of sleep difficulty over a decade, even if help is sought. Current health practice may not be breaking the ongoing chronicity of sleep difficulties in young women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1116-1122
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Chronic sleep
  • Depression
  • Longitudinal
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Women

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