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1.  Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(8):e1000132.
In a cohort of 6,441 volunteers followed over an average of 8.2 years, Naresh Punjabi and colleagues find sleep-disordered breathing to be independently associated with mortality and identify predictive characteristics.
Sleep-disordered breathing is a common condition associated with adverse health outcomes including hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The overall objective of this study was to determine whether sleep-disordered breathing and its sequelae of intermittent hypoxemia and recurrent arousals are associated with mortality in a community sample of adults aged 40 years or older.
Methods and Findings
We prospectively examined whether sleep-disordered breathing was associated with an increased risk of death from any cause in 6,441 men and women participating in the Sleep Heart Health Study. Sleep-disordered breathing was assessed with the apnea–hypopnea index (AHI) based on an in-home polysomnogram. Survival analysis and proportional hazards regression models were used to calculate hazard ratios for mortality after adjusting for age, sex, race, smoking status, body mass index, and prevalent medical conditions. The average follow-up period for the cohort was 8.2 y during which 1,047 participants (587 men and 460 women) died. Compared to those without sleep-disordered breathing (AHI: <5 events/h), the fully adjusted hazard ratios for all-cause mortality in those with mild (AHI: 5.0–14.9 events/h), moderate (AHI: 15.0–29.9 events/h), and severe (AHI: ≥30.0 events/h) sleep-disordered breathing were 0.93 (95% CI: 0.80–1.08), 1.17 (95% CI: 0.97–1.42), and 1.46 (95% CI: 1.14–1.86), respectively. Stratified analyses by sex and age showed that the increased risk of death associated with severe sleep-disordered breathing was statistically significant in men aged 40–70 y (hazard ratio: 2.09; 95% CI: 1.31–3.33). Measures of sleep-related intermittent hypoxemia, but not sleep fragmentation, were independently associated with all-cause mortality. Coronary artery disease–related mortality associated with sleep-disordered breathing showed a pattern of association similar to all-cause mortality.
Sleep-disordered breathing is associated with all-cause mortality and specifically that due to coronary artery disease, particularly in men aged 40–70 y with severe sleep-disordered breathing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
About 1 in 10 women and 1 in 4 men have a chronic condition called sleep-disordered breathing although most are unaware of their problem. Sleep-disordered breathing, which is commonest in middle-aged and elderly people, is characterized by numerous, brief (10 second or so) interruptions of breathing during sleep. These interruptions, which usually occur when relaxation of the upper airway muscles decreases airflow, lower the level of oxygen in the blood and, as a result, affected individuals are frequently aroused from deep sleep as they struggle to breathe. Symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing include loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Treatments include lifestyle changes such as losing weight (excess fat around the neck increases airway collapse) and smoking cessation. Affected people can also use special devices to prevent them sleeping on their backs, but for severe sleep-disordered breathing, doctors often recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a machine that pressurizes the upper airway through a face mask to keep it open.
Why Was This Study Done?
Sleep-disordered breathing is a serious condition. It is associated with several adverse health conditions including coronary artery disease (narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the heart, a condition that can cause a heart attack) and daytime sleepiness that can affect an individual's driving ability. In addition, several clinic- and community-based studies suggest that sleep-disordered sleeping may increase a person's risk of dying. However, because these studies have been small and have often failed to allow for other conditions and characteristics that affect an individual's risk of dying (“confounding factors”), they provide inconsistent or incomplete information about the potential association between sleep-disordered breathing and the risk of death. In this prospective cohort study (part of the Sleep Heart Health Study, which is researching the effects of sleep-disordered breathing on cardiovascular health), the researchers examine whether sleep-disordered breathing is associated with all-cause mortality (death from any cause) in a large community sample of adults. A prospective cohort study is one in which a group of participants is enrolled and then followed forward in time (in this case for several years) to see what happens to them.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
At enrollment, the study participants—more than 6,000 people aged 40 years or older, none of whom were being treated for sleep-disordered breathing—had a health examination. Their night-time breathing, sleep patterns, and blood oxygen levels were also assessed and these data used to calculate each participant's apnea-hypopnea index (AHI)—the number of apneas and hypopneas per hour. During the study follow-up period, 1,047 participants died. Compared to participants without sleep-disordered sleeping, participants with severe sleep-disordered breathing (an AHI of ≥30) were about one and a half times as likely to die from any cause after adjustment for potential confounding factors. People with milder sleep-disordered breathing did not have a statistically significant increased risk of dying. After dividing the participants into subgroups according to their age and sex, men aged 40–70 years with severe sleep-disordered breathing had a statistically increased risk of dying from any cause (twice the risk of men of a similar age without sleep-disordered breathing). Finally, death from coronary artery disease was also associated with sleep-disordered breathing in men but not in women.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that sleep-disordered breathing is associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality, particularly in men aged 40–70 years, even after allowing for known confounding factors. They also suggest that the increased risk of death is specifically associated with coronary artery disease although further studies are needed to confirm this finding because it was based on the analysis of a small subgroup of study participants. Although this study is much larger than previous investigations into the association between sleep-disordered breathing and all-cause mortality, it has several limitations including its reliance on a single night's measurements for the diagnosis of sleep-disordered breathing. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that clinical trials should now be started to assess whether treatment can reduce the increased risk of death that seems to be associated with this common disorder.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has information (including a video) about sleep-disordered breathing (sleep apnea) (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Heath Service also provides information for patients about sleep apnea
MedlinePlus provides links to further information and advice about sleep-disordered breathing (in English and Spanish)
More information on the Sleep Heart Health Study is available
PMCID: PMC2722083  PMID: 19688045
2.  Polysomnography in Patients With Obstructive Sleep Apnea 
Executive Summary
The objective of this health technology policy assessment was to evaluate the clinical utility and cost-effectiveness of sleep studies in Ontario.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Sleep disorders are common and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the predominant type. Obstructive sleep apnea is the repetitive complete obstruction (apnea) or partial obstruction (hypopnea) of the collapsible part of the upper airway during sleep. The syndrome is associated with excessive daytime sleepiness or chronic fatigue. Several studies have shown that OSA is associated with hypertension, stroke, and other cardiovascular disorders; many researchers believe that these cardiovascular disorders are consequences of OSA. This has generated increasing interest in recent years in sleep studies.
The Technology Being Reviewed
There is no ‘gold standard’ for the diagnosis of OSA, which makes it difficult to calibrate any test for diagnosis. Traditionally, polysomnography (PSG) in an attended setting (sleep laboratory) has been used as a reference standard for the diagnosis of OSA. Polysomnography measures several sleep variables, one of which is the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) or respiratory disturbance index (RDI). The AHI is defined as the sum of apneas and hypopneas per hour of sleep; apnea is defined as the absence of airflow for ≥ 10 seconds; and hypopnea is defined as reduction in respiratory effort with ≥ 4% oxygen desaturation. The RDI is defined as the sum of apneas, hypopneas, and abnormal respiratory events per hour of sleep. Often the two terms are used interchangeably. The AHI has been widely used to diagnose OSA, although with different cut-off levels, the basis for which are often unclear or arbitrarily determined. Generally, an AHI of more than five events per hour of sleep is considered abnormal and the patient is considered to have a sleep disorder. An abnormal AHI accompanied by excessive daytime sleepiness is the hallmark for OSA diagnosis. For patients diagnosed with OSA, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the treatment of choice. Polysomnography may also used for titrating CPAP to individual needs.
In January 2005, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario published the second edition of Independent Health Facilities: Clinical Practice Parameters and Facility Standards: Sleep Medicine, commonly known as “The Sleep Book.” The Sleep Book states that OSA is the most common primary respiratory sleep disorder and a full overnight sleep study is considered the current standard test for individuals in whom OSA is suspected (based on clinical signs and symptoms), particularly if CPAP or surgical therapy is being considered.
Polysomnography in a sleep laboratory is time-consuming and expensive. With the evolution of technology, portable devices have emerged that measure more or less the same sleep variables in sleep laboratories as in the home. Newer CPAP devices also have auto-titration features and can record sleep variables including AHI. These devices, if equally accurate, may reduce the dependency on sleep laboratories for the diagnosis of OSA and the titration of CPAP, and thus may be more cost-effective.
Difficulties arise, however, when trying to assess and compare the diagnostic efficacy of in-home PSG versus in-lab. The AHI measured from portable devices in-home is the sum of apneas and hypopneas per hour of time in bed, rather than of sleep, and the absolute diagnostic efficacy of in-lab PSG is unknown. To compare in-home PSG with in-lab PSG, several researchers have used correlation coefficients or sensitivity and specificity, while others have used Bland-Altman plots or receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves. All these approaches, however, have potential pitfalls. Correlation coefficients do not measure agreement; sensitivity and specificity are not helpful when the true disease status is unknown; and Bland-Altman plots measure agreement (but are helpful when the range of clinical equivalence is known). Lastly, receiver operating characteristics curves are generated using logistic regression with the true disease status as the dependent variable and test values as the independent variable. Thus, each value of the test is used as a cut-point to measure sensitivity and specificity, which are then plotted on an x-y plane. The cut-point that maximizes both sensitivity and specificity is chosen as the cut-off level to discriminate between disease and no-disease states. In the absence of a gold standard to determine the true disease status, ROC curves are of minimal value.
At the request of the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC), MAS has thus reviewed the literature on PSG published over the last two years to examine new developments.
Review Strategy
There is a large body of literature on sleep studies and several reviews have been conducted. Two large cohort studies, the Sleep Heart Health Study and the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, are the main sources of evidence on sleep literature.
