Sleepiness, quality of life, and sleep maintenance in REM versus non-REM sleep-disordered breathing

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 May 1;181(9):997-1002. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200908-1304OC. Epub 2010 Jan 21.


Rationale: The impact of REM-predominant sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) on sleepiness, quality of life (QOL), and sleep maintenance is uncertain.

Objective: To evaluate the association of SDB during REM sleep with daytime sleepiness, health-related QOL, and difficulty maintaining sleep, in comparison to their association with SDB during non-REM sleep in a community-based cohort.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of 5,649 Sleep Heart Health Study participants (mean age 62.5 [SD = 10.9], 52.6% women, 22.6% ethnic minorities). SDB during REM and non-REM sleep was quantified using polysomnographically derived apnea-hypopnea index in REM (AHI(REM)) and non-REM (AHI(NREM)) sleep. Sleepiness, sleep maintenance, and QOL were respectively quantified using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), the Sleep Heart Health Study Sleep Habit Questionnaire, and the physical and mental composites scales of the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form (SF)-36.

Measurements and main results: AHI(REM) was not associated with the ESS scores or the physical and mental components scales scores of the SF-36 after adjusting for demographics, body mass index, and AHI(NREM) x AHI(REM) was not associated with frequent difficulty maintaining sleep or early awakening from sleep. AHI(NREM) was associated with the ESS score (beta = 0.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.16 to 0.34) and the physical (beta = -0.12; 95% CI, -0.42 to -0.01) and mental (beta = -0.20; 95% CI, -0.20 to -0.01) components scores of the SF-36 adjusting for demographics, body mass index, and AHI(REM).

Conclusions: In a community-based sample of middle-aged and older adults, REM-predominant SDB is not independently associated with daytime sleepiness, impaired health-related QOL, or self-reported sleep disruption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology*