Predictors of sleep-disordered breathing in obese adults who are chronic short sleepers

Kristen L. Knutson*, Xiongce Zhao, Megan Mattingly, Giulia Galli, Giovanni Cizza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is common in obese adults, but not all obese adults have SDB. The aim of these analyses was to determine what predicted SDB in a sample of obese adults. Methods: We conducted cross-sectional analysis of 139 obese men and women aged 18-50years who are chronic short sleepers. Habitual sleep duration and sleep efficiency were estimated using two weeks of wrist actigraphy. Respiratory disturbance index (RDI) was assessed by a portable screening device. SDB was defined as RDI≥15 eventsh -1. Subjective sleep quality, sleepiness, and sociodemographic characteristics were evaluated by questionnaires. Results: Increased sleep duration from actigraphy was associated with reduced odds of SDB (OR 0.44 per hour, p= 0.043). Neither subjective sleep quality nor sleepiness was associated with SDB. Male sex, older age, and increased waist circumference were associated with increased odds of SDB. Conclusions: In this sample of obese adults, subjective measures of sleep quality and sleepiness were not indicators of SDB. These results suggest that, in obese patients, physicians should not rely on subjective measures to determine who should be referred for a clinical sleep study. A wider use of portable apnea screening devices should be considered in nonsymptomatic, non-Hispanic white males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-489
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Actigraphy
  • Apnea
  • Obese
  • Sleep-disordered breathing
  • Sleepiness
  • Subjective sleep quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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