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Sleep Apnea Associated with Less Healthful Diet

Sleep; ePub 2018 Oct 22; Reid, Maras, Shea, et al

Moderate-to-more severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with a less healthful dietary profile that is partially explained by reduced slow-wave (N3) sleep, according to a recent study. These findings suggest the opportunity to target sleep quality in interventions aimed at improving cardio-metabolic risk factors in patients with OSA. A diverse population (n=1,813) completed a food frequency questionnaire and underwent Type 2 in-home polysomnography, which included measurement of N3 and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and apnea–hypopnea index (AHI). Moderate-to-more severe OSA was defined as having an AHI >15 events/hour. Participants were 53.9% female with a mean age of 68.3 (SD 9.1) years Researchers found:

  • Approximately 33.8% were categorized as having moderate-to-more severe OSA.
  • In adjusted analyses, OSA was associated with lower intakes of whole grains, (β = −0.200, SE = 0.072), higher intakes of red/processed meat, (β = −0.440, SE = 0.136), and lower overall diet quality (β = −1.286, SE = 0.535).
  • Stage N3 sleep partially explained the associations between red/processed meat and overall diet quality score with OSA.


Reid M, Maras JE, Shea S, et al. Association between diet quality and sleep apnea in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. [Published online ahead of print October 22, 2018]. Sleep. doi:10.1093/sleep/zsy194.