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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1997 Sep;79(3):251-5.

Sleep disturbances in clinically stable young asthmatic adults.

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Department of Clinical Research, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, University of Delhi, India.



Although nocturnal asthma is a well documented clinical problem, the effect of asthma on sleep itself and morbidity caused thereby have not received adequate attention. It is now recognized that partial sleep deprivation has a considerable effect on human functions.


With this in view, we conducted a study to determine the occurrence and nature of sleep disturbances in a homogeneous group of patients with clinically stable bronchial asthma in their home environment.


Thirty young adult unmarried university students with clinically stable bronchial asthma attending the Institute's outpatient department were asked to respond to an asthma/sleep questionnaire and were requested to maintain a sleep diary for 1 week. A similar group of 30 unmarried healthy young university students also underwent an identical workup and functioned as controls. Ten subjects from each group maintained a peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) diary.


The questionnaire revealed that 28 (93%) of the 30 patients experienced sleep disturbances (average 2.7/subject) as compared to 10 (33%) subjects in the control group (average 0.4/subject). The sleep diary confirmed that 27 (90%) of the 30 patients had sleep disturbances (2.4/subject/wk) as compared with 8 (27%) subjects (0.3/subject/wk) in the control group. These differences were statistically significant. Daytime sleepiness and tiredness (63%) and difficulty in maintaining sleep (60%) along with early morning awakening (46%) were more frequently seen. The asthmatic patients also had a shorter duration of sleep (427 min) as compared with the controls (474 min). These findings were significantly different from the control group.


Increased daytime sleepiness and tiredness was perhaps a reflection of the poor quality of sleep experienced by patients with clinically stable asthma. This consequently may lead to impaired daytime performance which can have a potentially serious effect for the patient and society.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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