A study conducted by Université Laval researchers under the supervision of Dr. Charles M. Morin have found that 40% of adult Canadians suffer from sleep disorders.
Dr. Morin's team surveyed a sample of 2,000 people across the country to draw a portrait of Canadians' sleep quality.
Their data revealed that 40% of respondents had experienced one or more symptoms of insomnia at least three times a week in the preceding month, i.e., taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, being awake for periods longer than 30 minutes during the night, or waking up at least 30 minutes before they had planned. Moreover, 20% of the participants said they were unsatisfied with the quality of their sleep, and 13.4% of respondents displayed all the symptoms required to diagnose insomnia.
Although many respondents experienced at least one symptom of insomnia, only 13% said they had consulted a healthcare professional about it. The survey data revealed that Canadians use prescription medicine (10%), natural products (9%), over-the-counter drugs (7%), or alcohol (5%) to treat their sleep problems.
Surprisingly, the researchers observed that 9.5% of French speakers suffered from insomnia compared to 14.3% of English speakers. However, French speakers take more prescribed sedatives (13% vs. 9%) and natural products (16% vs. 7%) than English-speaking Canadians.
"Many people who suffer from insomnia try to treat the problem themselves rather than consulting a healthcare professional," said Dr. Morin, a professor and researcher at Université Laval's School of Psychology. "This is not a good idea because we don't know the risks and benefits of products that have not been approved by government health agencies," he explained.