Study objectives: To assess the prevalence of occasional snoring in a group of middle-aged men, and to compare anthropometric variables and prevalence of sleep-related symptoms of subjects who occasionally snore with those of other snoring categories.
Design: A field survey of a sample of middle-aged men in France.
Participants: Male employees of a local university and subjects from the community attending a preventive medicine center. Participation rate was 93.5%.
Measurements: Anthropometric variables were recorded in 499 subjects aged 23 to 66 years (mean, 44.3 years). The subjects completed a standard sleep questionnaire and were classified according to the snoring frequency as never, rarely, sometimes, occasional, several nights per week, and every night. The subjects who snore occasionally represented 8.6% of the total.
Results: The anthropometric data of subjects who snore occasionally were similar to those of subjects who habitually snore. When compared with subjects who do not snore, older age and a larger neck girth were significant. Subjects who snore occasionally were also significantly more often subjects who snore loudly, and tended more frequently to have breathing stops during sleep.
Conclusions: Our epidemiologic study shows that approximately 9% of a sample of middle-aged men snore occasionally. Subjects who snore occasionally have anthropometric characteristics close to those of subjects who snore habitually. The prevalence of the main sleep-related symptoms is between that of subjects who do not snore and of subjects who snore habitually. In an epidemiologic setting, inclusion of subjects who snore occasionally as subjects who do not snore or subjects who snore habitually will lead to bias. The present results suggest they should be identified and considered as a separate category.