In the BEACH (Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health)
program between April 2006 and March 2008, sleep disorders were
managed 2987 times at a rate of 1.6 contacts per 100 encounters,
which extrapolates to about 1.7 million times annually across
Australia. By far the most common sleep disorder was insomnia,
which represented eight out of 10 sleep disorders managed.
Management of insomnia rose significantly by age, from 0.2% of encounters with patients aged <25 years to 2.7% with patients aged 75 years and over. Insomnia was significantly more likely to be managed for female patients (1.4%) than for males (1.1%). Female patients were therefore significantly over represented at insomnia encounters (66.0%) compared with total BEACH encounters (57.1%), as were patients with Commonwealth concession or Repatriation health cards. Patients new to the practice and patients from non-English speaking backgrounds were under represented at insomnia encounters compared with all encounters (Figure 1).
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