To examine new developments on PSG published in the past two years, MEDLINE, EMBASE, MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Cochrane CENTRAL, INAHTA, and websites of other health technology assessment agencies were searched. Any study that reported results of in-home or in-lab PSG was included. All articles that reported findings from the Sleep Heart Health Study and the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study were also reviewed.
Diffusion of Sleep Laboratories
To estimate the diffusion of sleep laboratories, a list of sleep laboratories licensed under the Independent Health Facility Act was obtained. The annual number of sleep studies per 100,000 individuals in Ontario from 2000 to 2004 was also estimated using administrative databases.
Summary of Findings
Literature Review
A total of 315 articles were identified that were published in the past two years; 227 were excluded after reviewing titles and abstracts. A total of 59 articles were identified that reported findings of the Sleep Heart Health Study and the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study.
Based on cross-sectional data from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study of 602 men and women aged 30 to 60 years, it is estimated that the prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing is 9% in women and 24% in men, on the basis of more than five AHI events per hour of sleep. Among the women with sleep disorder breathing, 22.6% had daytime sleepiness and among the men, 15.5% had daytime sleepiness. Based on this, the prevalence of OSA in the middle-aged adult population is estimated to be 2% in women and 4% in men.
Snoring is present in 94% of OSA patients, but not all snorers have OSA. Women report daytime sleepiness less often compared with their male counterparts (of similar age, body mass index [BMI], and AHI). Prevalence of OSA tends to be higher in older age groups compared with younger age groups.
Diagnostic Value of Polysomnography
It is believed that PSG in the sleep laboratory is more accurate than in-home PSG. In the absence of a gold standard, however, claims of accuracy cannot be substantiated. In general, there is poor correlation between PSG variables and clinical variables. A variety of cut-off points of AHI (> 5, > 10, and > 15) are arbitrarily used to diagnose and categorize severity of OSA, though the clinical importance of these cut-off points has not been determined.
Recently, a study of the use of a therapeutic trial of CPAP to diagnose OSA was reported. The authors studied habitual snorers with daytime sleepiness in the absence of other medical or psychiatric disorders. Using PSG as the reference standard, the authors calculated the sensitivity of this test to be 80% and its specificity to be 97%. Further, they concluded that PSG could be avoided in 46% of this population.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Obesity
Obstructive sleep apnea is strongly associated with obesity. Obese individuals (BMI >30 kg/m2) are at higher risk for OSA compared with non-obese individuals and up to 75% of OSA patients are obese. It is hypothesized that obese individuals have large deposits of fat in the neck that cause the upper airway to collapse in the supine position during sleep. The observations reported from several studies support the hypothesis that AHIs (or RDIs) are significantly reduced with weight loss in obese individuals.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Diseases
Associations have been shown between OSA and comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension, which are known risk factors for myocardial infarction and stroke. Patients with more severe forms of OSA (based on AHI) report poorer quality of life and increased health care utilization compared with patients with milder forms of OSA. From animal models, it is hypothesized that sleep fragmentation results in glucose intolerance and hypertension. There is, however, no evidence from prospective studies in humans to establish a causal link between OSA and hypertension or diabetes mellitus. It is also not clear that the associations between OSA and other diseases are independent of obesity; in most of these studies, patients with higher values of AHI had higher values of BMI compared with patients with lower AHI values.
A recent meta-analysis of bariatric surgery has shown that weight loss in obese individuals (mean BMI = 46.8 kg/m2; range = 32.30–68.80) significantly improved their health profile. Diabetes was resolved in 76.8% of patients, hypertension was resolved in 61.7% of patients, hyperlipidemia improved in 70% of patients, and OSA resolved in 85.7% of patients. This suggests that obesity leads to OSA, diabetes, and hypertension, rather than OSA independently causing diabetes and hypertension.
Health Technology Assessments, Guidelines, and Recommendations
In April 2005, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the United States published its decision and review regarding in-home and in-lab sleep studies for the diagnosis and treatment of OSA with CPAP. In order to cover CPAP, CMS requires that a diagnosis of OSA be established using PSG in a sleep laboratory. After reviewing the literature, CMS concluded that the evidence was not adequate to determine that unattended portable sleep study was reasonable and necessary in the diagnosis of OSA.
In May 2005, the Canadian Coordinating Office of Health Technology Assessment (CCOHTA) published a review of guidelines for referral of patients to sleep laboratories. The review included 37 guidelines and associated reviews that covered 18 applications of sleep laboratory studies. The CCOHTA reported that the level of evidence for many applications was of limited quality, that some cited studies were not relevant to the recommendations made, that many recommendations reflect consensus positions only, and that there was a need for more good quality studies of many sleep laboratory applications.
As of the time of writing, there are 97 licensed sleep laboratories in Ontario. In 2000, the number of sleep studies performed in Ontario was 376/100,000 people. There was a steady rise in sleep studies in the following years such that in 2004, 769 sleep studies per 100,000 people were performed, for a total of 96,134 sleep studies. Based on prevalence estimates of the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, it was estimated that 927,105 people aged 30 to 60 years have sleep-disordered breathing. Thus, there may be a 10-fold rise in the rate of sleep tests in the next few years.
Economic Analysis
In 2004, approximately 96,000 sleep studies were conducted in Ontario at a total cost of ~$47 million (Cdn). Since obesity is associated with sleep disordered breathing, MAS compared the costs of sleep studies to the cost of bariatric surgery. The cost of bariatric surgery is $17,350 per patient. In 2004, Ontario spent $4.7 million per year for 270 patients to undergo bariatric surgery in the province, and $8.2 million for 225 patients to seek out-of-country treatment. Using a Markov model, it was concluded that shifting costs from sleep studies to bariatric surgery would benefit more patients with OSA and may also prevent health consequences related to diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. It is estimated that the annual cost of treating comorbid conditions in morbidly obese patients often exceeds $10,000 per patient. Thus, the downstream cost savings could be substantial.
Considerations for Policy Development
Weight loss is associated with a decrease in OSA severity. Treating and preventing obesity would also substantially reduce the economic burden associated with diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and OSA. Promotion of healthy weights may be achieved by a multisectorial approach as recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario. Bariatric surgery has the potential to help morbidly obese individuals (BMI > 35 kg/m2 with an accompanying comorbid condition, or BMI > 40 kg/m2) lose weight. In January 2005, MAS completed an assessment of bariatric surgery, based on which OHTAC recommended an improvement in access to these surgeries for morbidly obese patients in Ontario.
Habitual snorers with excessive daytime sleepiness have a high pretest probability of having OSA. These patients could be offered a therapeutic trial of CPAP to diagnose OSA, rather than a PSG. A majority of these patients are also obese and may benefit from weight loss. Individualized weight loss programs should, therefore, be offered and patients who are morbidly obese should be offered bariatric surgery.
That said, and in view of the still evolving understanding of the causes, consequences and optimal treatment of OSA, further research is warranted to identify which patients should be screened for OSA.
PMCID: PMC3379160  PMID: 23074483
3.  Increased Cerebral Blood Flow Velocity in Children with Mild Sleep-Disordered Breathing 
Pediatrics  2006;118(4):e1100-e1108.
Sleep-disordered breathing describes a spectrum of upper airway obstruction in sleep from simple primary snoring, estimated to affect 10% of preschool children, to the syndrome of obstructive sleep apnea. Emerging evidence has challenged previous assumptions that primary snoring is benign. A recent report identified reduced attention and higher levels of social problems and anxiety/depressive symptoms in snoring children compared with controls. Uncertainty persists regarding clinical thresholds for medical or surgical intervention in sleep-disordered breathing, underlining the need to better understand the pathophysiology of this condition. Adults with sleep-disordered breathing have an increased risk of cerebrovascular disease independent of atherosclerotic risk factors. There has been little focus on cerebrovascular function in children with sleep-disordered breathing, although this would seem an important line of investigation, because studies have identified abnormalities of the systemic vasculature. Raised cerebral blood flow velocities on transcranial Doppler, compatible with raised blood flow and/or vascular narrowing, are associated with neuropsychological deficits in children with sickle cell disease, a condition in which sleep-disordered breathing is common. We hypothesized that there would be cerebral blood flow velocity differences in sleep-disordered breathing children without sickle cell disease that might contribute to the association with neuropsychological deficits.
Thirty-one snoring children aged 3 to 7 years were recruited from adenotonsillectomy waiting lists, and 17 control children were identified through a local Sunday school or as siblings of cases. Children with craniofacial abnormalities, neuromuscular disorders, moderate or severe learning disabilities, chronic respiratory/cardiac conditions, or allergic rhinitis were excluded. Severity of sleep-disordered breathing in snoring children was categorized by attended polysomnography. Weight, height, and head circumference were measured in all of the children. BMI and occipitofrontal circumference z scores were computed. Resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure were obtained. Both sleep-disordered breathing children and the age- and BMI-similar controls were assessed using the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF), Neuropsychological Test Battery for Children (NEPSY) visual attention and visuomotor integration, and IQ assessment (Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence Version III). Transcranial Doppler was performed using a TL2-64b 2-MHz pulsed Doppler device between 2 PM and 7 PM in all of the patients and the majority of controls while awake. Time-averaged mean of the maximal cerebral blood flow velocities was measured in the left and right middle cerebral artery and the higher used for analysis.
