How prevalent is snoring, and is it associated with negative effects on sleep patterns and other health conditions?
Background: Although snoring is a recognized potential sign of underlying obstructive sleep apnea, it is still commonly thought of as a nuisance. Potential negative sleep and health consequences of snoring have been less aggressively assessed. Relatively little is known, particularly on a large-scale population basis, about the relationships between snoring and sleep behaviors and the consequences of snoring-disrupted sleep.
Explore this issue:October 2015
Study design: Cross-sectional analysis of 8,137,604 weighted respondents from a large-scale national risk-factor survey.
Setting: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for the 2012 sleep health component, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Synopsis: Snoring was reported in 52.8% of respondents, with males more likely than females to report snoring. Snoring increased as BMI increased. Overall, adults reported an average of 7.06 hours of sleep per night. They reported an average of 8.4 days and 2.8 days in the past month for which they did not get enough sleep and during which they fell asleep unintentionally, respectively. Additionally, 3.9% reported that they had fallen asleep while driving sometime in the past 30 days. After adjustment for age, sex, marital status, body mass index, and smoking status, snorers were more likely to report falling asleep while driving, having a diagnosis of coronary artery disease, having had a depressive disorder, and having poorer quality and lesser quantity of sleep, resulting in negative functional and possible health consequences. Snoring was not associated with history of stroke. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, including the presence of snoring and historical recall for coronary artery disease, depressive disorder, and other factors, and a lack of strict individual validation of snoring-specific questions.
Bottom line: Self-reported snoring is associated with significant negative sleep pattern behaviors, including decreased sleep time, failure to obtain enough sleep, and unintentionally falling asleep, as well as other diseases, including coronary artery disease and depressive disorders.
Citation: Bhattacharyya N. Sleep and health implications of snoring: a populational analysis. Laryngoscope. 2015;125:2413-2416.