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1.  Effect of sleep deprivation on overnight bronchoconstriction in nocturnal asthma. 
Thorax  1986;41(9):676-680.
Nocturnal cough and wheeze are common in asthma. The cause of nocturnal asthma is unknown and there is conflicting evidence on whether sleep is a factor. Twelve adult asthmatic subjects with nocturnal wheeze were studied on two occasions: on one night subjects were allowed to sleep and on the other they were kept awake all night, wakefulness being confirmed by electroencephalogram. Every patient developed bronchoconstriction overnight both on the asleep night, when peak expiratory flow (PEF) fell from a mean (SE) of 418 (40) 1 min-1 at 10 pm to 270 (46) 1 min-1 in the morning, and on the awake night (PEF 10 pm 465 (43), morning 371 (43) 1 min-1). The morning values of PEF were, however, higher (p less than 0.1) after the awake night and both the absolute and the percentage overnight falls in PEF were greater when the patients slept (asleep night 38% (6%), awake night 20% (4%); p less than 0.01). This study suggests that sleep is an important factor in determining overnight bronchoconstriction in patients with nocturnal asthma.
PMCID: PMC460429  PMID: 3787554
2.  Do asthmatics suffer bronchoconstriction during rapid eye movement sleep? 
Many patients with asthma are troubled by nocturnal wheeze. The cause of this symptom is unknown, but sleep is an important factor. A study was carried out to determine whether nocturnal bronchoconstriction is related to any specific stage of sleep. Eight asthmatics with nocturnal wheeze and eight control subjects performed forced expiratory manoeuvres immediately after being woken from rapid eye movement (REM) or non-REM sleep, wakings being timed to differentiate temporal effects from those related to the stage of sleep. The control subjects showed no significant temporal bronchoconstriction or bronchoconstriction related to the stage of sleep. All patients showed bronchoconstriction overnight, the mean peak expiratory flow rate falling from 410 (SEM 50) 1/min before sleep to 186 (49)1/min after sleep. After the patients had been woken from REM sleep the forced expiratory volume in one second was on average 300 ml lower (p less than 0.02) and peak expiratory flow rate 45 1/min lower (p less than 0.03) than after they had been woken from non-REM sleep. As wakenings from REM sleep were 21(8) minutes later in the night than those from non-REM sleep multivariate analysis was performed to differentiate temporal effects from those related to the stage of sleep. This showed that the overnight decreases in forced expiratory volume in one second and peak expiratory flow rate were significantly related both to time and to REM sleep. This study suggests that asthmatics may suffer bronchoconstriction during REM sleep.
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PMCID: PMC1340176  PMID: 3085766
3.  Sodium cromoglycate in nocturnal asthma. 
Thorax  1986;41(1):39-41.
To investigate whether mast cell degranulation was important in producing nocturnal asthma, the effect of a single high dose of nebulised sodium cromoglycate on overnight bronchoconstriction, oxygen saturation, and breathing patterns in eight patients with nocturnal wheeze was examined. The study took the form of a double blind placebo controlled crossover comparison. Treatment with cromoglycate did not reduce the overnight fall in FEV1 or FVC, although it was associated with improved nocturnal oxygenation. This study suggests that mast cell degranulation may not be important in the pathogenesis of nocturnal asthma.
PMCID: PMC460250  PMID: 3085257

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