The influence of sleep position and obesity on sleep apnea

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2000 Jun;54(3):340-1. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1819.2000.00705.x.


The influence of sleep position and the degree of obesity were examined in 257 subjects with sleep apnea. Subjects were divided into three groups according to obesity: normal weight (body mass index (BMI) under 24.0 kg/m2), mild obese (BMI 24.0-26.4 kg/m2) and obese group (BMI 26.4 kg/m2 and heavier). The apnea + hypopnea index (AHI), the intraesophageal pressure and the lowest oxygen saturation became significantly worse according to the degree of obesity. The subjects were also divided into two groups according to the reduction in the AHI by lateral position: good responders showed 50% or more reduction of AHI in lateral position and poor responders indicated less than 50% reduction. The percentage of good responders to sleep position change was 90.9% in normal weight group, 74.0% in mild obese group and 57.4% in the obese group. The ratio of the subjects who had indicated two or more obstructive sites in normal weight group was 36.0% in good responders and 40.0% in poor responders. The ratio in the mild obese group was 51.8% in good responders and 66.7% in poor responders. In the obese group, the ratio was 59.4% in good responders and 78.9% in poor responders.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Airway Resistance / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Polysomnography
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Supine Position / physiology*


  • Oxygen