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Eur Respir J. 1996 Oct;9(10):2132-8.

Increased prevalence of sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness in subjects with bronchial asthma: a population study of young adults in three European countries.

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Dept of Lung Medicine, Akademiska sjukhuset, Uppsala, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to investigate whether asthma is associated with decreased quality of sleep and increased daytime sleepiness. The study involved a random population of 2,202 subjects supplemented by 459 subjects with suspected asthma, aged 20-45 yrs. The subjects were from Reykjavik (Iceland), Uppsala and Göteborg (Sweden) and Antwerp (Belgium), and participated in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. The investigation included a structured interview, methacholine challenge, skinprick tests and a questionnaire on sleep disturbances. Participants in Iceland and Sweden also estimated their sleep times and made peak expiratory flow (PEF) recordings during a period of 1 week. Asthma was defined as self-reported physician-diagnosed asthma with current asthma-related symptoms (n = 267). Difficulties inducing sleep (DIS) and early morning awakenings (EMA) were about twice as common, and daytime sleepiness 50% more common, in asthmatics compared with subjects without asthma. After adjusting for possible confounders, a positive association was found between asthma and: DIS (odds ratio (OR) = 1.8); EMA (OR = 2.0); daytime sleepiness (OR = 1.6); snoring (OR = 1.7); and self reported apnoeas (OR = 3.7). Allergic rhinitis, which was reported by 71% of subjects with asthma, was independently related to DIS (OR = 2.0) and daytime sleepiness (OR = 1.3). A significant correlation was found between the number of asthma-related symptoms and sleep disturbances (p < 0.001). Asthma is associated with decreased subjective quality of sleep and increased daytime sleepiness. Concurrent allergic rhinitis may be an important underlying cause of sleep impairment in asthmatic patients.

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