Twenty-one snoring children had an apnea/hypopnea index <5, consistent with mild sleep-disordered breathing below the conventional threshold for surgical intervention. Compared with 17 nonsnoring controls, these children had significantly raised middle cerebral artery blood flow velocities. There was no correlation between cerebral blood flow velocities and BMI or systolic or diastolic blood pressure indices. Exploratory analyses did not reveal any significant associations with apnea/hypopnea index, apnea index, hypopnea index, mean pulse oxygen saturation, lowest pulse oxygen saturation, accumulated time at pulse oxygen saturation <90%, or respiratory arousals when examined in separate bivariate correlations or in aggregate when entered simultaneously. Similarly, there was no significant association between cerebral blood flow velocities and parental estimation of child’s exposure to sleep-disordered breathing. However, it is important to note that whereas the sleep-disordered breathing group did not exhibit significant hypoxia at the time of study, it was unclear to what extent this may have been a feature of their sleep-disordered breathing in the past. IQ measures were in the average range and comparable between groups. Measures of processing speed and visual attention were significantly lower in sleep-disordered breathing children compared with controls, although within the average range. There were similar group differences in parental-reported executive function behavior. Although there were no direct correlations, adjusting for cerebral blood flow velocities eliminated significant group differences between processing speed and visual attention and decreased the significance of differences in Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function scores, suggesting that cerebral hemodynamic factors contribute to the relationship between mild sleep-disordered breathing and these outcome measures.
Cerebral blood flow velocities measured by noninvasive transcranial Doppler provide evidence for increased cerebral blood flow and/or vascular narrowing in childhood sleep-disordered breathing; the relationship with neuropsychological deficits requires further exploration. A number of physiologic changes might alter cerebral blood flow and/or vessel diameter and, therefore, affect cerebral blood flow velocities. We were able to explore potential confounding influences of obesity and hypertension, neither of which explained our findings. Second, although cerebral blood flow velocities increase with increasing partial pressure of carbon dioxide and hypoxia, it is unlikely that the observed differences could be accounted for by arterial blood gas tensions, because all of the children in the study were healthy, with no cardiorespiratory disease, other than sleep-disordered breathing in the snoring group. Although arterial partial pressure of oxygen and partial pressure of carbon dioxide were not monitored during cerebral blood flow velocity measurement, assessment was undertaken during the afternoon/early evening when the child was awake, and all of the sleep-disordered breathing children had normal resting oxyhemoglobin saturation at the outset of their subsequent sleep studies that day. Finally, there is an inverse linear relationship between cerebral blood flow and hematocrit in adults, and it is known that iron-deficient erythropoiesis is associated with chronic infection, such as recurrent tonsillitis, a clinical feature of many of the snoring children in the study. Preoperative full blood counts were not performed routinely in these children, and, therefore, it was not possible to exclude anemia as a cause of increased cerebral blood flow velocity in the sleep-disordered breathing group. However, hemoglobin levels were obtained in 4 children, 2 of whom had borderline low levels (10.9 and 10.2 g/dL). Although there was no apparent relationship with cerebral blood flow velocity in these children (cerebral blood flow velocity values of 131 and 130 cm/second compared with 130 and 137 cm/second in the 2 children with normal hemoglobin levels), this requires verification. It is of particular interest that our data suggest a relationship among snoring, increased cerebral blood flow velocities and indices of cognition (processing speed and visual attention) and perhaps behavioral (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function) function. This finding is preliminary: a causal relationship is not established, and the physiologic mechanisms underlying such a relationship are not clear. Prospective studies that quantify cumulative exposure to the physiologic consequences of sleep-disordered breathing, such as hypoxia, would be informative.
PMCID: PMC1995426  PMID: 17015501
sleep disordered breathing; cerebral blood flow; transcranial Doppler; executive function; neuropsychological function
4.  Sleep Disorders in the Older Adult – A Mini-Review 
Gerontology  2009;56(2):181-189.
Approximately 50% of older adults complain of difficulty sleeping. Poor sleep results in increased risk of significant morbidity and mortality. The decrements seen in the sleep of the older adult are often due to a decrease in the ability to get needed sleep. However, the decreased ability is less a function of age and more a function of other factors that accompany aging, such as medical and psychiatric illness, increased medication use, advances in the endogenous circadian clock and a higher prevalence of specific sleep disorders. Given the large number of older adults with sleep complaints and sleep disorders, there is a need for health care professionals to have an increased awareness of these sleep disturbances to better enable them to assess and treat these patients. A thorough sleep history (preferably in the presence of their bed partner) is required for a proper diagnosis, and when appropriate, an overnight sleep recording should be done. Treatment of primary sleep problems can improve the quality of life and daytime functioning of older adults. This paper reviews the diagnoses and characteristics of sleep disorders generally found in the older adult. While aimed at the practicing geriatrician, this paper is also of importance for any gerontologist interested in sleep.
PMCID: PMC2842167  PMID: 19738366
Sleep disorders; Circadian rhythms; Insomnia
5.  Insomnia is a frequent finding in adults with Asperger syndrome 
BMC Psychiatry  2003;3:12.
Asperger syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder belonging to autism spectrum disorders with prevalence rate of 0,35% in school-age children. It has been most extensively studied in childhood while there is scarcity of reports concerning adulthood of AS subjects despite the lifelong nature of this syndrome. In children with Asperger syndrome the initiation and continuity of sleep is disturbed because of the neuropsychiatric deficits inherent of AS. It is probable that sleep difficulties are present in adulthood as well. Our hypothesis was that adults with AS suffer from difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep and nonrestorative sleep (insomnia).
20 AS without medication were compared with 10 healthy controls devoid of neuropsychiatric anamnesis. Clinical examination, blood test battery and head MRI excluded confounding somatic illnesses. Structured psychiatric interview for axis-I and axis-II disorders were given to both groups as well as Beck Depression Inventory and Wechsler adult intelligence scale, revised version.
Sleep quality was assessed with sleep questionnaire, sleep diary during 6 consecutive days and description of possible sleep problems by the participants own words was requested.
compared with controls and with normative values of good sleep, AS adults had frequent insomnia. In sleep questionnaire 90% (18/20), in sleep diary 75% (15/20) and in free description 85% (17/20) displayed insomnia. There was a substantial psychiatric comorbidity with only 4 AS subject devoid of other axis-I or axis-II disorders besides AS. Also these persons displayed insomnia. It can be noted that the distribution of psychiatric diagnoses in AS subjects was virtually similar to that found among patient with chronic insomnia.
the neuropsychiatric deficits inherent of AS predispose both to insomnia and to anxiety and mood disorders. Therefore a careful assessment of sleep quality should be an integral part of the treatment plan in these individuals. Conversely, when assessing adults with chronic insomnia the possibility of autism spectrum disorders as one of the potential causes of this condition should be kept in mind.
PMCID: PMC270035  PMID: 14563215
Asperger; sleep; insomnia
Clinics in geriatric medicine  2008;24(1):39-vi.
Nighttime sleep disruption is characteristic of long-term care residents, is typically accompanied by daytime sleepiness and may be caused by a multitude of factors. Causal factors include medical and psychiatric illness, medications, circadian rhythm abnormalities, sleep disordered breathing and other primary sleep disorders, environmental factors and lifestyle habits. There is some suggestion that these factors are amenable to treatment; however, further research on the implementation of treatments within the long-term care setting is needed. Additional work is also needed to understand the administrative and policy factors that might lead to systemic changes in how sleep is viewed and sleep problems are addressed in long-term care settings.
A growing number of older adults reside in long-term care facilities. In this setting, residents commonly suffer from nighttime sleep disruption, which is often accompanied by daytime sleepiness and may be caused by a multitude of factors. Importantly, sleep disturbance is associated with negative health outcomes, including risk for falling, and elevated mortality risk among long-term care residents. A number of factors contribute to sleep disturbance in the long-term care setting including medical and psychiatric illness, medications, circadian rhythm abnormalities, sleep disordered breathing and other primary sleep disorders, environmental conditions (e.g., noise and light) and lifestyle habits. Based on research with older adults in the community and work conducted within long-term care settings, there is some suggestion that these factors are amenable to nonpharmacological treatments. Further research on the broad implementation of treatments for sleep problems within the long-term care setting is still needed. Additional work is also needed to understand the administrative and policy factors that might lead to systemic changes in how sleep is viewed and sleep problems are addressed in long-term care settings.
PMCID: PMC2215778  PMID: 18035230
long; term care; dementia; circadian rhythms; sleep disorders
7.  Prevalence and correlates of sleep disturbance in systemic sclerosis—results from the UCLA scleroderma quality of life study 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2011;50(7):1280-1287.
Objective. Rheumatologic disorders are associated with sleep disturbances. This study examines sleep disturbance correlates in patients with SSc.
Methods. Participants are 180 SSc patients in an observational study. At baseline, patients completed the Medical Outcomes Study Sleep measure (MOS-Sleep scale). In addition, patients were administered other patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures including the 36-item short form (SF-36), HAQ disability index (HAQ-DI), Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue (FACIT-Fatigue), Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CESD) scale and a University of California at Los Angeles Scleroderma Clinical Trial Consortium Gastrointestinal Tract Questionnaire (UCLA SCTC GIT 2.0). Descriptive statistics were assessed for six scales of MOS-Sleep and the 9-item sleep problem index (SLP-9; a composite index). We computed Spearman’s rank-order correlations between the MOS-Sleep scales and the HAQ-DI, FACIT-Fatigue, CESD, SSc-SCTC GIT 2.0 and SF-36 scales. In addition, we developed a regression model to assess predictors of SLP-9 scores. Covariates included demographics, physician variables of disease severity and patient-reported variables of worsening symptoms and the PRO measures.
Results. SSc patients reported a mean (s.d.) of 7.1 (1.73) h of sleep a night. Patients reported worse scores on four of six scales (except for snoring and sleep quantity) compared with the US general population (P < 0.001). SLP-9 was correlated with worsening pain and dyspnoea over the past 1 month, reflux scale of the UCLA SCTC GIT 2.0, CESD and FACIT-Fatigue (ρ 0.26–0.56). In the stepwise multivariate regression model, the CESD, worsening dyspnoea and reflux scale were significantly associated with SLP-9 index.
Conclusion. Sleep disturbances are common in SSc and are associated with worsening dyspnoea, depressed mood and severity of reflux symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3116211  PMID: 21324979
Systemic sclerosis; Scleroderma; Sleep; Depression; Gastroesophageal reflux; Quality of life; SF-36; HAQ disability index (HAQ-DI); Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue (FACIT-Fatigue); Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CESD) scale; University of California at Los Angeles Scleroderma Clinical Trial Consortium Gastrointestinal Tract Questionnaire (UCLA SCTC GIT 2.0)
8.  Sleep architecture and cognitive changes in olanzapine-treated patients with depression: A double blind randomized placebo controlled trial 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:202.
Disturbance in sleep quality is a symptom of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Bipolar Disorder (BD) and thus improving quality of sleep is an important aspect of successful treatment. Here, a prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study examined the effect of olanzapine (an atypical antipsychotic) augmentation therapy on sleep architecture, specifically slow wave sleep (SWS), in the treatment of depression. The effect of olanzapine augmentation therapy on other features of sleep (e.g., sleep continuity) and depression (e.g., illness severity and cognitive function) were also determined.
Patients currently experiencing a major depressive episode and who were on a stable medication were included. Sleep architecture was measured by overnight ambulatory polysomnography. Illness severity was determined using the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). Cognitive function was examined using Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB): Spatial Working Memory (SWM), Spatial Span (SSP), and Reaction Time (RTI) tasks. Polysomnographs, clinical measures and cognitive tests were administered at baseline, after 2–4 days of treatment and after 28–31 days of treatment. Twenty-five patients participated in the study (N = 10, N = 15 for placebo and olanzapine treated groups respectively).
The primary objective of the study was to assess the objective (polysomnographic) changes in sleep quality, defined as changes in SWS, following olanzapine treatment for depression. Latency to but not duration of SWS was found to significantly differ between olanzapine- and placebo-treated participants (Hedge’s g: 0.97, 0.13 respectively). A significant improvement in olanzapine-treated participants over placebo-treated participants was observed in secondary outcome measures, including sleep efficiency, total sleep time, and sleep latency. Secondary objectives assessed the subjective changes in sleep quality parameters and correlated them with measures of illness severity and changes in cognition. MADRS scores were significantly improved in olanzapine-treated participants over time but not more than placebo treatment. There was no significant difference between olanzapine- and placebo-treated participants in SWM, SSP or RTI tasks.
Olanzapine augmentation treatment generally did not improve SWS but did improve sleep continuity and depression. Olanzapine may be one of few medications that improve sleep continuity, thus directly targeting symptoms of depression.
Trial registration, NCT00520507.
PMCID: PMC4223523  PMID: 25030264
Olanzapine; Sleep continuity; Slow-Wave sleep; Depression; Cognitive function; Illness severity
9.  Sleep apnoea in patients with quadriplegia. 
Thorax  1995;50(6):613-619.
BACKGROUND--This study was undertaken to establish the prevalence of, and the factors contributing towards, sleep disordered breathing in patients with quadriplegia. METHODS--Forty representative quadriplegic patients (time since injury > 6 months, injury level C8 and above, Frankel category A, B, or C; mean (SE) age 35.0 (1.7) years) had home sleep studies in which EEG, EOG, submental EMG, body movement, nasal airflow, respiratory effort, and pulse oximetry (SpO2) were measured. Patients reporting post traumatic amnesia of > 24 hours, drug or alcohol abuse or other major medical illness were excluded from the study. A questionnaire on medications and sleep was administered and supine blood pressure, awake SpO2, spirometric values, height, and neck circumference were measured. RESULTS--A pattern of sustained hypoventilation was not observed in any of the patients. Sleep apnoeas and hypopnoeas were, however, common. Eleven patients (27.5%) had a respiratory disturbance index (RDI, apnoeas plus hypopnoeas per hour of sleep) of > or = 15, with nadir SpO2 ranging from 49% to 95%. Twelve of the 40 (30%) had an apnoea index (AI) of > or = 5 and, of these, nine (75%) had predominantly obstructive apnoeas-that is, > 80% of apnoeas were obstructive or mixed. This represents a prevalence of sleep disordered breathing more than twice that observed in normal populations. For the study population RDI correlated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure and neck circumference. RDI was higher in patients who slept supine compared with those in other postures. Daytime sleepiness was a common complaint in the study population and sleep architecture was considerably disturbed with decreased REM sleep and increased stage 1 non-REM sleep. CONCLUSIONS--Sleep disordered breathing is common in quadriplegic patients and sleep disturbance is significant. The predominant type of apnoea is obstructive. As with non-quadriplegic patients with sleep apnoea, sleep disordered breathing in quadriplegics is associated with increased neck circumference and the supine sleep posture.
PMCID: PMC1021258  PMID: 7638801
10.  Sleep Dysfunction and Thalamic Abnormalities in Adolescents at Ultra High-Risk for Psychosis 
Schizophrenia research  2013;151(0):10.1016/j.schres.2013.09.015.
Sleep dysfunction is a pervasive, distressing characteristic of psychosis, yet little is known regarding sleep quality prior to illness onset. At present, it is unclear whether sleep dysfunction precedes the emergence of psychotic symptoms, signifying a core feature of the disorder, or if it represents a consequence of prolonged contact with aspects of schizophrenia and its treatment (e.g., medication use or neurotoxicity) or co-morbid symptoms (e.g., depressive and manic symptomatology). The current study examined sleep dysfunction in adolescents at ultra high-risk (UHR) for psychosis, relationships between sleep disturbances and psychosis symptoms, volume of an integral sleep-structure (thalamus), and associations between thalamic abnormalities and sleep impairment in UHR youth.
Thirty-three UHR youth and 33 healthy controls (HC) participated in a self-assessment of sleep functioning (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index; PSQI), self and parent-report clinical interviews, and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
UHR adolescents displayed increased latency to sleep onset and greater sleep disturbances/disrupted continuity compared to HC youth, over and above concurrent mood symptoms. Among UHR youth, increased sleep dysfunction was associated with greater negative symptom severity but not positive symptoms. Compared to HC adolescents, UHR participants displayed decreased bilateral thalamus volume, which was associated with increased sleep dysfunction.
Sleep dysfunction occurs during the pre-psychotic period, and may play a role in the etiology and pathophysiology of psychosis. In addition, the relationship of disrupted sleep to psychosis symptoms in UHR youth indicates that prevention and intervention strategies may be improved by targeting sleep stabilization in the pre-psychotic period.
PMCID: PMC3855888  PMID: 24094679
Schizophrenia; Premorbid; Psychosis; Ultra High-Risk; Prodromal; Sleep Dysfunction
11.  Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders 
To review circadian rhythm sleep disorders, including underlying causes, diagnostic considerations, and typical treatments.
Literature review and discussion of specific cases.
Survey studies 1,2 suggest that up to 3% of the adult population suffers from a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (CRSD). However, these sleep disorders are often confused with insomnia, and an estimated 10% of adult and 16% of adolescent sleep disorders patients may have a CRSD 3-6. While some CRSD (such as jet lag) can be self-limiting, others when untreated can lead to adverse medical, psychological, and social consequences. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders classifies CRSD as dyssomnias, with six subtypes: Advanced Sleep Phase Type, Delayed Sleep Phase Type, Irregular Sleep Wake Type, Free Running Type, Jet Lag Type, and Shift Work Type. The primary clinical characteristic of all CRSD is an inability to fall asleep and wake at the desired time. It is believed that CRSD arise from a problem with the internal biological clock (circadian timing system) and/or misalignment between the circadian timing system and the external 24-hour environment. This misalignment can be the result of biological and/or behavioral factors. CRSD can be confused with other sleep or medical disorders.
Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are a distinct class of sleep disorders characterized by a mismatch between the desired timing of sleep and the ability to fall asleep and remain asleep. If untreated, CRSD can lead to insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness, with negative medical, psychological, and social consequences. It is important for physicians to recognize potential circadian rhythm sleep disorders so that appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and referral can be made.
PMCID: PMC4212693  PMID: 25368503
12.  Attitudes towards treatment among patients suffering from sleep disorders. A Latin American survey 
BMC Family Practice  2003;4:17.
Although sleep disorders are common, they frequently remain unnoticed by the general practitioner. Few data are available about the willingness and reasons of patients with sleep disturbances to seek for medical assistance.
The results of a cross-sectional community-based multinational survey in three major Latin American urban areas, i.e. Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, are reported. Two-hundred subjects suffering sleep disturbances and 100 non-sufferers were selected from the general population in each city (total number: 600 sufferers vs. 300 non-sufferers). A structured interview was conducted, sleep characteristics, feelings about sleep disturbances and strategies to cope with those problems being recorded. Data were analyzed by employing either t-test or analysis of variance (ANOVA) to the Z-transformed proportions.
