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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005 Jun;37(6):1075-9.

Acute sleep responses in a normobaric hypoxic tent.

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English Institute of Sport, St. Mary's College High Performance Centre, Twickenham, UK.



Sleeping in a hypoxic environment is becoming increasingly popular among athletes attempting to simulate a "live high, train low" training regime. The purpose of this study was to investigate the acute effects (one night) of sleeping in a normobaric hypoxic tent (NH) (PO(2) = 110 mm Hg approximately 2500 m) upon markers of sleep physiology and quality, compared with sleep in a normal ambient environment (BL) (PO(2) = 159 mm Hg approximately sea level) and sleep in a normobaric normoxic tent (NN) (PO(2) = 159 mm Hg).


Eight male recreational athletes (age 34.5 +/- 6.9 yr; stature 169.1 +/- 8.7 cm; mass 69.3 +/- 8.2 kg; VO(2max) 56.4 +/- 8.3 participated in the study using a randomized, double-blind crossover design. Polysomnographic studies were undertaken to measure sleep stages, arterial oxygen saturation (SpO(2)), heart rate (HR), and the Respiratory Disturbance Index (RDI). The Leeds Sleep Evaluation Questionnaire (LSEQ) was used to measure subjective sleep quality.


NH (89.9 +/- 4.8%) resulted in a significantly lower (P < 0.05) SpO(2) compared with both BL (95.7 +/- 1.5%) and NN (93.5 +/- 4.0%). Heart rate was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in NH (51.5 +/- 7.6 beats.min(-1)) compared with NN (48.3 +/- 6.9 beats.min(-1)) but was similar versus BL (50.3 +/- 4.3 beats.min(-1)). RDI (counts.h) and RDI (total counts) were lowest in BL (3.5 +/- 2.5; 18.1 +/- 7.9) and highest in NH (36.8 +/- 42.7; 221.9 +/- 254.5). The difference in RDI (counts.h(-1) and total counts) between NH and BL was significant (P < 0.05). The LSEQ revealed that subjects' "behavior following waking" score was significantly (P < 0.05) lower in NH (40.9 +/- 9.2) compared with BL (52.3 +/- 8.3).


This study presents evidence that sleep in a normobaric hypoxic tent at a simulated altitude of 2500 m may affect sleep parameters in some individuals. This type of analysis may be useful in the early identification of poorly responding individuals to simulated altitude environments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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