Background: Most studies on habitual snoring have focused on its prevalence. However, from the clinical point of view, the intensity of snoring is of upmost importance, as it suggests the existence of sleep apnoeas.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of loud snoring using a standard questionnaire and to evaluate the anthropometric and sleep characteristic differences between loud and light snorers in a sample of middle-aged males.
Methods: The subjects were middle-aged active male employees. They completed a structured sleep questionnaire and had standard anthropometric measurements. Subjects reporting habitual snoring (> or =3 nights/week) were further classified as loud or light snorers.
Results: Of the 850 male subjects volunteering, 149 (17.5%) were habitual loud snorers. Loud snorers were older and had a greater waist-to-hip ratio as compared with light snorers. In univariate analysis, loud snoring was associated with gasping/snorting during sleep, breathing stops during sleep, waking up too early, excessive daytime sleepiness and falling asleep while watching TV. Logistic regression identified four independent associates of loud snoring: gasping during sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, falling asleep watching TV and age.
Conclusions: Loud snoring is present in a significant proportion of middle-aged men and is associated with central obesity and age. It disturbs sleep and elicits significant daytime sleepiness. Its association with breathing pauses (univariate) and its independent association with gasping during sleep suggests that loud snoring could be considered a clinical correlate of obstructive sleep apnoeas.
Copyright 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.