Dr. Charles M. Morin of the Universite Laval and colleagues surveyed 2,000 people in Canada. Insomnia was defined for the study as 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 planned.
Twenty percent of the participants said they were unsatisfied with the quality of their sleep and 13.4 percent displayed all the symptoms required to diagnose insomnia, Morin says.
The study found only 13 percent consulted a healthcare professional about their insomnia, while 10 percent used prescription medicine, 9 percent used natural products, 7 percent used over-the-counter drugs and 5 percent used alcohol.
"Many people who suffer from insomnia try to treat the problem themselves rather than consulting a healthcare professional," Morin says in a statement. "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."
The findings are being presented at the World Congress on Sleep Medicine in Quebec City.