22.7 ± 3.5 % (mean ± SEM) of subjects reported to suffer from sleep disturbances every night. About 3 out of 4 (74.2 ± 2.0 %) considered their disorder as mild and were not very concerned about it. Only 31 ± 2 % of sufferers reported to have sought for medical help. Although 45 ± 2 % of sufferers reported frequent daily sleepiness, trouble to remember things, irritability and headaches, they did not seek for medical assistance. Among those patients who saw a physician with complaints different from sleep difficulties only 1 out of 3 (33 ± 2 % of patients) were asked about quality of their sleep by the incumbent practitioner. Strategies of patients to cope with sleep problems included specific behaviors (taking a warm bath, reading or watching TV) (44 ± 1.6 %), taking herbal beverages (17 ± 1.2 %) or taking sleeping pills (10 ± 1.1 %). Benzodiazepines were consumed by 3 ± 0.6 % of sufferers.
Public educational campaigns on the consequences of sleep disorders and an adequate training of physicians in sleep medicine are needed to educate both the public and the general practitioners about sleep disorders.
PMCID: PMC280681  PMID: 14629777
13.  Effect of depression on sleep: Qualitative or quantitative? 
Indian Journal of Psychiatry  2009;51(2):117-121.
The present study was designed to assess whether subjective sleep patterns differ between: (i) depressed patients and controls, and (ii) between subjects with different severity of depression. Based on available literature, it was hypothesized that sleep patterns must be different between the above mentioned groups.
Materials and Methods:
This study included 60 subjects with major depressive disorder and 40 subjects in the control group. Subjects with sleep disturbance secondary to any other factor, e.g., medical illness, environmental factors, other psychiatric illness etc, were not included in the study. Depression severity was assessed in the subjects with depression with the help of Beck Depression Inventory II. Subjective sleep complaints were noted in the presence of a reliable informant, preferably bed partner. All the information was recorded in a semistructured performa. Statistical analysis was done with the help of SPSS v 11.0. The Chi square and Fisher exact tests were used for categorical variables; independent t-test and one way ANOVA were applied for numerical variables. Ordinal variables were analyzed using Mann Whitney U and Kruskall-Wallis tests.
Depression and control groups were similar in age (P = 0.32) and gender (P = 0.14) distribution. Subjects in the depression group had lesser total sleep time (P = 0.001), longer sleep latency (P = 0.001), frequent awakenings (P = 0.04), greater wake-after-sleep onset and offset times (both P = 0.001), lesser sleep efficiency, and tended to wake up early (Mann Whitney U = 913.5; P = 0.05). Subjects with severe depression were different from the mild and moderate groups with regards to total sleep time (P = 0.002), night-time sleep (P = 0.007), and sleep efficiency (P = 0.001) even when the three groups were comparable in age.
Depression is associated with sleep disturbances, not only qualitatively, but also quantitatively. Sleep disturbance arises only after a critical level of depression is reached, and depression of varying severity may selectively affect different sleep parameters.
PMCID: PMC2755175  PMID: 19823630
Depression; sleep; severity of depression
14.  Effect of Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea on Depressive Symptoms: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(11):e1001762.
In a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Matthew James and colleagues investigate the effects of continuous positive airway pressure or mandibular advancement devices on depression.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, and decreased quality of life. Treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or mandibular advancement devices (MADs) is effective for many symptoms of OSA. However, it remains controversial whether treatment with CPAP or MAD also improves depressive symptoms.
Methods and Findings
We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that examined the effect of CPAP or MADs on depressive symptoms in patients with OSA. We searched Medline, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials, and PsycINFO from the inception of the databases until August 15, 2014, for relevant articles.
In a random effects meta-analysis of 19 identified trials, CPAP treatment resulted in an improvement in depressive symptoms compared to control, but with significant heterogeneity between trials (Q statistic, p<0.001; I2 = 71.3%, 95% CI: 54%, 82%). CPAP treatment resulted in significantly greater improvement in depressive symptoms in the two trials with a higher burden of depression at baseline (meta-regression, p<0.001). The pooled standardized mean difference (SMD) in depressive symptoms with CPAP treatment in these two trial populations with baseline depression was 2.004 (95% CI: 1.387, 2.621), compared to 0.197 (95% CI: 0.059, 0.334) for 15 trials of populations without depression at baseline. Pooled estimates of the treatment effect of CPAP were greater in parallel arm trials than in crossover trials (meta-regression, p = 0.076). Random effects meta-analysis of five trials of MADs showed a significant improvement in depressive symptoms with MADs versus controls: SMD = 0.214 (95% CI: 0.026, 0.401) without significant heterogeneity (I2 = 0%, 95% CI: 0%, 79%). Studies were limited by the use of depressive symptom scales that have not been validated specifically in people with OSA.
CPAP and MADs may be useful components of treatment of depressive symptoms in individuals with OSA and depression. The efficacy of CPAP and MADs compared to standard therapies for depression is unknown.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder that is particularly common among middle-aged and elderly people, although most are unaware that they have the condition. It is characterized by the occurrence of numerous brief (ten seconds or so) breathing interruptions during sleep. These “apneas” occur when relaxation of the upper airway muscles decreases airflow, which lowers the level of oxygen in the blood. Consequently, affected individuals are frequently aroused from deep sleep as they struggle to breathe. Symptoms of OSA include loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Treatments include lifestyle changes such as losing weight (excess fat around the neck increases airway collapse) and smoking cessation. Mild to moderate OSA can also be treated using a mandibular advancement device (MAD), a “splint” that fits inside the mouth and pushes the jaw and tongue forward to increase the space at the back of the throat and reduce airway narrowing. For severe OSA, doctors recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in which a machine blows pressurized air into the airway through a facemask to keep it open.
Why Was This Study Done?
OSA is a serious condition that is associated with an increased risk of illness and death. Clinical depression (long-lasting, overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness), for example, is common among people with OSA. The interaction between these frequently co-morbid (co-existing) conditions is complex. The sleep disruption and weight gain that are often associated with depression could cause or worsen OSA. Conversely, OSA could trigger depression by causing sleep disruption and by inducing cognitive changes (changes in thinking) by intermittently starving the brain of oxygen. If the latter scenario is correct, then treating OSA with CPAP or MADs might improve depressive symptoms. Several trials have investigated this possibility, but their results have been equivocal. Here, the researchers undertake a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that have examined the effect of CPAP or MADs on depressive symptoms in patients with OSA to find out whether treating co-morbid OSA in patients with depression can help to treat depression. A randomized controlled trial compares the outcomes of individuals chosen to receive different interventions through the play of chance, a systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic, and meta-analysis uses statistical methods to combine the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 22 trials that investigated the effects of CPAP or MAD treatment in patients with OSA and that measured depressive symptoms before and after treatment. Meta-analysis of the results of 19 trials that provided information about the effect of CPAP on depressive symptoms indicated that CPAP improved depressive symptoms compared to the control intervention (usually sham CPAP) but revealed considerable heterogeneity (variability) between trials. Notably, CPAP treatment resulted in a greater improvement in depressive symptoms in trials in which there was a high prevalence of depression at baseline than in trials in which there was a low prevalence of depression at baseline. Moreover, the magnitude of this improvement in depressive symptoms in trials with a high prevalence of depression at baseline was large enough to be clinically relevant. Meta-analysis of five trials that provided information about the effect of MADs on depressive symptoms indicated that MADs also improved depressive symptoms compared to the control intervention (sham MAD).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that both CPAP and MAD treatment for OSA can result in modest improvements in depressive symptoms and that populations with high initial levels of depressive symptoms may reap the greatest benefits of CPAP treatment. These findings give no indication of the efficacy of CPAP and MADs compared to standard treatments for depression such as antidepressant medications. Moreover, their accuracy may be limited by methodological limitations within the trials included in the meta-analyses reported here. For example, the questionnaires used to measure depression in these trials were not validated for use in people with OSA. Further high-quality randomized controlled trials are therefore needed to confirm the findings of this systematic review and meta-analysis. For now, however, these findings suggest that the use of CPAP and MADs may help improve depressive symptoms among people with OSA.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has information (including several videos) about sleep apnea (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information and personal stories about obstructive sleep apnea and depression
The not-for-profit American Sleep Apnea Association provides detailed information about sleep apnea for patients and healthcare professionals, including personal stories about the condition
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression (in English and Spanish)
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America provides information about sleep disorders
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has a page on obstructive sleep apnea; MedlinePlus provides links to further information and advice about obstructive sleep apnea and about depression (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC4244041  PMID: 25423175
15.  Perceived Effectiveness of Diverse Sleep Treatments in Older Adults 
To describe the different methods older adults use to treat sleep problems and the perceived effectiveness of these methods.
Cross-sectional study of treatment patterns for sleep disorders using a mailed questionnaire that gathered information concerning sleep history, demographics, and treatment choices.
Study participants were drawn from a community-based sample of adults aged >65 years, of which 242 responded (67% response rate).
Standardized questionnaires to assess sleep parameters (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), demographic information, and sleep treatment options.
Study participants engaged in a variety of treatment regimens to improve their sleep, with the average number of treatments attempted being 4.7 +/− 2.9. The most commonly used interventions were watching TV or listening to the radio (66.4%) or reading (56.2%). The most commonly used pharmacotherapy was pain medication (40.1%). Prescription sleeping pills had the greatest self-reported effectiveness. Approximately half of all study participants who used alcohol or over-the-counter sleeping aids had not discussed their sleep problems with their doctor.
Older adults frequently choose treatments for their sleep problems that can potentially worsen their sleep symptoms. Many patients have not spoken to their health care provider about their treatment choices. These findings highlight the importance of discussing sleep habits and self-treatment choices as well as treating sleep disorders in older adults.
