Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Impaired Sleep Quality in COPD Is Associated With Exacerbations: The CanCOLD Cohort Study.



COPD increases susceptibility to sleep disturbances, which may in turn predispose to increased respiratory symptoms. The objective of this study was to evaluate, in a population-based sample, the relationship between subjective sleep quality and risk of COPD exacerbations.


Data were obtained from the Canadian Cohort Obstructive Lung Disease (CanCOLD) study. Participants with COPD who had completed 18 months of follow-up were included. Sleep quality was measured with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and a three-factor analysis. Symptom-based (dyspnea or sputum change ≥ 48 h) and event-based (symptoms plus medication or unscheduled health services use) exacerbations were assessed. Association of PSQI with exacerbation rate was assessed by using negative binomial regression. Exacerbation-free survival was also assessed.


A total of 480 participants with COPD were studied, including 185 with one or more exacerbations during follow-up and 203 with poor baseline sleep quality (PSQI score > 5). Participants with subsequent symptom-based exacerbations had higher median baseline PSQI scores than those without (6.0 [interquartile range, 3.0-8.0] vs 5.0 [interquartile range, 2.0-7.0]; P = .01), and they were more likely to have baseline PSQI scores > 5 (50.3% vs 37.3%; P = .01). Higher PSQI scores were associated with increased symptom-based exacerbation risk (adjusted rate ratio, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.01-1.18; P = .02) and event-based exacerbation risk (adjusted rate ratio, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.00-1.21; P = .048). The association occurred mainly in those with undiagnosed COPD. Strongest associations were with Factor 3 (sleep disturbances and daytime dysfunction). Time to symptom-based exacerbation was shorter in participants with poor sleep quality (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.09-2.03).


Higher baseline PSQI scores were associated with increased risk of COPD exacerbation over 18 months' prospective follow-up.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View