Sleepless in Slovenia: The European countries with the highest rates of insomnia
Preston Huey

Sleepless in Slovenia: The European countries with the highest rates of insomnia

Whether you’ve tossed and turned for a night or sent pleas to the sandman for weeks on end, sleeplessness is likely a familiar struggle. In an effort to further understand sleep problems in Europe, researchers pulled data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) that polled 54,722 adults (50 years and older) across 16 European countries. Researchers aimed to not only show which countries were most prone to insomnia, but tease out possible socio-demographic and family-related factors that contribute to a lack of sleep. The results, published this month in the International Journal of Public Health, show that Polish adults reported the most sleep problems—about 31% wrestled with insomnia symptoms like difficultly falling asleep, waking in the middle of the night, or tiredness during the day. On the other end of the spectrum, Denmark and Italy’s older adults zonked out more easily, with a smaller (16.6%) portion reporting sleep problems. Researchers explain that the discrepancies may, in part, come from cultural differences in how “sleep problems” are interpreted, which could affect how adults in different countries rate their sleep overall. The surveys showed that, on average, married adults slept better than divorcés, and individuals who were in their 60s slept better than those in their 50s (perhaps because of a lifestyle shift once retirement sets in). The reports also showed that in each of the 16 countries, women were about twice as likely to grapple with insomnia.