PMCID: PMC3666863  PMID: 21314649
sleep; treatment; effectiveness; alcohol; benzodiazepines
16.  Chronic Interferon-Alpha Administration Disrupts Sleep Continuity and Depth in Patients with Hepatitis C: Association with Fatigue, Motor Slowing and Increased Evening Cortisol 
Biological psychiatry  2010;68(10):942-949.
Consequences of chronic exposure to cytokines of the innate immune system on sleep in humans and the association of cytokine-induced sleep alterations with behavior, motor performance and cortisol secretion are unknown.
Thirty-one patients with hepatitis C without pre-existing sleep disorders underwent nighttime polysomnography, daytime multiple sleep latency testing, behavioral assessments, neuropsychological testing and serial blood sampling at baseline and after ~12 weeks of either treatment with the innate immune cytokine, interferon (IFN)-alpha (n=19) or no treatment (n=12). Fatigue and sleepiness were assessed using the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory and Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
IFN-alpha administration led to significant increases in wake after sleep onset and significant decreases in Stage 3/4 sleep and sleep efficiency. REM latency and Stage 2 sleep were significantly increased during IFN-alpha treatment. Decreases in Stage 3/4 sleep and increases in REM latency were associated with increases in fatigue, whereas decreases in sleep efficiency were associated with reduced motor speed. Increased wake after sleep onset was associated with increased evening plasma cortisol. Despite IFN-alpha-induced increases in fatigue, daytime sleepiness did not increase. In fact, IFN-alpha-treated patients exhibited decreased propensity to fall asleep during daytime nap opportunities.
Chronic exposure to an innate immune cytokine reduced sleep continuity and depth, and induced a sleep pattern consistent with insomnia and hyperarousal. These data suggest that innate immune cytokines may provide a mechanistic link between disorders associated with chronic inflammation including medical and/or psychiatric illnesses and insomnia, which in turn is associated with fatigue, motor slowing and altered cortisol.
PMCID: PMC2937202  PMID: 20537611
Sleep; insomnia; hyperarousal; polysomnography; fatigue; depression; interferon-alpha; hepatitis C; neuropsychology; cortisol; cytokines
17.  Evaluation of Exogenous Melatonin Administration in Improvement of Sleep Quality in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Tanaffos  2013;12(2):9-15.
COPD is primarily the disease of the lungs; nevertheless, multiple systemic manifestations including poor sleep quality and sleep disturbances have been linked to this illness. Administration of sedative hypnotics is not recommended in COPD patients, as these drugs suppress the ventilatory response and exacerbate sleep-related disorders. Melatonin is an alternative medication that has been widely used to treat sleep disturbances caused by aging and other specific conditions. We aimed to investigate the efficacy of melatonin administration in improvement of sleep quality in COPD patients.
Materials and Methods
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted. A total of 54 patients were recruited and randomly assigned into either melatonin or placebo group. Sleep quality was evaluated by Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI); daytime sleepiness was assessed by Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). For all patients, spirometry and pulse oximetry were preformed to evaluate lung function and oxygenation.
Compared with placebo, melatonin administration significantly improved global PSQI score (p<0.001). Of PSQI individual components, sleep quality (p=0.001), sleep latency (p=0.001), sleep efficacy (p=0.003), and sleep duration (p=0.024) improved significantly. On the other hand, melatonin treatment did not significantly change indices of daytime sleepiness, lung function and oxygenation (p>0.05).
Melatonin significantly improves sleep quality in COPD patients with sleep complaints. This improvement was in the absence of significant elevation in the indices of daytime sleepiness and lung function.
PMCID: PMC4153247  PMID: 25191456
Melatonin; Sleep quality; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
18.  Hallucinations and sleep disorders in PD 
Neurology  2010;75(20):1773-1779.
To assess prospectively progression and relationship of hallucinations and sleep disorders over a 10-year longitudinal study of patients with Parkinson disease (PD).
Eighty-nine patients with PD were recruited to fill cells of normal sleep without hallucinations (n = 20), sleep fragmentation only (n = 20), vivid dreams/nightmares (n = 20), hallucinations with insight (n = 20), and hallucinations without insight (n = 9). At baseline, 0.5, 1.5, 4, 6, and 10 years, sleep disorders and hallucinations were assessed by standardized scales with the longitudinal data analyzed by generalized estimating equations with assumptions of linearity in time.
At 10 years, we could account for all subjects (27 interviewed, 61 deceased, and 1 too ill for interview). Hallucination prevalence and severity increased over time (p < 0.0001, p = 0.0001). Acting out dreams also increased over time (p = 0.001). In contrast, presence of vivid dreams/nightmares or sleep fragmentation did not increase over time. For all visits, the prevalence of sleep fragmentation did not differ between subjects with vs without hallucinations (odds ratio [OR] = 1.50, p = 0.09). However, severe sleep fragmentation was associated with concurrent hallucinations (OR 2.01, p = 0.006). The presence of hallucinations was also highly associated with concurrent vivid dreams/nightmares (OR = 2.60, p < 0.0001) and with concurrent acting out dreams (OR = 2.38, p = 0.0004). Among the baseline nonhallucinators, no sleep abnormalities at study entry predicted future development of hallucinations.
Hallucinations and sleep abnormalities follow very different patterns of progression in PD over 10 years. Whereas patients with hallucinations often have concurrent sleep aberrations, no sleep problem is predictive of future hallucinations.
= confidence interval;
= generalized estimating equation;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= odds ratio;
= Parkinson disease;
= Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index;
= Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale;
= motor section of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale.
PMCID: PMC2995381  PMID: 20962287
19.  Polysomnographic sleep patterns of non-depressed, non-medicated children with generalized anxiety disorder 
Journal of affective disorders  2012;147(0):379-384.
Polysomnographic (PSG) studies of children with psychiatric illness have primarily focused on depressed samples. Children with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) report high rates of sleep problems yet investigation of objective sleep patterns in non-depressed children with GAD are unavailable. Identification of unique clinical features linking early GAD with sleep disturbance, including possible HPA activation during the pre-sleep period, is needed to inform understanding of effective treatments.
Thirty non-medicated, pre-pubescent children (ages 7–11 years) were assessed including 15 children with GAD and 15 matched healthy controls. Anxious children had GAD as their primary diagnosis and did not meet criteria for secondary mood disorders. All participants underwent structured diagnostic assessment and laboratory-based polysomnography (PSG). State anxiety and salivary cortisol were assessed prior to light out on the PSG night.
Children with GAD showed significantly increased sleep onset latency and reduced latency to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep compared to controls. Marginal differences in form of reduced sleep efficiency and increased total REM sleep also were found in the GAD group. Pre-sleep anxiety and cortisol levels did not differ between the two groups.
A small sample size, time-limited assessment of cortisol, and possible first night effects should be considered.
Results of this study provide initial evidence of PSG-based differences in children with GAD compared to controls. Follow-up studies are needed to explore the course of sleep alterations and whether targeting sleep problems early in the course of GAD might improve clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3985749  PMID: 23026127
Generalized Anxiety Disorder; Children; Depression; Sleep; Polysomnography; Cortisol
20.  Prevalence of sleep deprivation in patients with chronic neck and back pain: a retrospective evaluation of 1016 patients 
Chronic low back pain (CLBP) and chronic neck pain (CNP) have become a serious medical and socioeconomic problem in recent decades. Patients suffering from chronic pain seem to have a higher prevalence of sleep disorders.
To calculate the prevalence of sleep deprivation in patients with CLBP and CNP and to evaluate the factors that may contribute to sleep impairment.
This study was a retrospective evaluation of 1016 patients with CNP and CLBP who consulted an orthopedic department at a university hospital. Factors assessed were gender, age, diagnosis, grade of sleep deprivation, pain intensity, chronification grade, and migrational background. Pearson’s chi-squared test was performed to calculate the relationship between these factors and the grade of sleep deprivation. Regression analysis was performed to explore the correlation between the grade of sleep deprivation and age, pain intensity, and chronification grade.
A high prevalence of sleep deprivation (42.22%) was calculated in patients with CNP and CLBP, even when analgesics had been taken. About 19.88% of the patients reported serious sleep impairments (ie, <4 hours of sleep per night). The grade of sleep deprivation did not correlate with the gender or age distribution. A significant relationship was found between the grade of sleep deprivation and pain intensity, failed back surgery syndrome, and patients with a migrational background. There was a moderate relationship with intervertebral disc disease and no relationship with spinal stenosis.
Sleep disturbance should be assessed when treating patients with CNP or CLBP, especially in patients with higher pain intensity, failed back surgery syndrome, and a migrational background. Further research is needed to explore the complex relationship of sleep disturbance and chronic pain.
PMCID: PMC3536352  PMID: 23300350
sleep disturbance; impairment; chronic low back pain; failed back surgery; disc disease; spinal stenosis; spondylolisthesis; migrational background; prevalence
21.  The association of gout with sleep disorders: a cross-sectional study in primary care 
Both gout and sleep apnoea are associated with the metabolic syndrome. Hyperuricaemia is also prevalent in sleep apnoea syndrome. The objective of this study was to examine the association between gout and sleep apnoea and other sleep disorders.
Data were taken from a validated database of general practice records from nine practices in the UK between 2001 and 2008. People consulting for gout were identified via Read codes and each matched with four controls for age, gender, practice and year of gout consultation. Sleep problems and confounding comorbidities were also identified via Read codes. Medications were identified through a linked database of prescription records. The association between gout and sleep disorders was assessed using a logistic regression model, adjusting for ischaemic heart disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and diuretic use.
