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Sleepiness Determinants in Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep; ePub 2018 Feb 10; Prasad, Steffen, et al

African-American race, short sleep duration, chronotype, and increased proinflammatory cytokine IL-6 level were associated with sleepiness in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a recent study found. Researchers conducted a prospective study of 283 patients with newly diagnosed OSA by polysomnography (apnea-hypopnea index [AHI] ≥5 per hour). Subjective sleepiness (Epworth Sleep Scale [ESS] ≥11) and objective sleepiness (psychomotor vigilance task [PVT] mean lapse ≥2) were assessed. Participants were classified into 4 groups 1) sleepy by ESS and PVT, 2) sleepy by PVT only, 3) sleepy by ESS only, and 4) nonsleepy reference group, and compared by generalized logit model. Researchers found:

  • Shorter daily sleep duration by actigraphy and less “morningness” were associated with higher risk of sleepiness.
  • African-American race was associated with sleepiness.
  • IL-6 level was higher in groups 1 and 3.


Prasad B, Steffen AD, Van Dongen HPA, et al. Determinants of sleepiness in obstructive sleep apnea. [Published online ahead of print February 10, 2018]. Sleep. doi:10.1093/sleep/zsx199.