Applying C4.5 decision tree to analyze insomnia symptoms

Chung Huang Tsai, Shao Jen Weng, Chun An Chou, Hsin Hung Wu, Wei Zhan Hung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: Insomnia is a common and subjective symptom that influences individuals' quality of life and health. The goal of this research is to apply C4.5 decision tree to identify the key factors for the reference of relevant personnel. Methods: Using a structured questionnaire, we collected physical examination data of 1223 individuals (756 [61.8%] males) older than 20 years attending a Taichung regional hospital. The questions were related to basic demographic information, insomnia symptoms, life style, and mood (depression, anxiety, etc.). This research used SPSS 20.0 to analyze the data. Cronbach's a for depression scores, anxiety scores, and total scores was 0.78, 0.78, and 0.86, respectively. The C4.5 decision tree in Weka 3.8.1 were applied to generate a rule of which combination of factors are most likely to generate insomnia symptoms. Results: "Difficulty falling asleep," "Interrupted night sleep, " "Wake up early," "Wake up tired," and "Serious insomnia problem" were highly correlated. Males were more likely to score high on "Difficulty falling asleep" and "Interrupted night sleep." "Drinking water before sleeping," "Drinking alcohol before sleeping," "Habit of drinking coffee," and "Habit of drinking tea" were positively correlated with "Serious insomnia problem." "Sleeping pills" was positively correlated with each kind of insomnia symptom. "Difficulty falling asleep" and "Interrupted night sleep" were less likely in individuals who were employed. Family pressure, work pressure, and other pressure, may also generate insomnia symptoms. Exercise was associated with reduced insomnia symptoms, irrespective of the exercise frequency and exercise volume. "Drinking alcohol before sleeping" could overcome insomnia problems over the short-term. "Abstaining from drinking coffee" allowed some individuals to reduce insomnia symptoms. Using medicine not only generated various side effects, but may also have generated different insomnia symptoms in some individuals. Smoking can also lead to insomnia symptoms in some individuals, while employment can decrease insomnia symptoms. Conclusions: This study used a decision tree to generate rules on insomnia based on data obtained from a cohort of individuals. We found that taking part in exercise, stopping smoking, drinking coffee, taking medicine, and drinking before sleeping, as well as having employment are likely to improve insomnia symptoms in many individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-460
Number of pages12
JournalTaiwan Journal of Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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