1689 individuals with gout were identified and each successfully matched to four controls. Amongst those with gout, the prevalence of any sleep problem was 4.9%, sleep problems other than sleep apnoea 4.2%, and sleep apnoea 0.7%, compared to 3.5%, 3.2% and 0.3% respectively in controls. Gout was associated with any sleep problem (odds ratio (OR) 1.44; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11, 1.87), sleep problems other than sleep apnoea (OR 1.36; 95% CI 1.03, 1.80), and sleep apnoea (OR 2.10; 95% CI 1.01, 4.39). On multivariable analysis, gout remained significantly associated with any sleep problem (OR 1.39; 95% CI 1.06, 1.81) and sleep problems other than sleep apnoea (OR 1.37; 95% CI 1.03, 1.82), however the association with sleep apnoea was attenuated (OR 1.48, 95% CI 0.70, 3.14).
Gout and sleep problems appear to be associated and clinicians should be aware of the co-existence of these two conditions. Larger prospective epidemiological studies are required to explore causality.
PMCID: PMC3621781  PMID: 23557073
Gout; Sleep; Apnea; General practice; Metabolic syndrome X
22.  Circadian rhythm sleep disorders in patients with multiple sclerosis and its association with fatigue: A case-control study 
Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are a presentation of sleep disorders in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). This study aims to compare this problem in MS patients with healthy people and to determine its association with chronic fatigue in MS patients.
Materials and Methods:
A case-control study was performed on 120 MS patients and 60 healthy subjects matched for age and sex, in 2009 in MS Clinic Alzahra Hospital. Sleep quality, rhythm and fatigue severity were assessed using PSQI (Pittsburgh sleep quality index) and FSS (Fatigue severity Scale) questionnaires, respectively. Its reliability and validity has been confirmed in several studies (Cronbach's alpha = 0.83). This index has seven sections including patient's assessment of his/her sleep, sleep duration, efficacy of routine sleep, sleep disorders, use of hypnotic medication, and dysfunction in daily activities.
Circadian rhythm sleep disorder was more frequent in MS patients relative to healthy subjects (P: 0.002). It was higher in MS patients with severe fatigue relative to MS patients with mild fatigue (P: 0.05). Fatigue severity was 49.9 ± 8.2 and 22.5 ± 7.4 in the first and second group, respectively. PSQI index was 7.9 ± 4.5 in patients with severe fatigue and 5.9 ± 4.5 in patients with mild fatigue and 4.5 ± 2.4 in the control group (P: 0.0001).
Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are more frequent in MS patients and those with fatigue. Recognition and management of circadian rhythm sleep disorders in MS patients, especially those with fatigue may be helpful in improving care of these patients.
PMCID: PMC3743326  PMID: 23961292
Chronic fatigue; circadian rhythm sleep disorder; fatigue severity scale; multiple sclerosis; Pittsburg sleep quality index
23.  The relationship between fatigue and sleep in cancer patients: a review 
European journal of cancer care  2001;10(4):245-255.
Fatigue is a major complaint among cancer patients, yet it is unknown whether cancer-related fatigue experienced during the day relates to sleep/wake cycles or to the quality and quantity of sleep obtained at night. Although it is not well defined or well understood at present, cancer-related fatigue is generally regarded as a form of tiredness that does not improve following rest or sleep. Objectively recorded sleep and biological rhythms have not been well investigated in these patients, but it appears that most cancer patients may in fact not be getting a good night’s sleep. Evidence is accumulating that sleep is often disturbed in cancer patients, probably owing to a variety of causes. We posit that some degree of cancer-related fatigue experienced during the day may relate to sleep/wake cycles or to the quality and quantity of sleep obtained at night. Different components or dimensions of fatigue (physical, attentional/cognitive, emotional/affective, etc.) are probably associated in some way with disrupted sleep and desynchronized sleep/wake rhythms. These associations may change in measurable ways prior to treatment, during treatment and after treatment completion. In cancer patients, as in other medically ill patients, sleep that is inadequate or unrefreshing may be important not only to the expression of fatigue, but to the patients’ quality of life and their tolerance to treatment, and may influence the development of mood disorders and clinical depression. This review summarizes the state of the literature on fatigue, sleep and circadian rhythms.
PMCID: PMC2951731  PMID: 11806675
sleep; fatigue; cancer; circadian rhythms; chronotherapy
24.  Implementing the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommendations on resident physician work hours, supervision, and safety 
Long working hours and sleep deprivation have been a facet of physician training in the US since the advent of the modern residency system. However, the scientific evidence linking fatigue with deficits in human performance, accidents and errors in industries from aeronautics to medicine, nuclear power, and transportation has mounted over the last 40 years. This evidence has also spawned regulations to help ensure public safety across safety-sensitive industries, with the notable exception of medicine.
In late 2007, at the behest of the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine embarked on a year-long examination of the scientific evidence linking resident physician sleep deprivation with clinical performance deficits and medical errors. The Institute of Medicine’s report, entitled “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety”, published in January 2009, recommended new limits on resident physician work hours and workload, increased supervision, a heightened focus on resident physician safety, training in structured handovers and quality improvement, more rigorous external oversight of work hours and other aspects of residency training, and the identification of expanded funding sources necessary to implement the recommended reforms successfully and protect the public and resident physicians themselves from preventable harm.
Given that resident physicians comprise almost a quarter of all physicians who work in hospitals, and that taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid, fund graduate medical education, the public has a deep investment in physician training. Patients expect to receive safe, high-quality care in the nation’s teaching hospitals. Because it is their safety that is at issue, their voices should be central in policy decisions affecting patient safety. It is likewise important to integrate the perspectives of resident physicians, policy makers, and other constituencies in designing new policies. However, since its release, discussion of the Institute of Medicine report has been largely confined to the medical education community, led by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
To begin gathering these perspectives and developing a plan to implement safer work hours for resident physicians, a conference entitled “Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety: What will it take to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations?” was held at Harvard Medical School on June 17–18, 2010. This White Paper is a product of a diverse group of 26 representative stakeholders bringing relevant new information and innovative practices to bear on a critical patient safety problem. Given that our conference included experts from across disciplines with diverse perspectives and interests, not every recommendation was endorsed by each invited conference participant. However, every recommendation made here was endorsed by the majority of the group, and many were endorsed unanimously. Conference members participated in the process, reviewed the final product, and provided input before publication. Participants provided their individual perspectives, which do not necessarily represent the formal views of any organization.
In September 2010 the ACGME issued new rules to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Unfortunately, they stop considerably short of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations and those endorsed by this conference. In particular, the ACGME only applied the limitation of 16 hours to first-year resident physicans. Thus, it is clear that policymakers, hospital administrators, and residency program directors who wish to implement safer health care systems must go far beyond what the ACGME will require. We hope this White Paper will serve as a guide and provide encouragement for that effort.
Resident physician workload and supervision
By the end of training, a resident physician should be able to practice independently. Yet much of resident physicians’ time is dominated by tasks with little educational value. The caseload can be so great that inadequate reflective time is left for learning based on clinical experiences. In addition, supervision is often vaguely defined and discontinuous. Medical malpractice data indicate that resident physicians are frequently named in lawsuits, most often for lack of supervision. The recommendations are: The ACGME should adjust resident physicians workload requirements to optimize educational value. Resident physicians as well as faculty should be involved in work redesign that eliminates nonessential and noneducational activity from resident physician dutiesMechanisms should be developed for identifying in real time when a resident physician’s workload is excessive, and processes developed to activate additional providersTeamwork should be actively encouraged in delivery of patient care. Historically, much of medical training has focused on individual knowledge, skills, and responsibility. As health care delivery has become more complex, it will be essential to train resident and attending physicians in effective teamwork that emphasizes collective responsibility for patient care and recognizes the signs, both individual and systemic, of a schedule and working conditions that are too demanding to be safeHospitals should embrace the opportunities that resident physician training redesign offers. Hospitals should recognize and act on the potential benefits of work redesign, eg, increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality of care, and resident physician and attending job satisfactionAttending physicians should supervise all hospital admissions. Resident physicians should directly discuss all admissions with attending physicians. Attending physicians should be both cognizant of and have input into the care patients are to receive upon admission to the hospitalInhouse supervision should be required for all critical care services, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, and trauma services. Resident physicians should not be left unsupervised to care for critically ill patients. In settings in which the acuity is high, physicians who have completed residency should provide direct supervision for resident physicians. Supervising physicians should always be physically in the hospital for supervision of resident physicians who care for critically ill patientsThe ACGME should explicitly define “good” supervision by specialty and by year of training. Explicit requirements for intensity and level of training for supervision of specific clinical scenarios should be providedCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should use graduate medical education funding to provide incentives to programs with proven, effective levels of supervision. Although this action would require federal legislation, reimbursement rules would help to ensure that hospitals pay attention to the importance of good supervision and require it from their training programs
Resident physician work hours
Although the IOM “Sleep, supervision and safety” report provides a comprehensive review and discussion of all aspects of graduate medical education training, the report’s focal point is its recommendations regarding the hours that resident physicians are currently required to work. A considerable body of scientific evidence, much of it cited by the Institute of Medicine report, describes deteriorating performance in fatigued humans, as well as specific studies on resident physician fatigue and preventable medical errors.
