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Respir Physiol. 1998 Sep;113(3):247-58.

Room oxygen enrichment improves sleep and subsequent day-time performance at high altitude.

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Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0623, USA.


We carried out a randomized, double-blind trial at 3800 m altitude to test whether a small degree of room oxygen enrichment at night improves sleep quality, and performance and well-being the following day. Eighteen sea-level residents drove from sea level to 3800 m in one day, and then slept one night in ambient air, and another night in 24% oxygen, the order being randomized. With oxygen enrichment the subjects had fewer apneas (P < 0.01) and spent less time in periodic breathing with apneas (P < 0.01) than when they slept in ambient air. Subjective assessments of sleep quality were also significantly improved. There was a lower acute mountain sickness score during the morning after oxygen-enriched sleep (P < 0.01) and a greater increase in arterial oxygen saturation from evening to morning (P < 0.05). The larger increases in arterial oxygen saturation from evening to morning suggest that the control of breathing may have been altered. Installing an oxygen-enriched room at high altitude is relatively simple and inexpensive, and shows promise for improving well-being of both commuters and residents.

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