Insomnia Medication Use by University Students: A Systematic Review

Menghan Wang, Richard Cooper, Dan Green

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Problematic sleep or insomnia has been a recognised issue for many individuals in society, and university students can be of particular concern due to unique academic pressures. A systematic review was designed to summarise the current evidence about the extent of insomnia medication used by university students and identify characteristics of those more willing to use medication to manage insomnia. Searches were undertaken using Psych INFO, PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science, resulting in 25 eligible studies across multiple countries between 1994 and 2020. The prevalence of sleep medication use by students varied widely, from 2% to 41.2%, with an average of 13.1%. Female gender, students experiencing poor sleep, smoking, drinking stimulant beverages, and undertaking fewer physical activities were associated with the use of insomnia medication. Insomnia medication use exists within university student populations but appears to vary considerably worldwide; identifying multiple population characteristics associated with such use would offer opportunities to identify and support those affected.
Original languageEnglish
Article number171
Number of pages22
Issue number6
Early online date27 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


  • insomnia
  • sleep medication
  • university/college students
  • prevalence
  • determinants
  • systematic review


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