Sleep disturbances among women in a Subarctic region: a nationwide study

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STUDY OBJECTIVES: To date, few studies have assessed sleep problems among women residing in Subarctic regions. Therefore, the aim of this large-scale population-based study was to assess the prevalence of severe sleep problems and associated factors among Icelandic women, living at 63-66°N.

METHODS: Participants were 29 681 women (18-69 years old) who took part in the Icelandic Stress-And-Gene-Analysis study in 2018-2019. Background information, health-related behavior, and mental health symptoms were assessed with an online questionnaire. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was used to assess severe sleep problems during the past month. Adjusting for age, marital status, number of children, education, personal income, work schedule, region, and response period, we used modified Poisson log-linear models to obtain prevalence ratios (PRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS: Overall, 24.2% of women reported severe sleep problems (PSQI >10). Women responding in the winter presented with an overall higher prevalence of severe sleep problems, compared to those responding in the summer (PR 1.21; 95% CI, 1.15 to 1.28). Severe sleep problems were more prevalent among young and late-midlife women, those who were single, had children, socio-economic challenges, worked shifts, and flexible hours. Furthermore, obesity, suboptimal health behaviors, excessive screen time, and mental health problems were associated with severe sleep problems.

CONCLUSION: Severe sleep problems are more common among women in Subarctic regions than elsewhere, particularly during winter. These findings motivate the development of preventive strategies and interventions for women in the Subarctic who suffer from sleep problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberzsac100
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Approval for the study was granted by the Icelandic Bioethics Committee (nr. VSNb2017110046/03.01)

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Sleep Research Society. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Sleep Research Society.

Other keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sleep Wake Disorders/complications
  • Sleep/physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult
  • seasons
  • Subarctic
  • Iceland
  • population
  • sleep
  • PSQI
  • women
  • Svefntruflanir


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