Effect of sleep disordered breathing on the sleep of bed partners in the Sleep Heart Health Study

Sleep. 2008 Oct;31(10):1449-56.


Objective: To study the sleep quality of bed partners of persons with sleep disordered breathing in a non-clinical population based sample in a home environment.

Design: Cross-sectional study in a community sample.

Methods: 110 pairs of subjects living in the same household from the Tucson, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh sites of the Sleep Heart Health Study (SHHS) were included if both partners had an in-home, unattended polysomnogram (PSG) performed as a part of SHHS exam cycle 2. Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) was considered present if the respiratory disturbance index (RDI) was > or =10 events/h and no SDB if RDI was <5 events/h. Pairs were classified according to their SDB status and assigned to one of 3 groups: 1) NoSDB-NoSDB (n = 46), 2) NoSDB-SDB (n = 42), and 3) SDB-SDB (n = 22).

Results: There were no differences between the NoSDB-NoSDB and the SDB-SDB partners in their demographic, PSG, or quality of life variables. However, within the NoSDB-SDB group, NoSDB in comparison to their SDB partners weighed less (mean BMI: 26 vs. 29 kg/m2, P < 0.0003), had decreased stage 2% (55 vs. 64, P < 0.0001), increased stage 3 and 4% (21 vs. 11, P <0.0005) and a lower arousal index (13.8 vs. 20 events/h, P < 0.0001). When comparing the NoSDB subjects from the NoSDB-SDB group to subjects in the NoSDB-NoSDB group and to subjects in the SDB-SDB group, significant differences were seen for RDI and BMI but not for any other parameter.

Conclusion: In a non-clinical population based sample, the sleep quality of bed partners of SDB subjects without SDB is better than their SDB bed partner. However, their sleep quality was not different in comparison to the sleep of those without SDB who also had a bed partner without SDB.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arousal
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / psychology*
  • Snoring / psychology
  • Spouses / psychology*