Objective: The few population-based, prospective studies that have examined risk factors of incident insomnia were limited by small sample size, short follow-up, and lack of data on medical disorders or polysomnography. We prospectively examined the associations between demographics, behavioral factors, psychiatric and medical disorders, and polysomnography with incident chronic insomnia. Methods: From a random, general population sample of 1741 individuals of the adult Penn State Sleep Cohort, 1395 were followed-up after 7.5. years. Only subjects without chronic insomnia at baseline (. n=. 1246) were included in this study. Structured medical and psychiatric history, personality testing, and 8-h polysomnography were obtained at baseline. Structured sleep history was obtained at baseline and follow-up. Results: Incidence of chronic insomnia was 9.3%, with a higher incidence in women (12.9%) than in men (6.2%). Younger age (20-35. years), non-white ethnicity, and obesity increased the risk of chronic insomnia. Poor sleep and mental health were stronger predictors of incident chronic insomnia compared to physical health. Higher scores in MMPI-2, indicating maladaptive personality traits, and excessive use of coffee at baseline predicted incident chronic insomnia. Polysomnographic variables, such as short sleep duration or sleep apnea, did not predict incident chronic insomnia. Conclusion: Mental health, poor sleep, and obesity, but not sleep apnea, are significant risk factors for incident chronic insomnia. Focusing on these more vulnerable groups and addressing the modifiable risk factors may help reduce the incident of chronic insomnia, a common and chronic sleep disorder associated with significant medical and psychiatric morbidity and mortality.
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