High altitude sleep disturbances monitored by actigraphy and polysomnography

High Alt Med Biol. Fall 2011;12(3):229-36. doi: 10.1089/ham.2010.1073.

Abstract

Aims: Data on sleep at altitude are scant due to the limited availability of polysomnography. Therefore, we investigated whether actigraphy might serve as a simple tool for monitoring sleep during altitude field studies.

Methods: Fourteen mountaineers participating in studies on dexamethasone prophylaxis of high altitude pulmonary edema were monitored by actigraphy and polysomnography during 1 night at Zurich (490 m) and 4 nights at the Regina Margherita hut (4559 m). Total sleep time (TST) estimated by actigraphy was compared to polysomnography and subjective sleep quality.

Results: In 64 comparisons, mean differences±2SD (bias±limits of agreement) between actigraphy and polysomnography were 5±35 min for TST and 1±7% for sleep efficiency. Correlations between subjective and polysomnographic estimates of sleep efficiency and sleep latency were nonsignificant. Medians of nocturnal oxygen saturation were 96% at 490 m and 74%-81% during nights 1 to 4 at 4459 m (p<0.05 vs. 490 m). Medians of polysomnographic TST were similar at 490 m (451 min) and 4559 m (377-456 min during nights 1 to 4, p=NS) but the proportions of slow wave and REM sleep were reduced and arousals were more common (p<0.05 all instances).

Conclusion: Actigraphy accurately estimates sleep efficiency and duration. Due to its portability and simple use and the potential application over several weeks, it is a convenient tool for investigating altitude effects on sleep during field studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy*
  • Adult
  • Altitude
  • Altitude Sickness / complications
  • Altitude Sickness / physiopathology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Polysomnography*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors

Substances

  • Oxygen