The question before this conference was what work redesign and cultural changes are needed to reform work hours as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s evidence-based report? Extensive scientific data demonstrate that shifts exceeding 12–16 hours without sleep are unsafe. Several principles should be followed in efforts to reduce consecutive hours below this level and achieve safer work schedules. The recommendations are: Limit resident physician work hours to 12–16 hour maximum shiftsA minimum of 10 hours off duty should be scheduled between shiftsResident physician input into work redesign should be actively solicitedSchedules should be designed that adhere to principles of sleep and circadian science; this includes careful consideration of the effects of multiple consecutive night shifts, and provision of adequate time off after night work, as specified in the IOM reportResident physicians should not be scheduled up to the maximum permissible limits; emergencies frequently occur that require resident physicians to stay longer than their scheduled shifts, and this should be anticipated in scheduling resident physicians’ work shiftsHospitals should anticipate the need for iterative improvement as new schedules are initiated; be prepared to learn from the initial phase-in, and change the plan as neededAs resident physician work hours are redesigned, attending physicians should also be considered; a potential consequence of resident physician work hour reduction and increased supervisory requirements may be an increase in work for attending physicians; this should be carefully monitored, and adjustments to attending physician work schedules made as needed to prevent unsafe work hours or working conditions for this group“Home call” should be brought under the overall limits of working hours; work load and hours should be monitored in each residency program to ensure that resident physicians and fellows on home call are getting sufficient sleepMedicare funding for graduate medical education in each hospital should be linked with adherence to the Institute of Medicine limits on resident physician work hours
Moonlighting by resident physicians
The Institute of Medicine report recommended including external as well as internal moonlighting in working hour limits. The recommendation is: All moonlighting work hours should be included in the ACGME working hour limits and actively monitored. Hospitals should formalize a moonlighting policy and establish systems for actively monitoring resident physician moonlighting
Safety of resident physicians
The “Sleep, supervision and safety” report also addresses fatigue-related harm done to resident physicians themselves. The report focuses on two main sources of physical injury to resident physicians impaired by fatigue, ie, needle-stick exposure to blood-borne pathogens and motor vehicle crashes. Providing safe transportation home for resident physicians is a logistical and financial challenge for hospitals. Educating physicians at all levels on the dangers of fatigue is clearly required to change driving behavior so that safe hospital-funded transport home is used effectively. Fatigue-related injury prevention (including not driving while drowsy) should be taught in medical school and during residency, and reinforced with attending physicians; hospitals and residency programs must be informed that resident physicians’ ability to judge their own level of impairment is impaired when they are sleep deprived; hence, leaving decisions about the capacity to drive to impaired resident physicians is not recommendedHospitals should provide transportation to all resident physicians who report feeling too tired to drive safely; in addition, although consecutive work should not exceed 16 hours, hospitals should provide transportation for all resident physicians who, because of unforeseen reasons or emergencies, work for longer than consecutive 24 hours; transportation under these circumstances should be automatically provided to house staff, and should not rely on self-identification or request
Training in effective handovers and quality improvement
Handover practice for resident physicians, attendings, and other health care providers has long been identified as a weak link in patient safety throughout health care settings. Policies to improve handovers of care must be tailored to fit the appropriate clinical scenario, recognizing that information overload can also be a problem. At the heart of improving handovers is the organizational effort to improve quality, an effort in which resident physicians have typically been insufficiently engaged. The recommendations are: Hospitals should train attending and resident physicians in effective handovers of careHospitals should create uniform processes for handovers that are tailored to meet each clinical setting; all handovers should be done verbally and face-to-face, but should also utilize written toolsWhen possible, hospitals should integrate hand-over tools into their electronic medical records (EMR) systems; these systems should be standardized to the extent possible across residency programs in a hospital, but may be tailored to the needs of specific programs and services; federal government should help subsidize adoption of electronic medical records by hospitals to improve signoutWhen feasible, handovers should be a team effort including nurses, patients, and familiesHospitals should include residents in their quality improvement and patient safety efforts; the ACGME should specify in their core competency requirements that resident physicians work on quality improvement projects; likewise, the Joint Commission should require that resident physicians be included in quality improvement and patient safety programs at teaching hospitals; hospital administrators and residency program directors should create opportunities for resident physicians to become involved in ongoing quality improvement projects and root cause analysis teams; feedback on successful quality improvement interventions should be shared with resident physicians and broadly disseminatedQuality improvement/patient safety concepts should be integral to the medical school curriculum; medical school deans should elevate the topics of patient safety, quality improvement, and teamwork; these concepts should be integrated throughout the medical school curriculum and reinforced throughout residency; mastery of these concepts by medical students should be tested on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) stepsFederal government should support involvement of resident physicians in quality improvement efforts; initiatives to improve quality by including resident physicians in quality improvement projects should be financially supported by the Department of Health and Human Services
Monitoring and oversight of the ACGME
While the ACGME is a key stakeholder in residency training, external voices are essential to ensure that public interests are heard in the development and monitoring of standards. Consequently, the Institute of Medicine report recommended external oversight and monitoring through the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The recommendations are: Make comprehensive fatigue management a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal; fatigue is a safety concern not only for resident physicians, but also for nurses, attending physicians, and other health care workers; the Joint Commission should seek to ensure that all health care workers, not just resident physicians, are working as safely as possibleFederal government, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, should encourage development of comprehensive fatigue management programs which all health systems would eventually be required to implementMake ACGME compliance with working hours a “ condition of participation” for reimbursement of direct and indirect graduate medical education costs; financial incentives will greatly increase the adoption of and compliance with ACGME standards
Future financial support for implementation
The Institute of Medicine’s report estimates that $1.7 billion (in 2008 dollars) would be needed to implement its recommendations. Twenty-five percent of that amount ($376 million) will be required just to bring hospitals into compliance with the existing 2003 ACGME rules. Downstream savings to the health care system could potentially result from safer care, but these benefits typically do not accrue to hospitals and residency programs, who have been asked historically to bear the burden of residency reform costs. The recommendations are: The Institute of Medicine should convene a panel of stakeholders, including private and public funders of health care and graduate medical education, to lay down the concrete steps necessary to identify and allocate the resources needed to implement the recommendations contained in the IOM “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety” report. Conference participants suggested several approaches to engage public and private support for this initiativeEfforts to find additional funding to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations should focus more broadly on patient safety and health care delivery reform; policy efforts focused narrowly upon resident physician work hours are less likely to succeed than broad patient safety initiatives that include residency redesign as a key componentHospitals should view the Institute of Medicine recommendations as an opportunity to begin resident physician work redesign projects as the core of a business model that embraces safety and ultimately saves resourcesBoth the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should take the Institute of Medicine recommendations into consideration when promulgating rules for innovation grantsThe National Health Care Workforce Commission should consider the Institute of Medicine recommendations when analyzing the nation’s physician workforce needs
Recommendations for future research
Conference participants concurred that convening the stakeholders and agreeing on a research agenda was key. Some observed that some sectors within the medical education community have been reluctant to act on the data. Several logical funders for future research were identified. But above all agencies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the only stakeholder that funds graduate medical education upstream and will reap savings downstream if preventable medical errors are reduced as a result of reform of resident physician work hours.
PMCID: PMC3630963  PMID: 23616719
resident; hospital; working hours; safety
25.  An assessment of quality of sleep and the use of drugs with sedating properties in hospitalized adult patients 
Hospitalization can significantly disrupt sleeping patterns. In consideration of the previous reports of insomnia and apparent widespread use of benzodiazepines and other hypnotics in hospitalized patients, we conducted a study to assess quality of sleep and hypnotic drug use in our acute care adult patient population. The primary objectives of this study were to assess sleep disturbance and its determinants including the use of drugs with sedating properties.
This single-centre prospective study involved an assessment of sleep quality for consenting patients admitted to the general medicine and family practice units of an acute care Canadian hospital. A validated Verran and Snyder-Halpern (VSH) Sleep Scale measuring sleep disturbance, sleep effectiveness, and sleep supplementation was completed daily by patients and scores were compared to population statistics. Patients were also asked to identify factors influencing sleep while in hospital, and sedating drug use prior to and during hospitalization was also assessed.
During the 70-day study period, 100 patients completed at least one sleep questionnaire. There was a relatively even distribution of males versus females, most patients were in their 8th decade of life, retired, and suffered from multiple chronic diseases. The median self-reported pre-admission sleep duration for participants was 8 hours and our review of PharmaNetR profiles revealed that 35 (35%) patients had received a dispensed prescription for a hypnotic or antidepressant drug in the 3-month period prior to admission. Benzodiazepines were the most common sedating drugs prescribed. Over 300 sleep disturbance, effective and supplementation scores were completed. Sleep disturbance scores across all study days ranged 16–681, sleep effectiveness scores ranged 54–402, while sleep supplementation scores ranged between 0–358. Patients tended to have worse sleep scores as compared to healthy non-hospitalized US adults in all three scales. When compared to US non-hospitalized adults with insomnia, our patients demonstrated sleep disturbance and supplementation scores that were similar on Day 1, but lower (i.e. improved) on Day 3, while sleep effectiveness were higher (i.e. better) on both days. There was an association between sleep disturbance scores and the number of chronic diseases, the presence of pain, the use of bedtime tricyclic antidepressants, and the number of chronic diseases without pain. There was also an association between sleep effectiveness scores and the length of hospitalization, the in hospital use of bedtime sedatives and the presence of pain. Finally, an association was identified between sleep supplementation scores and the in hospital use of bedtime sedatives (tricyclic antidepressants and loxapine), and age. Twenty-nine (29%) patients received a prescription for a hypnotic drug while in hospital, with no evidence of pre-admission hypnotic use. The majority of these patients were prescribed zopiclone, lorazepam or another benzodiazepine.
The results of this study reveal that quality of sleep is a problem that affects hospitalized adult medical service patients and a relatively high percentage of these patients are being prescribed a hypnotic prior to and during hospitalization.
PMCID: PMC521202  PMID: 15040803

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