Background: Sleep disorders are often underreported to physicians by patients with allergies. This study aimed to characterize the sleep disorders associated with respiratory allergy to house dust mites (HDM) at the time of initiation of sublingual allergen immunotherapy (SLIT) in routine clinical practice.
Methods: This prospective, cross-sectional, observational study was conducted between November 2014 and March 2015 at 189 French trial sites and included 1750 participants suffering from HDM allergy who were initiating SLIT. Participants aged less than 5 years old and those who had previously started an allergen immunotherapy (AIT) for HDM allergy were not enrolled in the study. Sleep disorders were assessed by self-administered questionnaires: the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and a modified version of the Hotel Dieu-42 (HD-42) sleep disorder questionnaire. Logistic regression models adjusted for obesity, smoking status, asthma control and nasal obstruction were used to study the relationship between allergic rhinitis (AR) classification and sleep disorders/complaints.
Results: Of the 1786 participants enrolled, 1750 (907 adults and 843 children) composed the analysis population. The majority of participants (73.5% of adults and 65.8% of children) reported that their sleep disorders had prompted them to consult their physician. The most commonly observed sleep complaints were poor-quality sleep (50.3% of adults and 37.3% of children), snoring (48.1 and 41.4%, respectively) and nocturnal awakening (37.6 and 28.2%, respectively). Difficulties falling asleep were reported by 27.0% of adults and 24.7% of children. Adults and children suffering from severe persistent AR experienced sleep complaints significantly more often than participants with intermittent or mild persistent AR.
Conclusions: This study highlights the high frequency of sleep disorders and their significant impact on patients with AR induced by HDM, in particular when AR is persistent and severe. Consequently, asking allergic patients about the quality of their sleep appears to be important, especially when the patient has persistent and severe AR.
Keywords: Allergen immunotherapy; Allergic rhinitis; House dust mite; Insomnia; Quality of life; Real-life study; Sleep disorders.