Study Objectives: To study the effect of altitude on subjective sleep quality in populations living at high and low altitudes after excluding cases of restless legs syndrome (RLS). Methods: This population-based study was conducted at three different altitudes (400 m, 1, 900-2, 000 m, and 3, 200 m above sea level). All consenting subjects available from random stratified sampling in the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan regions of India were included in the study (ages 18 to 84 years). Sleep quality and RLS status were assessed using validated translations of Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Cambridge Hopkins RLS diagnostic questionnaire. Recent medical records were screened to gather data for medical morbidities. Results: In the total sample of 1, 689 participants included, 55.2% were women and average age of included subjects was 35.2 (± 10.9) years. In this sample, overall 18.4% reported poor quality of sleep (PSQI ≥ 5). Poor quality of sleep was reported more commonly at high altitude compared to low altitude (odds ratio [OR] = 2.65; 95% CI = 1.9-3.7; P < .001). It was more frequently reported among patients with RLS (29.7% versus 17.1% without RLS; P < .001). Other factors that were associated with poor quality of sleep were male sex, smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and varicose veins. Binary logistic regression indicated that COPD (OR = 1.97; 95% CI = 1.36-2.86; P < .001), high altitude (OR = 2.22; 95% CI = 1.55-3.18; P < .001), and RLS (OR = 1.66; 95% CI = 1.12-2.46; P = .01) increased the odds for poor quality of sleep. Conclusions: This study showed that poor quality of sleep was approximately twice as prevalent at high altitudes compared to low altitudes even after removing the potential confounders such as RLS and COPD.
- High altitude
- Sleep quality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Clinical Neurology