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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 2016, Article ID 7947198, 5 pages
Review Article

Sleep in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Evidence Gaps and Challenges

1Clinical Investigator Program, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 1M9
2Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
3Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Sleep Medicine Center, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100730, China

Received 25 June 2015; Revised 25 April 2016; Accepted 16 May 2016

Academic Editor: Federico Lavorini

Copyright © 2016 Rachel Jen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) prevalence is rising to epidemic proportions due to historical smoking trends, the aging of the population, and air pollution. Although blaming the victims has been common in COPD, the majority of COPD worldwide is now thought to be nonsmoking related, that is, caused by air pollution and cookstove exposure. It is increasingly appreciated that subjective and objective sleep disturbances are common in COPD, although strong epidemiological data are lacking. People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) plus COPD (the so-called overlap syndrome) have a high risk of cardiovascular death, although again mechanisms are unknown and untested. This review aims to draw attention to the problem of sleep in COPD, to encourage clinicians to ask their patients about symptoms, and to stimulate further research in this area given the large burden of the disease.