The association between allergic rhinitis and sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

PLoS One. 2020 Feb 13;15(2):e0228533. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0228533. eCollection 2020.


This systematic review and meta-analysis examines the associations of allergic rhinitis with sleep duration and sleep impairment. Observational studies published before August 2019 were obtained through English language literature searches in the PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL databases. Mean differences and odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were extracted and used for meta-analysis. Heterogeneity was confirmed by the I2-heterogeneity test. Subgroup analysis was conducted to evaluate the influence of study design. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation approach was used to determine the level of evidence. In total, 2544 records were identified through database searches; 914 duplicate records were excluded, 1452 records were removed after screening of titles and abstracts, 151 records were excluded after full-text screening, and 27 articles were included in the final meta-analyses. A total of 240,706,026 patients (19,444,043 with allergic rhinitis) were considered. No significant difference in sleep duration between the allergic rhinitis and the control groups was found. Patients with allergic rhinitis presented with significantly higher sleep quality scores, sleep disturbances scores, and sleep latency scores; more frequent use of sleep medications; and lower sleep efficiency as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and polysomnography. Meta-analyses for adjusted odds ratios showed that allergic rhinitis was also associated with higher risks of nocturnal dysfunctions, including insomnia, nocturnal enuresis, restless sleep, sleep-disordered breathing, obstructive sleep apnea, and snoring. Meta-analysis for adjusted odds ratio also showed that allergic rhinitis was associated with daytime dysfunction, including difficulty waking up, daytime sleepiness, morning headache, and the use of sleep medications. The overall quality of evidence ranged from low to very low, indicating that caution is required when interpreting these results. This study demonstrates that there is a significant association of AR with sleep characteristics.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Observational Studies as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Polysomnography
  • Quality of Life
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / complications
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / epidemiology*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / physiopathology*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / etiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Snoring / diagnosis
  • Snoring / epidemiology
  • Snoring / etiology
  • Young Adult

Grant support

JM L received award from South Campus of Guang’anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences ( The grant number is 121102244009641085. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.