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Self-reported exposure to traffic pollution in relation to daytime sleepiness and habitual snoring: a questionnaire study in seven North-European cities

Journal article
Authors T. Gislason
R. J. Bertelsen
F. G. Real
T. Sigsgaard
K. A. Franklin
E. Lindberg
C. Janson
E. S. Arnardottir
Johan Hellgren
B. Benediktsdottir
B. Forsberg
A. Johannessen
Published in Sleep Medicine
Volume 24
Pages 93-99
ISSN 1389-9457
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Otorhinolaryngology
Pages 93-99
Language en
Keywords Air pollution, Daytime sleepiness, Epidemiology, Habitual snoring, Traffic noise
Subject categories Environmental Health and Occupational Health, Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


Objective/background Little is known about associations between traffic exposure and sleep disturbances. We examined if self-reported exposure to traffic is associated with habitual snoring and daytime sleepiness in a general population. Methods In the RHINE III study, 12184 adults answered questions on sleep disturbances and traffic exposure. We analysed bedrooms near roads with traffic, bedrooms with traffic noise, and travelling regularly along busy roads as proxies for traffic exposures, using logistic regression. Adjustment factors were study centre, gender, age, smoking habits, educational level, body mass index, physical activity, obstructive sleep apnoea, and sleep duration. Results One in ten lived near a busy road, 6% slept in a bedroom with traffic noise, and 11% travelled regularly along busy roads. Habitual snoring affected 25% and daytime sleepiness 21%. More men reported snoring and more women reported daytime sleepiness. Having a bedroom with traffic noise was associated with snoring (adjusted OR 1.29, [95% CI 1.12, 1.48]). For daytime sleepiness, on the other hand, bedroom with traffic noise and high exposure to traffic pollution have significant risk factors (adjusted ORs 1.46 [1.11, 1.92] and 1.65 [1.11, 2.45]). Results were consistent across study centres. Conclusions Daytime sleepiness is associated with traffic pollution and traffic noise, while habitual snoring is only associated with traffic noise. Self-reported traffic exposure should be taken into account when diagnosing and planning treatment for patients with sleep disturbances, because reducing noise and pollution exposure in the bedroom may have a beneficial effect. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

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