More than 2 million South Koreans complained of sleep disorders between 2012 and 2016, government statistics showed Monday.
According to the data submitted by the National Health Insurance Service to Rep. Gi Dong-min of the ruling Democratic Party, a total of 494,000 Koreans received hospital treatment for sleep disorders last year, up 38 percent from 358,000 in 2012. During the five years, the total number amounted to 2.1 million.
The number of people with sleeping problems continued to increase from 358,000 in 2012 to 384,000 in 2013, 415,000 in 2014, 463,000 in 2015, and to 494,000 last year.
During the cited period, Koreans spent a total of 235.2 billion won ($223.4 million) to treat insomnia.
Medical expenditure to treat sleep disorders spiked 12.3 percent from 35.9 billion won in 2012 to 40.3 billion won in 2013. The growth pace accelerated to a 15 percent increase in 2014 to reach 46.4 billion won. The spending continued to rise to 52.7 billion in 2015, and 59.7 billion won last year. Compared with 2012, the 2016 figure is up 66 percent.
Women experienced more from sleep disorder than men. During the 2012-2016 period, 1.25 million women received treatment for sleep problems whereas 861,000 men did.
Those in their 50s, 60s, and 70s suffered more from insomnia than other age groups. Over the cited period, those in their 50s accounted for 21 percent of the total insomnia patients, followed by 18 percent for those in their 70s, 18 percent in their 60s, and 15 percent in their 40s.
Teenagers and people in their 20s and 30s are also increasingly visiting hospitals due to sleep problems. About 41,000 patients in their 30s and 22,000 in their 20s received sleep disorder treatments in 2012, and the numbers grew to 54,000 and 28,000 last year, respectively.
The number of sleeping pill intakes by Koreans rose naturally. According to data by the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service, the number of sleeping pill takers grew 5.3 percent to 3.95 million as of the end of last year.
About 56 percent of sleeping pill users were women. People in their 50s accounted for the largest percentage of those dependent on sleep medication, followed by 60s and 40s.
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