Adults with asthma and short sleep duration experience more frequent asthma attacks, increased healthcare utilization, and worse health-related quality of life (HRQoL) compared with those with asthma and normal sleep duration, according to the results of  a study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. .

Investigators conducted a cross-sectional analysis of data from the 2007 to 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to examine associations among sleep duration, patient-reported outcomes, and healthcare utilization. In the current analysis, asthma was identified by self-report. The participants’ habitual hours of sleep duration were categorized as follows: short: ≤5 hours, normal: 6 to 8 hours, or long: ≥9 hours.

Individuals who responded “yes” to the following questions: “Has a doctor or other health care professional ever told you that you had asthma?” and “Do you still have asthma?” were defined as currently having asthma. Adults with a prior physician’s diagnosis of asthma who reported that they no longer had asthma were excluded from the study. Sleep duration was quantified by the following question: “How much sleep do you usually get at night on weekdays or workdays?” Symptoms of asthma included the presence of wheezing and coughing. A total of 1389 adults aged ≥20 years were included in the study.

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Of the participants who were evaluated, 25.9% slept ≤5 hours, 65.9% slept 6 to 8 hours, and 8.2% slept ≥9 hours. Adults who were classified as being “short sleepers” were more likely to be younger and to be nonwhite, whereas those who were considered “long sleepers” were more likely to be women, older, and current smokers (P <.001 for all). Compared with those who were normal sleepers, participants in both the short and the long sleeper groups were characterized by having lower incomes, (27.9% vs 45.5% and 45%, respectively) and a lower level of education (17.1% vs 27.3% and 27.7%, respectively).

Additionally, compared with normal sleepers, there was a higher percentage of individuals within the short or long sleeper groups who reported having experienced an asthma attack in the past year (45% vs 59% and 51%, respectively; P <.05). Short and long sleepers also reported having more impaired HRQoL compared with normal sleepers (P <.05). 

Furthermore, adults with short sleep duration experienced increased asthma attacks (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.58; 95% CI, 1, 13-2.21), coughing (aOR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.32-2.87), and overnight hospitalizations (aOR, 2,14; 95% CI, 1,37-3.36).

The researchers concluded that additional investigation into factors independent of asthma symptoms that may be linked to short and long sleep duration (eg, insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, sleep quality, use of sleep medications, and comorbidities) is warranted.


Luyster FS, Shi X, Baniak LM, Morris JL, Chasens ER. Associations of sleep duration with patient-reported outcomes and healthcare use in U.S. adults with asthma [published online May 7, 2020]. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2020.04.035