Association between Snoring and Leukocyte Telomere Length

Sleep. 2016 Apr 1;39(4):767-72. doi: 10.5665/sleep.5624.


Study objectives: Data on the association between snoring and telomere length, an indicator of biological aging, are very limited. Moreover, no polysomnography (PSG) studies on this association in a general population have been conducted. Our study aimed to evaluate the association between snoring and leukocyte telomere length (LTL) using PSG and a questionnaire.

Methods: A cross-sectional PSG study embedded in a population-based cohort from the Korean Genome Epidemiology Study was conducted in 2010-2013. During the same period, questionnaire-based interviews, blood collection, and relative LTL assays were conducted. A total of 887 Korean men and women aged 50-79 y with an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) < 15 determined in the PSG study were included in the study.

Results: We observed that the percentage of time spent snoring during sleep (% time spent snoring) assessed by PSG was inversely associated with LTL even after adjusting for potential risk factors and AHI. In the linear regression association between tertiles of percentage of time spent snoring and log-transformed LTL, coefficient estimates (P value) were -0.076 (< 0.05) for the second tertile and -0.084 (< 0.01) for the third tertile compared with the bottom tertile. When LTL was compared according to snoring status determined using PSG and questionnaire information, both primary snorers and those with mild sleep apnea (5 ≤ AHI < 15) had shorter LTL than nonsnorers.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that snoring may influence telomere attrition independent of sleep apnea.

Keywords: leukocyte telomere length; polysomnography; population-based study; snoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging* / genetics
  • Aging* / pathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Leukocytes / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Republic of Korea
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / genetics
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / pathology
  • Snoring / complications
  • Snoring / genetics
  • Snoring / pathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telomere / genetics
  • Telomere / physiology*
  • Telomere Homeostasis / genetics
  • Telomere Homeostasis / physiology*