Air pollution is associated with sleep-related breathing disorders; however, the effects of air pollution on depression in patients with SRBDs remain unclear. A cross-sectional study was conducted to collect polysomnographic (PSG) data and Beck Depression Inventory-IA (BDI-IA) responses from 568 subjects with SRDBs in a sleep center in 2015 to 2017. Exposure to air pollution, including particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of ≤10 μm (PM10), particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5), nitrogen (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3), in 1-month averages was collected. Associations of air pollution with the respiratory disturbance index (RDI), oxygen desaturation index (ODI), arousal index (ARI), sleep architecture, and BDI-IA were examined. We observed that interquartile range (IQR) increases in 1-month PM2.5, PM10, and NO2 levels were respectively associated with 4.1/hour (h) (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.7/h to 6.4/h), 3.7/h (95% CI: 1.4/h to 6.0/h) and 1.9/h (95% CI: 0.1/h to 3.7/h) increases in the ARI. For sleep architecture, IQR increases in 1-month PM2.5 and CO levels were respectively associated with a 6.2% (95% CI: 6.1% to 6.3%) increase in non-rapid eye movement sleep 1 (N1) and a 2.0% (95% CI: −3.8% to −0.1%) decrease in non-rapid eye movement sleep 2 (N2). For depression, an IQR change in the 1-month CO was associated a moderate/severe depressive status according to the BDI-IA (odds ratio, OR: 2.981, p < 0.05; 95% CI: 1.032 to 8.611). Short-term exposure to air pollution increased the risk of arousal and light sleep as well as depression in patients with SRBDs. The results suggest that SRBD patients could be a population at risk for depression due to short-term exposure to air pollution.
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