Diet-induced obesity leads to sleep fragmentation independently of the severity of sleep-disordered breathing
Obesity is associated with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and unrefreshing sleep. Residual daytime sleepiness and sleep impairments often persist after SDB treatment in patients with obesity, which suggests an independent effect of obesity on breathing and sleep. However, examining the relationship between sleep architecture and SDB in patients with obesity is complex
and can be confounded by multiple factors. The main goal of this study was to examine the relationship between obesityrelated changes in sleep architecture and SDB. Sleep recordings were performed in 15 lean C57BL/6J and 17 diet-induced obesity (DIO) mice of the same genetic background. Arousals from sleep and apneas were manually scored. Respiratory arousals
were classified as events associated with >30% drops in minute ventilation (VE) from baseline. We applied Poincaré analysis of VE during sleep to estimate breathing variability. Obesity augmented the frequency of arousals by 45% and this increase was independent of apneas. Respiratory arousals comprised only 15% of the arousals in both groups of mice. Breathing variability during non-rapid-eye-movment (NREM) sleep was significantly higher in DIO mice, but it was not associated with arousal frequency. Our results suggest that obesity induces sleep fragmentation independently of SDB severity.