To investigate whether the high prevalence of symptoms related to obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) in a bronchitic cohort is correlated with the bronchitic symptoms or lung function impairment we examined two cohorts with bronchitic symptoms (n = 357 and 82) and a reference group who had reported no respiratory symptoms in a previous survey in 1986 (n = 140). The study was a part of the Obstructive Lung Disease in Northern Sweden Study and included clinical examination and lung function tests. Although lung function measured as FEV1 percentage predicted was correlated with bronchitic symptoms we found that bronchitic symptoms and body mass index but not lung function impairment were correlated with symptoms related to obstructive sleep apnoea. According to our findings it was the various bronchitic symptoms such as longstanding cough, wheezing, sputum production and chronic productive cough that were correlated with OSAS symptoms. This might be due to increased upper airway swelling or increased upper airway resistance, and lung function impairment does not seem to be responsible for the high prevalence of symptoms related to obstructive sleep apnoea in this bronchitic cohort.