Sleep is considered as a major protective factor for good health and quality of life. The epidemiology of chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders has recently been developed in France. The aim of this study was to evaluate total sleep time and the prevalence of chronic insomnia in the general population aged 15 to 85 years. It was also to investigate factors associated with sleep disorders. METHODS: Within the framework of the Health Barometer 2010, a French general population survey, 27,653 15 to 85-year-old individuals were questioned about their health behaviors and attitudes, in particular about their sleeping time and habits. RESULTS: The average sleeping time of the 15 to 85-year-old was 7 hours 13 minutes. It was higher for women than for men (7 hours 18 minutes vs 7 hours 07 minutes; P<0.001), whereas 15.8 % of the population presented criteria for chronic insomnia, 19.3 % of women and 11.9 % of men (P<0.001). The prevalence of chronic insomnia was stable with age among women, around 19 %, whereas it increased for men from 3 % in the 15-19-year age range to 18 % in the 45-54-year age range, before decreasing to 8 % beyond 65 years. Chronic insomnia was also found to be related to precarious situations and to several difficult events of life such as violence or chronic alcohol abuse, whereas the relationship observed with tobacco smoking was no longer found after logistic regression adjustment for socio-demographic characteristics. Since the beginning of 1990s, a single-question inquiry on "sleeping problems present during the last 8 days" has been asked in the Health Barometer. The rate of subjects concerned increased from 1995, with a prevalence stabilized at a high level since 2000. CONCLUSIONS: Based on these data, we think that the surveillance of sleep disorders is an important public health issue and that prevention and health educational initiatives should be launched in the general population to promote a better quality of sleep. CI - Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.